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Jeff Saturday Beating the Raiders Means as Much as an Air Bud Jumper

Stephen Douglas
Indianapolis Colts v Las Vegas Raiders
Indianapolis Colts v Las Vegas Raiders / Michael Owens/GettyImages
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Jeff Saturday won his coaching debut in the purest sense of the term on Sunday as the Indianapolis Colts beat the Las Vegas Raiders, 25-20. Some might draw the conclusion that this means being the head coach of an NFL team is a lot less complicated than those in the profession would like you to believe. That those who sleep in their offices can maybe head home for dinner a little more often.

Going hand-in-hand with that, there's also the possibility that the Colts, who entered the game with a 3-5-1 record, were always going to beat the Raiders, who entered the game with the second-fewest wins in the NFL. It is entirely possible that the team that is currently 2-7 and just lost to a team with a coach who was on First Take a few days earlier just sucks. Maybe anyone who regularly talks to Mike Greenberg could put on a headset and outsmart Josh McDaniels who went a decade between head coaching jobs and now holds a career record of 13-24. Maybe beating them doesn't prove the point you think it does.

And yet!

There were people taking victory laps after the Colts beat the Raiders. High-profile football commentators like Dan Orlovsky and Pat McAfee echoed the sentiments of Colts owner Jim Irsay.

Meanwhile, having permanent Internet brain, I am reminded of the modern classic Air Bud. A movie that inspired a series of movies about dogs playing sports, much like the Saturday hire could inspire a lot more outside-the-box coaching hires if it continues to work out.

See, there's no rule that says Jim Irsay can't hire a television commentator to coach his team. So he did. And it worked out, just like how Buddy leads the Timberwolves to victory in Air Bud. In this case all the coaches who got passed over are the children and parents of the children who sat on the bench while a dog got to play youth sports. Does it matter that there were only four kids on the roster when Buddy was allowed to play according to the plot synopsis on Wikipedia? No. The point is there are local kids who want to play basketball and they don't get to because the ball bounced off a dog's face in the right direction a few times while no one was guarding him.

Can the dog dribble? Pass? Contest a shot? No, but neither could Kyle Korver and look how long he played. OK, maybe ignore that part.

The point is, there are people who are more qualified and deserving of the job Jeff Saturday was given. Many people made that point last week. It's either cronyism or a stunt to sell tickets in a lost season. Maybe a little bit of both. The fact that they beat one of the worst teams in the NFL because the new play-caller decided to hand the ball to Jonathan Taylor 22 times and the Raiders decided not to tackle him the same way no one thought to put a hand in Buddy's face does not mean it was now the right thing to do.

Jeff Saturday beating the Raiders proves just as much as Air Bud beating a bunch of kids at basketball. This Sunday afternoon Saturday has to face the 8-1 Eagles coming off an embarrassing loss. That kicks off a stretch of three primetime games in five weeks and five games against potential playoff teams over the next six weeks.

It's hard to imagine the Colts don't win a couple more games this year, including the last one of the season against the worst team in the NFL, the Houston Texans. Even if Saturday wins just two or three total games against the worst possible competition, it will be used as evidence that he was somehow qualified. Just like every time Buddy tries to bit the giant orange ball and it bounces into the net while defenders stand around going "awww!" But who can blame them? It's adorable whenever he does something like that. Even if it doesn't really mean he should be out there.

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