The Colts lost legendary OL coach Howard Mudd on Wednesday.
The Indianapolis Colts — and the entire NFL — lost a gargantuan member of their family on Wednesday.
In a league where wins and losses can be defined by road-grading that often goes unrecognized in the trenches, Howard Mudd still managed to make his name as a guru of the offensive line.
Mudd died on Wednesday at the age of 78, in the ICU in Seattle for the past two weeks following a motorcycle accident, attempting to rehabilitate spinal and pelvis fractures, among other injuries. After a valiant effort with plenty of trademark push-back, he lost his battle.
Mudd was the Colts’ OL coach from 1998-2009, during the heyday of their domed dynasty, helping to pave a path of protection for Peyton Manning’s greatness.
Though he departed Indianapolis after that ’09 season and resurfaced with the Eagles in 2011, it was clear where his heart lay, as he returned — after a career as a troubadour, all over this country — to Indy as an assistant in 2019.
Immediately, tributes for Mudd began pouring in, highlighted by a personal tribute from Jim Irsay, representative of the thoughts and prayers the entire Colts family is having trouble articulating right about now.
Prior to his coaching tenure, Mudd was a legend for the Michigan State Spartans, and starred for the 49ers and Bears in the NFL’s glory days in the ’60s. He taught blocking anywhere and everywhere in the years that followed, from Cleveland to Seattle to the University of California, before finding a more permanent home with the Colts.
This week, Frank Reich shared a classic Mudd story from the wayback machine:
"“I remember going into his office one time [while working with Peyton Manning], and he had pushed me around one too many times verbally, and I finally just lashed back out on him. It was a good lashing for me, and you guys know me. You can imagine for me to get that worked up and to strike back verbally was a rare instance. I let him have it. He said, ‘Uh, I love that. That’s what I love to see,’’’ Reich said. “He’s just an old ball coach.”"
He finished the quote by wishing Mudd and his family well, which we will all echo during this difficult time.