Former CFL quarterback and assistant coach Marcus Brady won’t ever forget his time in Canada after being hired as the Indianapolis Colts’ offensive coordinator.
Brady spent 16 years in Canada — seven as a player and nine as a coach — and won Grey Cups with the Montreal Alouettes (2009, 2010) and Toronto Argonauts (2017).
“I enjoyed my time in the CFL, had a lot of fun — it’s good football up there. Loved my time in the CFL, as a whole spent 16 years up there — it’s always forever going to be a part of me,” Brady said in a videoconference.
“It’s an exciting, fun game. The pace is a little bit faster. There’s a little bit more variety there, you can get very creative offensively. Being a coach you still get the emotional rush of preparing and going out there and competing.”
Brady finished his playing career as a quarterback with the Als in 2008 and Marc Trestman hired him onto the coaching staff the following year. Montreal won back-to-back CFL championships in Brady’s first two years as an assistant coach.
“I learned a lot from Marc Trestman, he was my first head coach once I got into coaching. The foundation that he set, he’s a great culture-setter,” Brady said.
“As far as offensive philosophy, he comes from the west coast background, so that was my initial start as far as an offensive system, which I loved and we had a ton of success.”
From 2008 to 2012, the Als finished first place in the East Division four times. Brady worked alongside Anthony Calvillo his entire time in Montreal as the legendary pivot led a dynamic passing attack. At times, Trestman allowed Brady to call the offensive plays.
“A lot of it was in the details of the assignments and making sure that everybody’s on the same page working together. There’s a lot of similarities in our offence here, we’re focused on the details. I learned quite a bit from Trestman,” Brady said.
“It’s a different league. Some of the same things carry over, though — it was a great learning experience there. I had a lot of success up there and I’m able to carry my experiences from that into here, but of course it’s going to be different.”
Scott Milanovich hired Brady as Toronto’s offensive coordinator in 2013, a position he held for five years, including one year after Trestman took over from Milanovich. While with the Boatmen, Brady worked closely with future Canadian Football Hall of Fame signal-caller Ricky Ray.
“That was one of the reasons why I went to Toronto from Montreal was the opportunity to call plays. And then even when Marc came back we shared responsibilities,” Brady said.
Colts’ head coach Frank Reich was a quarterback at the University of Maryland, the same school where Milanovich played. Brady spent seven seasons on coaching staffs with Milanovich, first in Montreal and then in Toronto. Milanovich helped Brady get a job with Indianapolis through his connection with Reich.
After Nick Sirianni was named the Philadelphia Eagles’ head coach, Brady was promoted from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator in Indianapolis. He’s currently one of four Black people to hold that position in the NFL, joining Kansas City’s Eric Bieniemy, Tampa Bay’s Byron Leftwich, and Detroit’s Anthony Lynn.
“It is a topic of discussion — the lack of minorities getting these opportunities — so I’m definitely blessed and thankful. I understand that I gotta go out there and do a great job,” Brady said.
“It is my responsibility that given this opportunity to go out there and produce so that others get the same opportunities that I’ve been blessed with here.”