The Indianapolis Colts confirmed Frank Reich as their new head coach earlier this week.
The former Eagles OC rejoins the organisation on a five year deal having already spent four seasons in Indy between 2008-11, during which he fulfilled multiple roles on the offensive staff.
Reich was Peyton Manning's quarterback coach in 2009 when the Colts reached Super Bowl XLIV. Manning was named NFL MVP that year, completing 393 of 571 passing attempts for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns.
The five-time MVP was clearly impressed with Reich's work during that time and gave him a glowing review after the hiring was announced:
"I am excited that Frank will be the new head coach of the Colts." Manning said.
"In my time working with him as our quarterbacks coach he showed the work ethic and drive to be successful in this business.
"Frank has a real passion for football, this will service him well as head coach of the Colts. He helped me prepare at a high level and get better daily, which I appreciated. Frank is also a good man and friend and will be a good fit for the Colts organization."
Praise doesn't come from many higher sources within the NFL circle, and it isn't just now that Manning is lauding his former QB coach. He had the following to say about Reich prior to their Super Bowl XLIV loss to the Saints:
Former Colts receiver Reggie Wayne also piled the praise on his former receivers coach, saying:
"Very excited for head coach Frank and his family. Well deserved hire. Frank and I used to talk all the time. He made me better everyday during practice.
"He understand the culture and I'm sure he will be dedicated along with Chris Ballard on getting that winning feeling back to that organization. Not a doubt in my mind. Love it!"
Reich's experience as a quarterback in the NFL and his versatile coaching history stands him in good stead as a head coach, something that wasn't lost on former Colts president Bill Polian.
Polian was the architect of the great Colts teams of the 2000's, including the 2006 Super Bowl winning group, and maintains a strong relationship with owner Jim Irsay to this day.
Polian reportedly engaged in a long phone call with Irsay following the Josh McDaniels debacle and was insistent upon the Colts considering Reich as a candidate.
He was not the only former Colt in Irsay’s inner circle to strongly endorse Reich’s candidacy, as Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy also endorsed the longtime former Bills QB as a suitable replacement for McDaniels.
“It’s been great to see the Colts utilize their alumni base in all sorts of ways,” Irsay said. “Tony Dungy, Bill Polian, Peyton Manning – too many guys to list how much they contributed anything they could do to help.
“You always want to bring back your own guys if you can. This is that example. I think (Reich) is perfect. Just perfect in so many ways.”
It's safe to say Irsay and GM Chris Ballard headed the advice of some of the organisation's most influential alumni on this one!
Reich will succeed or fail on his own back, but the support of esteemed former Colts like Manning, Dungy and Polian will certainly aide him in his first season at the helm.
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