INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Being a very public second choice is nothing new to Frank Reich.
"The backup role has suited me well in my career," Reich smiled.
After 14 years as a backup quarterback in the NFL and 12 more as a coaching intern and assistant, Reich is now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.
"Today is a new chapter," he explained, "and I could not be more excited. I just want to thank Mr. Irsay and the entire Irsay family for giving me this opportunity. I really believe we’re going to work together to do something special for this city and this organization."
"We really feel blessed having Frank as our head coach," added team owner Jim Irsay. "I can’t say enough about just him being in his prime, his experience, everything he brings to the table."
"We wanted a leader," said General Manager Chris Ballard. "A guy who has a big-picture vision."
Reich outlined that vision in four steps:
- "We will be the toughest team both mentally and physically. What I mean by that, is there will be a relentless pursuit to get better every day and an obsession with finishing strong."
- "We will be the most disciplined team. We will have the structure, we will have the system, and we will have the processes that cultivate discipline."
- "We’re gonna be the most prepared team. We’re gonna be about creating and cultivating championship habits and championship thoughts."
- "We’re gonna be the most united team. It’s gonna be built around trust, respect, and love."
And it will certainly be a building process. The Colts enter the offseason after a 4-and-12 regular season with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.
"As a leader, you have to embrace every aspect of it," said Reich. "Embrace the victories, the losses, take ownership of it all, the responsibility. I wouldn’t want to be in any other place, with any other GM and owner, to bring the excitement back to this city."
In hiring Reich, the Colts were the last team in the NFL to fill an open head coaching void. Though Reich may be slightly behind the rest of the league in terms of offseason responsibilities, he hopes to make that "problem" a bit of a tradition.
"I was kind of hoping we'd get used to the timing of this, coming off the Super Bowl," he said. "Playing quote-unquote catch up with the rest of the league? I like this. We want to indoctrinate this timing all the time."
The Colts' timing was further delayed in a public spurning from Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, backing out of an agreed-upon deal one week ago.
"I embrace it," said Reich, of his rather unusual position. "That’s just part of this business. The ebbs and flows of it are exciting. If you can’t embrace it, you should go do something else. It’s an exciting opportunity, to forge together with other men around a common vision and move forward."
"We don’t always choose what happens to us," added general manager Chris Ballard, "but what we get a chance to do is choose how we react to it, and I really believe that shows what we’re made of. I can’t be more proud of our organization and the city of Indy and how they’ve handled this last week."