Jeff Saturday Signs with the Packers
March 23, 2012 Leave a comment
Longtime Colts’ center and fan favorite Jeff Saturday has signed a two year deal with the Green Bay Packers. Saturday will not join Peyton Manning in Denver, but will instead snap the ball to Aaron Rodgers, and there is a decent chance that Saturday and Manning will meet in the super bowl.
It is difficult to overstate how instrumental Jeff Saturday was to the Colts’ success. He represented what the Colts were: undersized, undrafted, and undervalued. Coming out of college, centers such as Cam Quayle, Jason Chorak, and Jomo Cousins were drafted, but not Saturday. The North Carolina grad signed as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 1998, but did not make the team. Out of the league for a year, the Colts gave him a chance in 1999.
Saturday made the team as a backup guard, but by the 2000 season, he was the team’s starting center, where he has been since.
He developed an incredible connection with Peyton Manning. The two worked numerous hours together, and Saturday and Manning knew the offense and each other incredibly well. Nate Dunlevy said of the connection:
Saturday was hardly a prototypical star or player, but he excelled in the unique demands made on him because of the Colts’ offensive system. The Colts rarely huddled, and even when they did, almost all plays are subject to change. Just as Peyton Manning was deciphering the defense to put the offense in prime position to capitalize with the right play call, Saturday was also analyzing the rushers to call out the complementary blocking scheme to execute the play. Like Manning, Saturday’s greatest weapon was his mind. Together the two outwitted the opposition for a decade. Saturday often joked that they
were like an old married couple continually arguing and fighting, but able to read one another’s minds as well.
Dunlevy goes on to point out Saturday’s role in the greatest game in Colts history, the 38-34 win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship game. It was also likely Saturday’s greatest game. Not only did he score a touchdown on a fumble recovery, but he made “the block” that allowed Joseph Addai to walk into the end zone for the winning score.
Even in the awful 2011 campaign, the 5 time pro bowler and 4 time All-Pro never gave up. While other players give up in a 2-14 season, Saturday allowed only 9 quarterback pressures and only 2 sacks.
He was very influential in resolving the labor conflict that threatened the 2011 season. Many involved with the negotiations said a deal would not have been reached without Saturday.
But Jeff Saturday’s greatest contribution to the NFL, the Colts, and the people of Indianapolis was who he is. Saturday is a genuine nice guy, with great character and class. In how many cities do the fans know the name of the starting center? In Indianapolis, Jeff Saturday is a household name, just as Peyton Manning is. Hundreds of fans wear Saturday’s number 63 jersey to games. His face is among the most recognizable of all the players. Colts fans loved Jeff Saturday, and for good reason.
He was an incredible player, but an even greater person. He is worthy of the hall of fame. The Colts should retire his number, just as they will with Peyton Manning.
Jeff Saturday is one of the greatest Colts of all time. He is one of the most popular Colts of all time.
He will always be a Colt.
Thank you, Jeff. Thanks for everything. Good luck in Green Bay.