The Indianapolis Colts decided to sign Philip Rivers over Tom Brady in free agency, but that doesn't mean Indianapolis didn't actually take a look at signing the 42-year-old Brady. All options were on the table, according to Colts head coach Frank Reich, who watched every snap Brady took over the past two seasons.
The Colts head coach was very thorough in his evaluation of Brady.
"I did tell you that we did look at all the guys and I will tell you that I looked at his (Brady's) tape," Reich said in a conference call, via Kevin Hickey of USA Today. "The guy is incredible. I mean, I watched all of his tape from the last two years. I think he's still playing at a super, super high level.
"We know he's the best of all time for a reason (with) as many championships as he's won. I mean, he still threw a couple balls in games, I'm saying, 'How's this guy throwing this ball this far?' He's incredible."
So why did the Colts pass on signing Brady? Indianapolis thought Rivers was a better fit for the offense, which made sense given his history with Reich and the coaching staff. Rivers is reunited with Colts offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni, who spent five seasons as an offensive assistant with the Los Angeles Chargers, who Rivers played for from 2004 to 2019. Reich was the offensive coordinator for two seasons with the Chargers, spending three total years with Rivers in San Diego.
Reich was the Chargers' quarterbacks coach in 2013, when Rivers led the NFL by completing 69.5% of his passes, the highest completion percentage of his career. Along with throwing for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns that season, Rivers also took care of the football, throwing just 11 interceptions while earning Pro Bowl honors.
The Colts wanted a bridge quarterback, and were uncertain if Brady would accept that role. Brady signed a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, determining he doesn't intend on retiring after 2020. The one-year, $25 million contract the Colts gave Rivers gives the franchise control of their quarterback situation after 2020, something they wouldn't have been able to do with Brady's contract.
"I have the utmost respect for [Brady] as a player and competitor," Reich said. "For us, we got the guy we thought was the right fit for us, but this is a guy who I respect and admire immensely, obviously, along with everybody else."