Colts: Here’s why running backs coach Tom Rathman retiring is a big deal
The Indianapolis Colts should undoubtedly be one of the poster children of the NFL when it comes to cultivating a roster and coaching staff, but the magnitude of coaching turnover they’re being forced to overcome is mind-boggling, especially since their playoff journey lasted one weekend.
For context, Indy has lost roughly a third of its staff, whereas the Chiefs — set to make their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance — somehow managed to retain every member of their coaching staff personnel during the annual carousel. There’s still time for that to change, but the fact they’ve gone this far without losing anybody while the Colts are being ripped to shreds is nothing short of gobsmacking.
Unfortunately for Indianapolis, this narrative continued when running backs coach Tom Rathman announced his retirement on Thursday. What makes this such a huge blow to the offense is that he tried to retire after the previous two campaigns and the front office had to beg to convince him to stick around for another year because he was so important.
Colts RBs coach Tom Rathman announced his retirement from the NFL.
We’re not sure what it is about the Colts and losing key organizational pieces (players and coaches) to retirement, but they have to have the worst luck of any team in the league in that department, right? That’s obviously nothing to brag about, but it’ll probably help the fan base cope with these departures, because Rathman’s statement about retiring is guaranteed to hit them in their feels.
"“It was an honor to represent the NFL for more than 30 years as a coach and player. I was proud to represent and coach some outstanding players, and I’m thankful for my time in Indianapolis. I’ll always be a Colts fan.”"
The Colts’ rushing attack made significant strides under Rathman’s tutelage, ranking seventh and 11th in the league in rushing yards per game over the last two seasons after ranking 20th in that category when he took over the reins in 2018.
When you consider his track record as a RBs coach — he served in that role with three teams (the 49ers, Lions and Raiders) for 18 years between 1997 to 2016 before coming to Indy — it’s easy to see why the Colts enjoyed so much success when he stepped in.
During his tenure, the Colts produced two 1,000-yard rushers (Marlon Mack in 2019 and Jonathan Taylor in 2020), and Mack fell just short of that threshold when he posted 908 rushing yards as a rookie three years ago.
Rathman was also instrumental in the development of Nyheim Hines, who’s established himself as one of the best pass-catching backs in the league since being drafted as a fourth-rounder back in 2018. He led the team with 63 receptions this past season and only trailed Alvin Kamara (83) and JD McKissic (80) for the league lead at the position.
We could go on rattling off Rathman’s greatest achievements with Indianapolis, but you get the point. The bottom line is that this is a colossal loss for the Colts and, considering the crippling degree to which their coaching staff has been pillaged thus far, we honestly have no idea who they’re going to name as his replacement.