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4 reasons why Frank Reich will be the first head coach fired this season

Frank Reich

We’re getting to the point in the season where what we see on the field is who the team is. No longer the excuse of “we’ll get it turned around” or “still a lot of the season left” can be used and accepted. To quote Bill Parcells, “You are what your record says you are.” During Frank Reich’s head coaching career with the Indianapolis Colts, the team has a 56% win rate

His overall record is 38-30-1. Three times the team has had a winning record at the end of the season. Twice have they made the playoffs, going 1-2. Only once did they have a losing record. At this point, the 2022 season is TBD. However, the end result is coming into a clearer picture. So, why is Reich going to be the first NFL coach fired this season? Here are four reasons to answer that question.

Frank Reich’s not winning the important games

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

As previously stated, the Colts have gone 1-2 in the playoffs, where they have been outscored 65-58. They haven’t won a single game in Jacksonville, with an overall record of 4-5 against them. Subsequently, the Colts have been shut out three times and are on a two-game losing streak to Jacksonville

Indianapolis has now lost five of its last six games against Tennessee. In fact, the Colts have gone 14-12-1 against the rest of the division. The only team that Reich has any sort of dominance over is Houston, 6-2-1. The AFC South is not a powerhouse division. It is comprised of two relocated and expansion franchises. The Colts are the only ones to have any long sustained period of success in the NFL.

And yet, the franchise’s last division title came in 2014, the year of the infamous ‘Deflategate.’ Since then, the average number to win the division is 10. All a team needs are 10 wins, and they are most likely the division winner. In fact, only twice has the division been won by a team with nine wins on the season. 

Last season, the team had over a 90% chance of making the playoffs with only two games left to play. They had nine wins on the season, so just one away from the magic number. And they subsequently lost both games, missing the playoffs and finishing with a 9-8 record. Maybe the most shocking is that in the final game, where they absolutely knew if they won they would be in the playoffs, the team came out flat and uninspired.

Related: Top 10 Indianapolis Colts players of all time, including Peyton Manning and Marshall Faulk

Reich’s message is no longer resonating

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

All offseason, the message coming from the Colts is that they conducted a self-examination to address their problem areas. And that the team was going to be doing things differently this season in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes they had been making over the last four years.

They backed up these words by playing their starters more in the preseason and practicing with more urgency. This year’s schedule set them up well to prove to everyone that the off-season message wasn’t just lip service but actual reality. Their first two games were against division opponents and on the road.

Well, we know how those games went. So it begs the question, has Reich lost his locker room and team? And the first sign of this happening might very well have been the last game of last season. With so much on the line and their postseason fate in their own hands, the team just didn’t seem to care at all. 

There was no “I’m going to do whatever it takes to win this game at all costs” mentality. This mentality seems to have carried over to this season as well. When the Colts won their first game against Kansas City, they celebrated as if they had just won the Super Bowl. Not game three of the regular season.

Related: Who is the highest-paid NFL coach? (Today and All-Time)

Reich’s Colts keep digging a hole too deep to climb out of

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts

Good teams celebrate big wins and hard-fought games. However, they don’t react like they just won the biggest game in the NFL. Bad teams react this way. Yet the Colts getting off to a slow or bad start is nothing new.

Through the first six weeks of the season under the Reich regime, the Colts are 11-15-1. The team spends a lot of time and energy getting themselves back to .500 and having a chance at a winning season. Again, as previously stated, Reich only has one losing season as a head coach. He has shown that he can rally his team to be successful.

He has shown that he can play the underdog card and get his team to buy in. Unfortunately, when his team has been the favorite, they have played down to the level of their competition. This is reflective of poor leadership and of a team that has a coach who is more of a friend than a leader. 

Related: Predicting NFL playoff bracket and Super Bowl 2023 winner

Sending in the clowns

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

When you have a team that doesn’t have to worry about accountability or is comfortable with their head coach being their best friend, you get a team and a franchise that is an embarrassment. Fans are now calling into local sports radio shows to say that they are embarrassed to be Colts fans. Or they are selling or giving away tickets to a game because they don’t want to waste their time.

Colts owner Jim Irsay is not like his father. Irsay has worked really hard to not run the Colts the way his dad did. For those that don’t know, his father probably would have fired both Reich and general manager Chris Ballard by now. However, Jim has still let those two know exactly how he feels.

During last year’s playoffs, he tweeted that his team needs a quarterback to score a lot of points. So far this season, the team has scored seven touchdowns through four games. That is simply not going to win many games. And when this team has had the lead, they have at times struggled to put the opponent away.

In 2019 the Colts started the season 5-2 and appeared to have no drop-off from Andrew Luck to Jacoby Brissett. Then the team finished 2-7, missing the playoffs, giving Reich his only losing season in Indy. In 2020 on the road in Pittsburgh, the Colts held a halftime lead of 21-7. 

They were subsequently outscored 21-3 in the second half and lost 28-24. Coming into the game, the Colts were a one-point favorite. They allowed Pittsburgh to complete 69% of their passes and only sacked the opposing QB once. The following season was even worse.

In 2021 they went into Baltimore with a 1-3 record for Monday Night Football. Indy had a 10-3 lead at halftime and had done a really good job of containing the Baltimore offense. In fact, heading into the fourth quarter, Indy was winning 22-9 and just needed to get to the end of the game.

Instead, they scored three points and gave up 16 in the fourth quarter allowing Baltimore to tie the game and then win overtime. Not only that, every pass play went to either Baltimore’s star tight end or number one wide receiver. Yet the Colts couldn’t force someone else to beat them.

Fast forward a few weeks, and the Colts found themselves losing yet another game in overtime. This time it was to division rival Tennessee. Again, Indianapolis held a lead at halftime. And again, they were outscored in the fourth quarter. Curiously, the Colts had their quarterback pass the ball 51 times.

One month later, the Colts would be hosting the defending Super Bowl champs in Tampa Bay. And just like the last two games, they would be leading at halftime and be outscored in the fourth quarter to lose the game. Tampa Bay’s quarterback only missed on nine of 34 pass attempts. Meanwhile, the Colts called 26 consecutive pass plays and lost the game 38-31.

All this exemplifies that under Reich’s leadership, the Colts lack the killer instinct that championship teams show. It also shows that the team is comfortable with just going out and trying to win games but that it doesn’t matter if they win or lose, as they’ll still get paid. While the Colts owner doesn’t want to be like his dad, this season he’ll end up doing his best impression of his father and fire Reich during the season.

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