Jeff Saturday
refer to caption
Saturday in 2022
No. 63
Position:Center
Personal information
Born: (1975-06-18) June 18, 1975 (age 48)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
Height:6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight:295 lb (134 kg)
Career information
High school:Shamrock (Tucker, Georgia)
College:North Carolina (1993–1997)
Undrafted:1998
Career history
As a player:
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games played:211
Games started:202
Fumbles recovered:9
Head coaching record
Regular season:1–7 (.125)
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Jeffrey Bryant Saturday (born June 18, 1975) is an American former professional football player and coach in the National Football League (NFL). He played as a center in the NFL, primarily with the Indianapolis Colts. He was a six-time Pro Bowl selection, and won a Super Bowl with the Colts.

Saturday played college football for the North Carolina Tar Heels and was signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 1998, but was cut by the team without playing a game. Saturday then signed with Indianapolis, with whom he played 13 seasons, won Super Bowl XLI over the Chicago Bears and was selected to four All-Pro teams and five Pro Bowls. In his final NFL season, he made his sixth Pro Bowl as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Saturday is currently a sports analyst for ESPN. He was the interim head coach for the Colts for the final eight weeks of the Colts' 2022 season following the firing of Frank Reich.

Early years

Saturday was born in Atlanta, Georgia.[1] He attended Shamrock High School in Decatur, Georgia, in 1993.[2]

His high school coach Ron Gartrell said in a 2012 Sports Illustrated story on Saturday, "Eighty percent of our offense was behind Jeff. On defense we put Jeff on one side and all our other good players on the other side, because teams ran away from Jeff." However, Gartrell could not sell Southeastern Conference schools on Saturday's abilities; in the same interview, he said that coaches at Georgia and Tennessee considered Saturday too short to play in the conference. He received a scholarship offer from the University of North Carolina partly because of Gartrell's friendship with UNC's then-defensive coordinator Carl Torbush.[3]

College career

Saturday received an athletic scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a four-year letterman for coach Mack Brown's North Carolina Tar Heels football team from 1994 to 1997.[4] As a junior in 1996 and again as a senior in 1997, he was one of the Tar Heels' team captains.[4] He was recognized as a first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) selection at center in 1996 and 1997, and an Academic All-ACC selection in 1997.[4][3]

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 2+38 in
(1.89 m)
292 lb
(132 kg)
31+12 in
(0.80 m)
10+18 in
(0.26 m)
5.24 s 1.81 s 3.03 s 4.85 s 8.52 s 25.0 in
(0.64 m)
8 ft 4 in
(2.54 m)
25 reps
All values from NFL Combine[5]

Baltimore Ravens

According to Sports Illustrated, Saturday was ranked as the No. 11 center available in the 1998 NFL Draft. He was described as "somewhat an overachiever, has worked to make himself better," but also as "an undersized guy [who] simply has trouble matching up against power NTs that can overwhelm him". He went undrafted. The Baltimore Ravens signed him as a free agent on April 27, 1998, only to waive him on June 12, 1998. He then returned to Raleigh, North Carolina, and took a job as a manager at an electrical supply store.[3]

Indianapolis Colts

Saturday in 2010

Saturday first came to the attention of the Indianapolis Colts during the 1998 season, when former college teammate Nate Hobgood-Chittick was on the roster. As Hobgood-Chittick would recall in 2012,

I had no footing at all with that franchise, so I stood outside [Bill] Polian's door in my dirty sweats, saying a prayer. I walked in and said, "There's a guy selling electrical supplies in Raleigh right now who whipped all those first-round draft choices at North Carolina every day." Polian looked at me and said, "I love it. Let's get him in here for a workout."[3]

The Colts signed him as a free agent on January 7, 1999. In his rookie season, Saturday backed up starting guard Steve McKinney, and earned his first NFL start at left guard on November 21, 1999, against the Philadelphia Eagles. After only two regular season starts in 1999, Saturday started all 16 regular season games of the 2000 season at center for the Colts, and continued to start every game thereafter—for a total of 85 consecutive games—before sitting out two games with an injury in December 2004. Saturday finished his time with the Colts as the team's starting center for 12 straight seasons, and was the anchor of the Colts' offensive line, which gave up the fewest quarterback sacks among all NFL teams in the 2004, 2005, and 2006 seasons. Saturday attempted a pass once, during a game in 2004, but it fell incomplete.

Though the Colts won at least 10 regular season games for five consecutive years under head coach Tony Dungy, the team could not get to the Super Bowl, losing in the AFC playoffs from 2002 to 2005. In 2006, the Colts went 12–4 in the regular season and earned the third seed in the AFC. On January 21, 2007, Saturday helped the Colts win the AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots when he recovered a teammate's fumble in the end zone and scored a touchdown. Saturday also provided the key block on the game-winning touchdown run by Joseph Addai, pancaking Vince Wilfork. Peyton Manning, the Colts' quarterback at the time and a longtime friend, claimed that Saturday wants this play to be known as "The Block."[6] Two weeks later, Saturday helped the Colts win Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears.

On February 26, 2009, Saturday signed a three-year $13.3 million contract with the Colts including a $7.45 million signing bonus.[7][8]

During his time with the Colts, Saturday started 188 of 197 games. He became a free agent after the 2011 season.

Green Bay Packers

Saturday at the 2013 Pro Bowl

Saturday signed a two-year deal with the Green Bay Packers for $7.75 million on March 23, 2012.[9] After an up-and-down season, Saturday was benched on December 21, 2012.[10] Despite this, Saturday was later announced as the back-up center for the NFC in the 2013 Pro Bowl.[11][12] In the Pro Bowl, despite being on opposite teams, Saturday and long-time Colts teammate Peyton Manning shared a final snap.[13]

Retirement

Saturday hosting an Indianapolis Colts fan event in May 2019.

On January 25, 2013, Saturday announced he would retire following the 2013 Pro Bowl Game. On March 7, 2013, Saturday signed a 1-day contract with the Colts to retire with the team with which he spent 13 of his 14 seasons.[14]

Honors and awards

Saturday was voted onto six Pro Bowl teams in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, and 2012. For the 2005 and 2007 seasons, he was named to the Associated Press NFL All-Pro First-team. He was selected as Offensive Lineman of the Year by the National Football League Alumni organization for 2007.

Saturday was inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor during the week 2 game against the New York Jets on September 21, 2015.[15]

Saturday was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, in Macon, Georgia, as a member of the 2017 class.[16]

NFL career statistics

Year Team Games Starts
1999 IND 11 2
2000 IND 16 16
2001 IND 16 16
2002 IND 16 16
2003 IND 16 16
2004 IND 14 14
2005 IND 16 16
2006 IND 16 16
2007 IND 16 16
2008 IND 12 12
2009 IND 16 16
2010 IND 16 16
2011 IND 16 16
2012 GB 14 14
Career 211 202

Coaching career

Hebron Christian Academy

On January 20, 2017, Saturday was named the head coach of Hebron Christian Academy, in Dacula, Georgia.[17][18]

On February 14, 2020, Saturday resigned from the position of head coach at Hebron Christian. During his time there, he went 20–16 while making the playoffs every year, winning three playoff games (including one state quarterfinals appearance in 2019).[19]

Indianapolis Colts

On November 7, 2022, the Indianapolis Colts named Saturday as the team's interim head coach after the team fired Frank Reich following a 3–5–1 start.[20] The move generated widespread surprise and criticism, notably from former NFL head coach Bill Cowher, and fellow former offensive lineman Joe Thomas,[21] given Saturday's lack of previous coaching experience beyond the high school level and presence of several former NFL head coaches on the staff.[22][23] Saturday was the first NFL head coach with no prior college or professional coaching experience since Norm Van Brocklin with the Minnesota Vikings in 1961.[24] Colts owner Jim Irsay defended the move and said that Saturday could potentially remain head coach beyond 2022. General manager Chris Ballard said that the Colts had tried to hire Saturday in 2019 as an offensive line coach and also for a position prior to the 2022 season.[25][26]

Saturday made his head coaching debut against the Las Vegas Raiders, which the Colts won, 25–20.[27]

On December 17, 2022, Saturday's Colts team lost to the Minnesota Vikings by a final score of 39–36. The Colts blew a 33-point lead, which surpassed the 1992 Houston Oilers for the largest blown lead in NFL history.[28] Coincidentally, Frank Reich, whom Saturday replaced as Colts head coach, was the quarterback who led the comeback victory for the Buffalo Bills over the Oilers.[29]

In February 2023, the Colts hired Shane Steichen as their head coach after keeping Saturday as interim and potential head coach for the 2023 season.[30][31] Saturday has since returned to ESPN.[32]

Head coaching record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
IND* 2022 1 7 0 .125 3rd in AFC South
Total 1 7 0 .125 0 0 .000

* Interim head coach

Personal life

Saturday (left) and Herm Edwards on NFL Live in 2017

Saturday is a member of the executive committee of the National Football League Players' Association, where he was the key negotiator in completing the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the NFL and NFLPA.[33] Saturday joined ESPN in 2013 and appeared on network programming such as NFL Live and SportsCenter.[34][35]

Saturday's eldest son, Jeffrey, played wide receiver for the North Carolina Tar Heels football team from 2019-2022.[36]

References

  1. ^ National Football League, Current Players, Jeff Saturday. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  2. ^ databaseFootball.com, Players, Jeff Saturday Archived 2012-05-30 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved March 26, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Layden, Tim (September 24, 2012). "Calm Amid The Chaos". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
  4. ^ a b c 2011 North Carolina Football, University of North Athletic Department, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, pp. 116, 117, 132, 138, 179 (2011). Retrieved March 26, 2011.
  5. ^ "Jeff Saturday, Combine Results, C - North Carolina". nflcombineresults.com. Retrieved August 27, 2021.
  6. ^ Center runs interference as QB hypes 'The Block'
  7. ^ Colts, Saturday agree to new contract
  8. ^ Manning speaks, so Saturday stays
  9. ^ Jeff Saturday, Packers reach deal
  10. ^ Kareem Copeland (December 21, 2012). "Jeff Saturday benched by Green Bay Packers". Around the League. NFL. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  11. ^ Jeff Saturday, Packers reach deal
  12. ^ "Packers sign former Colts center Saturday to bolster O-line". Green Bay Packers. NFL. March 23, 2012. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  13. ^ Kareem Copeland (January 27, 2013). "Jeff Saturday, Peyton Manning share snap at Pro Bowl". Around the League. NFL. Retrieved March 1, 2013.
  14. ^ "Jeff Saturday retires as a Colt". ESPN. March 7, 2013. Retrieved September 18, 2013.
  15. ^ "Colts to induct Jeff Saturday into Ring of Honor".
  16. ^ "Class of 2017".
  17. ^ "Raiders Week 10 opponent: Meet the Colts —who just fired coach Frank Reich". silverandblackpride.com. November 7, 2022. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  18. ^ Hammock, Will (January 20, 2017). "Hebron Christian names former NFL lineman Jeff Saturday as head football coach". gwinnettprepsports.com. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  19. ^ Staff Reports (February 14, 2020). "Hebron Christian looking for new head football coach after Jeff Saturday steps down". gwinnettprepsports.com. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  20. ^ Stankevitz, JJ (November 7, 2022). "Colts Name Jeff Saturday Interim Head Coach". colts.com. Retrieved November 7, 2022.
  21. ^ Lemoncelli, Jenna (November 16, 2022). "Pat McAfee calls out Bill Cowher over Colts, Jeff Saturday remarks". NYPost.com. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  22. ^ Howe, Jeff (November 8, 2022). "NFL execs bewildered by Colts' hiring of Jeff Saturday: 'Crazy,' 'Never seen anything like it'". The Athletic. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  23. ^ Orr, Conor (November 7, 2022). "The Jeff Saturday Hiring Is a Crushing Defeat for Many Coaches". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  24. ^ Hermsmeyer, Josh (November 10, 2022). "The Colts Hired Jeff Saturday As Head Coach. We Have Questions". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved November 10, 2022.
  25. ^ Holder, Stephen (November 8, 2022). "Colts' Jim Irsay defends Jeff Saturday hire: 'Fully capable'". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 8, 2022.
  26. ^ Gaydos, Ryan (November 13, 2022). "Colts hiring Jeff Saturday as interim coach is a 'disgrace to the coaching profession,' Hall of Famer says". Fox News. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  27. ^ Sam, Doric (November 13, 2022). "'Unmitigated Disaster' for Raiders as McDaniels Mocked for Losing to Saturday, Colts". Bleacher Report. Retrieved November 14, 2022.
  28. ^ Dajani, Jordan (December 18, 2022). "Jeff Saturday says 'plenty of blame to go around' after Colts' record-breaking collapse against Vikings". CBSSports.com. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  29. ^ Al-Khateeb, Zac (December 17, 2022). "Frank Reich loses claim to biggest comeback in NFL history after Colts collapse vs. Vikings". Sporting News. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  30. ^ Stankevitz, JJ (February 14, 2023). "Colts Name Philadelphia Eagles Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen As Head Coach". Colts.com. Retrieved February 14, 2023.
  31. ^ Holder, Stephen (February 14, 2023). "Colts unveil Shane Steichen as head coach to solve QB woes". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 17, 2023.
  32. ^ "Jeff Saturday return to ESPN is "up in the air"". nbcsports.com. July 25, 2023. Retrieved August 12, 2023.
  33. ^ Banks, Don (August 4, 2011). "Colts' Saturday was integral in preserving NFL Sundays". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved July 28, 2023.
  34. ^ "Jeff Saturday – NFL Analyst". ESPN. Retrieved October 27, 2020.
  35. ^ Bracht, Mel (July 18, 2013). "Media Notebook". The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City. p. 21. Retrieved October 27, 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  36. ^ "Jeff Saturday Steps Down As High School Football Coach". Tarheel Times. February 16, 2020. Retrieved November 7, 2022.