In an upset that Bob Kravitz of WTHR.com calls an upset bigger than Super Bowl III, coach Chuck Pagano has reached a deal to remain with the Colts.
“Guy walks into office to get released, walks out with extension,” Kravitz said.
Making the upset even bigger is the fact that both Pagano and G.M. Ryan Grigson will remain in Indianapolis, despite multiple reports from last week (including a damning one from Kravtiz) suggesting a high degree of dysfunction between the front office and the coaching staff. But now, according to owner Jim Irsay, the two men are “tied at the hip,” with Grigson being “contractually tied” to Pagano.
This suggests that Grigson, who had one year left on his deal, now has a three-year extension.
For Pagano, who has multiple children and has beaten cancer, it was an occasion for hyperbole; “I’ve had a lot of great days in my life but none better than today. This is absolutely the best day of my life,” Pagano declared at a press conference with Irsay and Grigson. (For a guy who is married, has multiple kids, and has beaten cancer, that’s saying something.)
It ultimately was a confusing day, and it’s hard not to wonder whether Irsay at least explored the possibility of bringing in someone like Nick Saban before renewing vows with Pagano and Grigson. Irsay mentioned on a couple of occasions that he could have made a “big splash,” with an “eight-figure” coach.
Ultimately, Irsay seems to have backed away from the “Super Bowls or bust” mentality he previously had displayed, justifying continuity and consistency by pointing out that Pagano and Grigson have done more in their first four years than the team accomplished in the first four years with Hall of Fame G.M. Bill Polian and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
It’s an encouraging sign for the Colts. The owner has realized something that others haven’t. It’s far more important to keep swinging the bat consistently than to flail for the fences.
Irsay nevertheless hasn’t lost sight of the goal. “I’m convinced we have the right stuff to win a world championship,” Irsay said.
At least he’s not insisting on multiple Super Bowl championships. Maybe he has realized that there’s no quick fix in the NFL, and that things could be a lot worse with someone else than they’ve been with Grigson and Pagano.