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Irsay could be ready to go “big-game hunting”

With Nick Saban seeming even more miserable than usual and Colts owner Jim Irsay potentially miserable come January after another season of unfulfilled expectations, their mutual misery could still make for good company.

While it’s still too early to peg Saban for one of the inevitable NFL coaching vacancies (a source with knowledge of Saban’s thinking recently told PFT that it would be a surprise if Saban returns to pro football), Irsay could soon be looking for someone of Saban’s ilk.

Via Albert Breer of NFL Media, if Irsay chooses to hire a new coach “he might be ready to go big-game hunting, which could change the structure of the organization.”

There are plenty of other coaches who would fall into the “big-game” category, even if we set aside the men currently under contract with other teams (like Bill Belichick). Saban’s name would be at or near the top of the list because: (1) the Colts wanted to hire him in 1998; and (2) Saban recently said he’d still be coaching the Dolphins if they’d signed Drew Brees a decade ago, which many viewed as a hint that Saban would return to the NFL if the team has a franchise quarterback.

Another intriguing possibility would be former Colts quarterback and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, but it would be a shock if Harbaugh leaves his alma mater after only one year. Then there’s Stanford coach David Shaw, who surely would at least consider the possibility of coaching former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Then there’s the possibility that coaches with other NFL teams would try to get out of their current deals in order to take over a team that has Luck at quarterback.

Coaches are only as good as their players, and the most important player is the quarterback. If the Colts job comes open, Irsay would be able to get pretty much anyone he wants, as long as the guy he wants can make himself available.