Colts owner Jim Irsay said he thinks his franchise is about to enter a third “gilded era,” with quarterback Andrew Luck leading them the way Johnny Unitas and Peyton Manning did.
But speaking in depth about his other major offseason decision — whether to retain coach Chuck Pagano and General Manager Ryan Grigson — Irsay admitted he didn’t know if he was going to fire one or both when they walked into his office on Black Monday.
As he recounted the series of meetings between himself and Pagano, himself and Grigson, and Grigson and Pagano, Irsay said the decision to tie his coach and G.M. to each other through 2019 came “organically.”
“Let me tell ya — tears fell, voices were raised, but they both came out different people,” Irsay said, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “There are times, and this is one of them, where you go into it, and people think from the outside that someone knows what’s going to happen, [that] they’re just not telling us, meaning the public and the media. Not true. Not true. Sometimes, the decision-maker, which is the owner in this case, you have to be able to hear, and hear the things at the right moment, at the bewitching hour, and then you will make that decision at that flashpoint moment in the 11th hour. That’s the truth. It’s not always pre-decided. Sometimes it is. A lot of times it is. But in this case it wasn’t.
“This case organically came together. It showed me that the football gods, whatever you want to call it, the powers that be, created this correct synergy that said, ‘OK, Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano, they are going to be our guys going forward and there is no question about it.’ ”
While that sounds a little hippie and kum-ba-yah for the normal football decision-making process, this is still Irsay we’re talking about, so it also makes a degree of sense.
Irsay said the two insisted on their contracts being lashed together, since Grigson having a year more than Pagano helped fuel some of the initial speculation (and perhaps problems). And Irsay said he also consulted with Luck, who was going to be there and be rich whether one or both of Pagano and Grigson remained.
“Good working relationship, both have matured,” Irsay said. “I’m banking in the investment of what I put into Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson. There’s been a lot of time, money and many hours of investment and conversations and mentoring and talking to these guys, and that’s what I’m banking on. . . . Ryan and Chuck are closer than ever and more understanding of each other’s positions than ever. They’re giving each other more room to operate. It’s a great working relationship and yes, it’s grown.”
“Ryan and Chuck are closer than ever and more understanding of each other’s positions than ever. They’re giving each other more room to operate. It’s a great working relationship and yes, it’s grown.”
Irsay’s counting on that organic growth translating into wins, having committed to the direction fully once he gave Luck the gigantic contract.