Jeff Saturday was preparing to talk about football on television when his buddy called him up to see if he wanted to coach football. The former center said yes despite a sparse résumé, which infuriated a lot of people and caused otherwise neutral parties to openly root for their former colleague. Outside of the larger questions about equity, there is precious little interesting about this story. And yet it seems to have moved to the center of the NFL frame and promises to suck up all available oxygen, especially after Saturday won his first foray on Sunday. Victory laps are being taken and pundits who claimed the Indianapolis Colts were breaking some sort of important honor code will have to shuffle back on air eventually and — well — they'll probably just ignore it. And they probably should because we still have no idea if Saturday is a good coach or not. Or if that even matters.
Hell, we might not ever know.
The Colts are a middle of the road team, capable of winning between 40 and 60 percent of their games. Most will be decided by a single score or a late moment as the entire league feels a bit like a roulette wheel with little object permanence. His sample size will grow yet remain miniscule. There will be wide-ranging, sweeping declarations about his fitness for office or lack thereof. And I'm going to tell you something right now: I'd like to opt out.
Coaching quality obviously matters. Some. But what do you do with the information that someone can simply step in, wing it, and win a game on Sunday? Does that not highlight how arbitrary and perhaps unimportant it is? What do you do with an ecosystem that fetishizes spending 20 hours days at the office and punting on family life and also Saturday's neophytes enjoying immediate success?
One thing a person could do is conclude that we can wait and see. That flying off the handle in one direction or another based on the most recent result will only result in looking like there was countless rushes to judgements. That Saturday could go 5-3 or 3-5 down the stretch and Frank Reich could have done the same. That coaching isn't ... rocket science or doesn't need to be the all-consuming profession it's been made out to be. That a lot of times in the NFL teams play tight games and a turnover decides a final outcome more than pre-game prep.
So perhaps there is a bit of hope among the real-time reckoning. Perhaps Saturday can prove once and for all that the deification of coaches has gone a bit too far. That there are many paths to victory, including not having the job five days prior. Getting to that global-brained nirvana will require sitting through interminable discussion about who was right and who was wrong about this experiment, the scoreboard shifting wildly between weeks.
Not sure it's worth it.