WESTFIELD, Ind. – The Colts announced Wednesday contract extensions through the 2026 season for general manager Chris Ballard and head coach Frank Reich.
"In Chris Ballard and Frank Reich, we have as great a general manager – head coach combination as there is in the NFL, and I can't tell you how proud I am to have them leading our franchise," Colts Owner & CEO Jim Irsay said. "I truly believe this football team is on the doorstep of great things, and that's because of the culture both have cultivated in their time with the Horseshoe. Whether we are marching toward the playoffs or facing adversity, whether we are building our roster or making a difference in the community, we have the ideal leaders in Chris and Frank."
Ballard was hired in January 2017 and Reich in February 2018, and together they've led the Colts to a 28-20 record and two playoff appearances in three seasons.
Ballard is widely regarded as one of the NFL's best general managers (NFL.com's Gregg Rosenthal ranked him No. 1 earlier this year, and he was named the 2018 PFWA Executive Of The Year) and he has a laundry list of hits in the draft: Marlon Mack, Grover Stewart, Anthony Walker, Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, Darius Leonard, Nyheim Hines, Bobby Okereke, Khari Willis, Michael Pittman Jr., Jonathan Taylor and Julian Blackmon all have played key roles in building the Colts over the last few years; and that's far from an exhaustive list, of course.
Reich, meanwhile, has coached the Colts to two postseason berths in three years with three different starting quarterbacks, and 2021 will mark his fourth different starter in four seasons.
"He really is a great asset to the franchise because he's a great head coach with his leadership and his whole overall looking at the football program," Irsay said in March. "But in this league, we know we are quarterback-driven and when you have a coach like him who really gives a quarterback the best chance to be great in this league, that is really special and I think that's one of the attributes that I feel make us real Super Bowl contenders is his talent to be able to elevate a quarterback's play to its very highest of levels."
Irsay wasn't shy in setting his sights on bringing a second Lombardi Trophy to Indianapolis when he spoke with the media earlier this year. And a lot of those expectations have to do with Ballard and Reich.
"I really believe that you will see a golden era develop as we go into this decade sitting here in 2021," Irsay said in March. "I believe it with all my heart and soul. There is good reason to believe it. You talk to people around the league and people that know, they are going to agree with what I'm saying when they look at Chris Ballard and Frank Reich and the expectations going into this decade that we have for both of them leading the team."