INDIANAPOLIS —When the Philadelphia Eagles advanced to postseason play a little more than a month ago, Frank Reich didn't want his attention wandering anywhere else.
Although he knew there might be opportunities to earn his first head coaching job elsewhere, Reich had simple instructions for his agent.
"'I'm going dark here,'" Reich said. "'Let's not talk, let's not text. Let's just focus on the job at hand.'"
It was a risky move, but one Reich was willing to take. After all, had another opportunity not presented itself, he could remain the coordinator of one of the top offensive units in the league.
"I mean, I'm not sure what was coming and what wasn't coming at the time," Reich recalled. "But I just knew that it took every second of energy that we had to win every game. And even during that first bye week when we don't know who we're going to play, but there was just so much work to be done."
Turns out Reich would have his cake — and now he's eating it, too.
Despite losing their MVP-caliber quarterback, Carson Wentz, late in the season with a knee injury, Reich and the Eagles' offense didn't seem to miss a beat in the postseason with backup Nick Foles, who would eventually be named game MVP in Philadelphia's 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.
A couple days after that big win, Reich, now fielding calls from his agent, learned the Indianapolis Colts wanted to interview him for their head coach opening.
And exactly one week after winning the Super Bowl, Reich had accepted that job, returning to the very destination where his coaching roots were planted.
"I tell you what," Reich told Colts.com's Caroline Cann on Tuesday. "It's been an exciting time. Like you said, going back a little over a week ago to the Super Bowl, and then right to this opportunity — where my coaching roots started, right here in Indianapolis. Excited to be back home."
Check out Cann's full conversation with Reich — his first sit-down interview as the Colts' new head coach — right here:
On the whirlwind process of going from winning the Super Bowl to becoming the Colts' head coach:
"I tell you what: it's been an exciting time. Like you said, going back a little over a week ago to the Super Bowl, and then right to this opportunity — where my coaching roots started, right here in Indianapolis. Excited to be back home."
On if being a head coach was the plan when he started as a coaching intern with the Colts in 2006:
"Well, I always knew, the head coach part, yes. And certainly, to be a head coach in this organization after some of the quality head coaches they've had, starting with Tony Dungy, who gave me my first job here as an intern, and then eventually on his staff, I couldn't ask for a better scenario."
On the fact that NFL Network was showing Peyton Manning on the TV at the same time he signed his Colts contract:
"Well, I laughed about that, certainly when it was happening, but when I talked to Peyton the other day, I had to share that moment with him. He had to show up for approval when I was signing the contract. Literally as I'm signing, I look up in Mr. Irsay's office, and there's Peyton all over the screen. So very fitting."
On what he's learned from coaching some of the best quarterbacks in the league the past decade:
"I've learned a lot, not only from those players, but a lot of the great players you play with. But particularly the quarterbacks, there's the obvious: the offensive mind and the thinking of what an elite NFL quarterback, how they think and how they operate, how they operate under pressure. But equally I've learned a lot about leadership from watching these guys. These guys have been stud leaders, going back, like you said, Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Carson Wentz, Nick Foles, played with Jim Kelly — learned a lot from all these guys."
On the most important thing he's learned to prepare him for this opportunity:
"You know, I think every step is important along the way. Every player, every coach — it kind of gives you a vision of what you think things will be like if and when you get an opportunity. You see the highs and the lows, and that's what this business is full of — you need to learn how to handle adversity, you need to learn how to handle the good moments, and you need to learn how to stay focused in all that. And what makes that possible — what I always come back to — why those of us who are in this profession are in it for a couple reasons: one, we love the camaraderie. We love that it's all about the team. It's all about the team. And then, secondly, it's all about competing to win. Those two things really drive us."
On deciding to step away from football for a few years between his playing career and his coaching career:
"I think it was a great time. I wouldn't change one step along the journey, including that step. After playing for 14 years, I always had this vision of going into coaching and wanting to be a head coach in the NFL. Later in my playing career, as I was getting older and more close to the age of the coaches rather than some of the younger players, (you think) 'Hey, this is a rough business. Your kids are young — take a few years away, spend time with your kids.' And we had three young daughters, and it was just instrumental, incredibly important to me, the No. 1 priority was let me invest into their lives while they're young; let me help shape — talk about coaching; you know, the No. 1 job, my No. 1 job, was to coach my own children. And so having an opportunity to coach them and to be their dad, to be their dad when they were younger was very important to me."
On why he decided not to take any interview offers during the Eagles' playoff run:
"I mean, I'm not sure what was coming and what wasn't coming at the time. But I just knew that it took every second of energy that we had to win every game. And even during that first bye week when we don't know who we're going to play, but there was just so much work to be done that I had a conversation with my agent and said, 'I'm going dark here. Let's not talk, let's not text. Let's just focus on the job at hand."
On what about the Colts' opportunity made him know it was the right one for him:
"Everything. I mean, everything about it. As a head coach, though, top priority, obviously, is the ownership commitment to winning, the family atmosphere. I mean, what was really cool — I mean, so far, right? It's only been a short time — but, truly, it was a highlight, when I had the opportunity to sign the contract, and we did it at Mr. Irsay's house, and his whole family was there, and my wife was there, and my wife was there, and Chris and his wife — it just literally felt like a family gathering. That's how I tick, that's how I operate, that's what motivates me. And that was pretty special. But secondly, as a head coach, you know, you're linked together with the GM, and when I had this opportunity to come interview with Chris and the Irsay family, the bombardment of text messages I got from people around the league, like, 'Chris Ballard is the best. I mean this guy is integrity, class act, very talented, great evaluator, man of his word,' the whole deal. So I was just excited to work with Chris as well."
On the challenge of being a little behind others when it comes to forming his coaching staff and getting ready for the offseason:
"Yeah, no, I want us to get used to this timing. We just finished the Super Bowl, and then we get ready. You know, the great thing is — hey Chris and his team right there, they're working; they're working on all the evaluation stuff. Our coaches right now, if I was back in Philadelphia, they had the week off. I mean, so we're evaluating players, we'll get our staff together pretty quickly, and we'll start the process and it'll fit right in."
A behind the scenes look at the Colts new head coach, Frank Reich, arriving in Indy!