As NFL starts a new hiring cycle, Colts show the difference the right coach makes

As several NFL teams search for new head coaches, the Indianapolis Colts serve as a recent example of how important it is to find the right coach.
Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts
Cleveland Browns v Indianapolis Colts / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

With 18 teams already into the offseason, several head coaches have already been fired, moved on from, amicably appointed a different position, or whatever verbiage is being used to say that someone new will be the head coach next season. It’s a cycle that happens every offseason; out with the old, in with the new.

The Indianapolis Colts were apart of the cycle last offseason. After firing Frank Reich during the regular season, the Colts went through an extensive search before hiring Shane Steichen as the team’s next head coach. It was a hire that clearly paid off, as Indianapolis went from 4-12-1 to 9-8, being one win away from the postseason.

The Colts missed out on the postseason by losing to the Houston Texans in Week 18. Like Indy, Houston also turned things around in one season, thanks to first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans. As teams start the search for their next head coaches, they’ll be looking for their own Shane Steichen and DeMeco Ryans.

Other NFL teams will be hoping to find a coach like Shane Steichen

What Shane Steichen did with the Colts is impressive, but it’s extremely impressive when you take a closer look at the team. Indianapolis didn’t really make too many offseason changes to the roster. In positions where Indy did undergo a noticeable change, like corner, the team got worse. Still, this was a significantly better team than a year ago.

While a lot of that has to do with Shane Steichen the offensive mastermind and play caller, along with Tony Sparano Jr., the offensive line coach, the biggest difference that Steichen made seems to be to the culture. A ton of Colts players have talked about how Steichen has created a culture of accountability and competitiveness. While that seems like it should be common place in professional sports, it clearly isn’t.

Fortunately, it made its way to the Colts this season and it resulted in Indianapolis being a resilient team that won five more games than it did a season ago. That’s the kind of boost that teams searching for a head coach will be looking for this offseason.