As Sunday quickly approaches in the frozen tundra of Indianapolis, after a season of uncertainty and ups and downs (mostly downs), one thing seems to be coming to fruition. This Sunday is the last time Chuck Pagano will walk the sidelines as the Indianapolis Colts Head Coach.
After back to back 8-8 seasons, this season has taken a downward spiral along with the throwing shoulder of the franchise in Andrew Luck. Luck’s status still remains uncertain, but Pagano’s seems much more clear, and I like to think he’s ok with that. Remember, “they can’t eat ya”
3 straight seasons with 11 wins is no easy feat. His career record will finish around 52-43 (pending this Sunday), but at one point he was the 2nd most winning coach behind only Bill Belichek.
Let us not forget what Pagano did for the Franchise, leading them to the AFC Championship game just a short time ago, to be beaten by the eventual Superbowl Champion New England Patriots in a game that will always be known to have set up the “Deflategate”.
The miraculous comeback against the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs was not all Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, someone had to keep the team together and make them believe a comeback was possible. That man was Chuck Pagano. This was perhaps his best example of making adjustments on the fly as we saw from Chuck, perhaps one of the only times, but it was certainly a highlight.
The city of Indianapolis will never forget the inspiration that Chuck Pagano gave us all when he was diagnosed with cancer. Seeing him battle through and the city rally behind him and the team was awesome, and what he has done for cancer research, raising close to $5 million to go directly to researchers speaks the the character of man Chuck Pagano is and has been in his time here in Indianapolis.
The downfall of coach Pagano has been the lack of ability to achieve what he promised us in the initial press conference, a ground and pound offense along with an elite defense that the fans were clamoring for. His defenses have continually finished near the bottom of the league in pass defense and rush defense, and the offense has been anything but a ground and pound unit, rather much more of a sling it deep and get Andrew Luck pounded.
The past few years have been much harder to swallow with Pagano as the man in charge. After the AFC Championship game, the Colts are a combined 19-28. There are several “big moments” in which Pagano has made bonehead decisions. The infamous fake punt. Challenging calls and losing timeouts in key situations. Mismanaging the game clock at the end of a game. Losing time and time again after having halftime and 4th quarter leads.
It seems as though Pagano’s positive attitude and aw shucks approach has run its course toward the end of his tenure here, but let’s not forget all the good he did here as well. For one, I will not miss watching Pagano led teams on Sunday, however, the state and Indianapolis will miss Chuck Pagano as a member of the community.
So I may be the only one to say this, but here it goes.
Thank You Chuck Pagano for all that you did for our city. You were an inspiration to many, and you never wavered from your values.