Before Austin Collie was catching passes at BYU and, later, from Peyton Manning in the NFL, he was catching passes from Shane Steichen, his high school best friend and the current head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Collie and Steichen’s friendship and connection to Indianapolis were recently featured in a video produced by the Colts and shared on their YouTube page. The Colts drafted Collie out of BYU in the fourth round of the 2009 NFL draft and hired Steichen 14 years later as their head coach.

“It is crazy,” Collie said. “I always knew he’d get to this level but the fact that he came here as his first gig — this is my first gig — you do kind of have to take a step back and appreciate it cuz it is wild.”

Entering his second season as head coach, Steichen is looking to bring the Colts back to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2010 when Collie was in his rookie season with the team.

“It’s pretty wild if you really sit there and think about it,” Steichen said. “He played here, and now I’m coaching here.”

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How did Austin Collie and Shane Steichen become friends?

The two met in junior high and were ball boys together for the local high school team. They then developed a close friendship at Oak Ridge High in El Dorado Hills, California, while playing together and falling in “love with the game of football together,” as Steichen said.

“We instantly became best friends just because of our passion for football,” Collie said. “We had the same goals: getting a DI scholarship. We had the same kind of roadmap to get where we wanted to go.”

Collie said both he and Steichen shared a “naive optimism” that they would achieve their football dreams.

“It wasn’t just a pipe dream,” he said. “It was something that we were going to work towards and make sure that we willed it to happen. We would throw all the time, too. I mean, that was our main goal and our main focus as kids in high school.”

At the time, they always wore basketball shorts under their jeans and kept a ball and cleats in their cars so they could play football after making a quick appearance at friends’ parties.

“There would be times at like 11:30, midnight, we’d be at a party and just say, you know, ‘We got to go get it in. Someone’s getting better than us right now,’” Collie said. “We shared the same mindset which was this certainty that somehow football was going to be a part of our life. We always dreamt and always talked about getting to the big show. We knew the work that it was going to take.”

Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen walks along the sideline during a game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023
Indianapolis Colts head coach Shane Steichen walks along the sideline during a game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Indianapolis. | AJ Mast, Associated Press

What did Austin Collie say about Shane Steichen becoming Colts head coach?

Collie and Steichen’s football paths ended up being pretty different, but the friends both ended up in the NFL.

Collie spent five seasons playing in the NFL before spending a season in the Canadian Football League. Steichen, meanwhile, has spent the past 12 seasons coaching in the NFL, according to the Colts. His role as the offensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles during their 2023 Super Bowl run made him one of the top head coach prospects of that hiring cycle.

“It’s crazy how things kind of come full circle, and we couldn’t have chose a better head coach to take leadership of this team,” Collie said.

Collie sees a bright future for his best friend. In his first season as head coach, Steichen led the Colts to a 9-8 record and had to deal with starting rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson suffering a season-ending injury.

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“It has been awesome to see him put in the time and put in the work that he has, waiting for his big moment, and I just think this is the beginning for him,” Collie said.

Why Shane Steichen was at the 2010 Super Bowl

In his first season in the NFL, Collie was already living out his and Steichen’s dreams by playing in the Super Bowl, and he wanted his best friend to experience it with him.

He called Steichen the Wednesday before the Super Bowl to let him know he had a ticket for him and a place he could stay.

“I’m like, ‘Heck yeah,’” Steichen recalled.

Steichen, who was a broke graduate assistant at the time, flew to Miami, where he slept on the floor of Collie’s brother’s hotel room. He was then able to watch Collie catch six passes from Manning for 66 receiving yards in the Colts’ Super Bowl loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“I had to bring him to my Super Bowl. It was the apex of everything that we had talked about. Everything that we dreamed of, I was getting to realize in that situation and knew that Shane at some point was going to realize that in his life. We were like little kids having that conversation, ‘Can you believe you’re going to this?’” Collie said. “But just knowing that his day would soon follow, obviously, I wanted to include him in that. He couldn’t have been happier.”