INDIANAPOLIS – The Indianapolis Colts revealed Eagles offensive coordinator Shane Steichen will be their new head coach.
The California native will succeed Frank Reich, who was fired in November and replaced on an interim basis by former Colts center Jeff Saturday.
Here’s what we’ve learned about the new coach.
College quarterback and coaching start
Steichen played quarterback at UNLV from 2003 through 2006. He threw for 2,755 yards and 22 touchdowns while appearing in 23 games.
He took his first steps in his coaching journey at the university, becoming a student assistant in 2007 and then a graduate assistant working with the offense from 2008-2009.
His first coaching job was at the University of Louisville, where he was an offensive assistant in 2010.
Defense before offense
While Steichen is considered an offensive-minded coach, his first NFL job came on the defensive side of the ball. The (then San Diego) Chargers hired him as a defensive assistant in 2011. He stayed in that role with the team for two seasons.
On the offensive in Cleveland
In 2013, Steichen left the Chargers for a job with the Cleveland Browns. For the first time in his young NFL career, he worked on the offensive side, taking on a role as offensive quality control coach.
The Browns’ head coach at the time was Rod Chudzinski, who would later become an associate head coach and offensive coordinator with the Colts under Chuck Pagano. The offensive coordinator was Norv Turner.
Steichen returned to the Chargers in 2014, taking the job as offensive quality control coach. He stayed in that role for two seasons before becoming a quarterbacks coach. He worked on the same staff as former Colts coach Frank Reich from 2014 to 2015.
Steichen became the quarterbacks coach—Reich’s former role—from 2016-2019 and was later named interim offensive coordinator in 2019 before being promoted to the full-time role in 2020. During his time with the Chargers, he worked with Philip Rivers and Justin Herbert.
Off to Philly
Steichen spent two seasons as the offensive coordinator with the Philadelphia Eagles. He worked on the staff of Nick Sirianni, the former offensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts who left Indy for Philly in 2021.
Steichen took over play-calling duties mid-season in 2021 as the Eagles secured a wild card playoff spot.
During the 2022 season, the Eagles’ offense developed into one of the NFL’s top units, ranking third in yards per game and boasting the league’s third-leading scoring offense (28.1 points per game). Philly scored 30 or more points in all three of its postseason games, including the Super Bowl loss to Kansas City.
The Eagles were solid in critical offensive situations, converting 46% of their third downs (fourth best in the NFL) and 69% on fourth down (fourth best). The Eagles had a 68% red zone touchdown rate, good for third in the league.
As previously mentioned, Steichen has worked with some of the top quarterbacks in the league, including Philip Rivers, Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts.
Herbert was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2020 and emerged as one of the NFL’s up-and-coming young stars. He completed 66% of his passes for 4,336 yards and 31 touchdowns. Herbert also rushed for 234 yards and 5 TDs under Steichen’s watch.
The development of Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia also demonstrates Steichen’s penchant for developing young quarterbacks. Hurts has transformed into one of the NFL’s most electrifying offensive threats, finishing the regular season with 35 touchdowns (22 passing, 13 rushing). He finished the season with 3,701 passing yards and 760 rushing yards, developing into a dual threat that stressed opposing defenses. He threw only six interceptions.
With the Colts widely expected to take a quarterback in the first round, Steichen’s knack for developing young passers and tailoring an offense to their strengths should bode well for the franchise.
A crowded field
Colts general manager Chris Ballard promised an exhaustive search for the team’s next head coach—and he wasn’t lying.
The team interviewed more than a dozen different candidates, including interim head coach Jeff Saturday, as the Colts tried to find their next head coach.
After hours of evaluation and two rounds of extensive interviews, the team had Steichen as one of its four finalists, along with Saturday, Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
Other candidates included Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero (who took a job as the DC in Carolina), Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy, Giants OC Mike Kafka, Packers special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia, Cowboys DC Dan Quinn, Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone and Lions OC Ben Johnson.
Philip Rivers, Norv Turner weigh in
Steichen coached Philip Rivers with the Chargers and coached with Norv Turner. Both released statements about the hiring.
Rivers, who spent one season with the Colts, said he still stays in touch with Steichen and said his former coach has an “elite” offensive mind.
Turner said Steichen is deserving of the opportunity in Indianapolis. He pointed to Steichen’s success in developing two different offensive systems for Herbert and Hurts, quarterbacks with two different skillsets.
Steichen thanked both Rivers and Turner during his introductory news conference on Feb. 14.
From Philip Rivers:
“Super fired up for Shane. I loved the time we had together with the Chargers. I’ve stayed in touch with him over the last few years. It was just a matter of time before he got the opportunity to be a head coach. His offensive mind and feel for calling a game is elite. He has great passion for the game and love for the players. The Colts got a heck of a coach and person.”
From Norv Turner:
“Shane is extremely deserving of this opportunity. He’s done a great job going all the way back to the Chargers with Justin Herbert and one style of offense. Then in Philadelphia, you look at the progress Jalen Hurts has made in a different style of offense. So he’s been successful in two different systems. In regard to Indianapolis with its history and tradition of offensive football, I think pairing Shane with the Colts is perfect. I think the players and the fans will love him and it will be exciting to watch.”