Grigson, Pagano relationship may have been strained by #DeflateGate


The curiously selective leak from last week that Colts coach Chuck Pagano will enter a lame-duck season without a new contract, which came without a mention that Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson occupies the same posture, has raised legitimate questions about their working relationship.

Those questions have prompted multiple league sources to point out to PFT that the Pagano and Grigson relationship may have been strained by the allegations against the Patriots arising from the AFC title game.  During the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Grigson surprisingly admitted that he’d alerted the league to the concerns regarding air pressure in New England footballs in the days before the conference championship.

Whether Pagano knew or didn’t know about the suspicions before the game (and if Grigson knew but didn’t tell Pagano, that’s a problem), Pagano has opted for much greater discretion regarding the situation, routinely declining to talk about the situation and deferring to the pending investigation.

As one source has explained it, the issue created a distraction in the locker room at halftime of a game that the Colts trailed 17-7.  With only 12 minutes to get ready for the final 30 minutes of action, anything other than a complete and total focus on the task at hand understandably would have irritated the head coach.

The primary football question emanating from the 45-7 loss relates to the inability of the Colts to stop the run, something Pagano recently called the team’s “Achilles heel.”  Despite a significant free-agency haul this month, the Colts didn’t upgrade the interior of the defensive line.  They were never going to pursue Ndamukong Suh, but they could have made a play for Vince Wilfork or Haloti Ngata.  It remains unclear why they didn’t.

The ability of Grigson and Pagano to set aside any differences and work together remains critical to their mutual success. Owner Jim Irsay could go a long way toward making them both understand that they need to work together.

Irsay has said nothing about last week’s report that Pagano could be in a make-or-break season.  Grigson likewise has said nothing about his own status, or Pagano’s.  Pagano’s statement from Friday night doesn’t really shed much light on the dynamics of his relationship with either man.

Regardless of how it all plays out, the Colts have suddenly replaced the 49ers as the franchise folks will be watching the most closely for signs of owner-G.M.-coach dysfunction until the team’s 2015 season ends.

72 responses to “Grigson, Pagano relationship may have been strained by #DeflateGate

  1. A team that tanked an entire season to draft Luck crying about the integrity of the game! If there is a power struggle we can all hope that Pagano wins. Perhaps he has too much class for that Indy crew though.

  2. Wow – you mean the GM doing something shady strained his relationship with a coach who by all accounts has integrity?

    The hell you say.

  3. especially if Pagano also suspects that the Colts tried to set up the Patriots… didn’t have any real evidence, then doctored the single ball that was significantly lower in PSI.

    The Colts alerted officials before the game. We find that 11 balls, just a tick under the legal limit. Then the one ball the Colts had for 30 minutes was significantly under.

  4. EASY,,,the GM a Former JETS employee with a huge grudge,,like most “haters” looks for anything to cover their weak ass play, and lack of football acumen.
    So as we will see shortly, this entire thing was 100% BS. They intercepted a ball,,let air out of it,,and said,,seee seee.
    The fact that 11 other balls checked by the NFL were a tenth or two (.10 or .20 psi) below the standards,,and the “COLT” evidence ball was 2.2 PSI,,,uh ok….
    So as a Classy coach might do, he said, I’m not getting involved in this BS. But the GM has the uncontrollable urge to compensate for his small “P”,,,
    I’m hoping the Colts get fined for this nonsense….and predicting that the Pats will hang 45 plus on them this year in the regular season.

  5. “Irsay has said nothing about last week’s report that Pagano could be in a make-or-break season. ”
    Who said he didn’t. A good leader would make those comments privately and not publicly.

  6. As a ravens fan, I know how awesome Pagano is. It seems like the recurring theme with these angry GM’s is they don’t like to defer to the coach on anything. No matter that the coach may be 10 x the football mind they are.

  7. I am not overly impressed with Grigson. The Werner pick; the Richardson fiasco; questionable free agent signings such as Walden and Landry; the big money given to others; all of that doesn’t add up to a great GM. I’d say average at best. If one of them has to go, I’d say start looking for a new G.M. Keep Pagano.

  8. I’d imagine it’s been strained more by Grigson trading a first for Trent Richardson, drafting Werner or any of the myriad of mistakes he’s made in selecting personel not named Luck for his football team

  9. Not sure why league hasn’t created the Deflategate Network yet. Or Deflategate 2.
    Maybe once Goodell finally gets around to getting updates on all the pending investigations and finishes talking down to people and acting clueless as to the current state of the NFL’s pressing issues, he could spearhead that.

  10. I don’t understand why the Colts didn’t go after 1 of the big Defensive Tackles either. You watch them play last year and their 2 biggest weaknesses by far were running the football and stopping the run. Gore will help on offense, but teams are still going to run all over them.

  11. Grigson: Hey Chucky, why didn’t we pin a few more of those Patriots footballs ? You know it looks really bad for us.

    Pagano: Not my job. Go ask Kinsel.

  12. According to a report on NFL Radio yesterday, Grigson is NOT a lame duck this year as he signed for 4 year contract, where Pagano signed a 3 year. Not a Colts fan, so not sure 100% of the validity, but wanted to point this out.

  13. So what does Richard Sherman have to say about this?

    He seemed to have such an interesting standpoint on Kraft and Goodell, so how about Kensil and Grigson?

    Oh never mind, Richard Sherman went to Stanford(You know, the heralded educational institution that gives out athletic scholarships), his degree did not give him the ability to think that far. If only he went Ivy League, but that would require him to have had a real degree, and actually have been smart, not just good at football.

  14. Grigson cut his teeth with my Eagles. A team that throughout most of the 2000’s has had terrible run defense. Its no wonder that thats how Grigson built the team!

  15. What a dysfunctional franchise. Drug abuser owner, liar GM and a coach that doesn’t seem to know what’s going on. That’s funny. Good luck this season.

  16. “Championship-driven” adjustments at halftime–they came out and laid an egg to the tune of being outscored 28-zip.

    If I were Pagano, I’d be more that upset that this ridiculousness created a diversion without my knowing. Horrible communication if true.

  17. Feel sorry for Chuck. From all appearances, his boss doesn’t appear to have his life together which certainly affects his decision-making and management of the Colts. Grigson is, of course, from the Jets school of “Can’t get the Patriots out of my mind” paranoia, and believes it is his mission on earth to cast anything negatively possible (not necessarily believable) in the direction of the team that rules its conference. Maybe he’ll be with a team next year that will work at the same level of integrity that Chuck has. Hang in there, Chuck!

  18. And why is Grigson not fired yet? Because he drafted Luck and TY Hilton? Wow… The man hit on one pick. I say one, because Luck was a no brainer and doesn’t actually count as a pick. Other than that he traded away a first rounder for T Rich and a second rounder for Vontae Davis. Is this really the man you want running your personnel dept? He will drive the team under even with Luck at the helm. They have gotten as far as they have only because Luck is the best QB in the conference.

  19. Well I’m sure the Colts’ players truly appreciated the aftermath of deflategate – having to repeat to reporters, for weeks after the AFC Championship Game, how deflategate didn’t matter – the football could have been a brick and the Patriots would still have trounced them soundly.

    Grigson was more concerned with catching the Patriots in a scandal than he was of either bringing in the run-stuffers his team desperately needed to have a chance of actually beating the Patriots, or of the effect his revelation would have on his players.

    Pagano didn’t have his team prepared properly. The only positive deflategate had on the Colts was the attention shift to football psi and ‘those cheatin’ Patriots’ immediately after that debacle of a game.

  20. How funny would it be if #deflategate wound up harming another franchise worse than it harms the Patriots?

    Not a Patriots fan, but if they pull that one of, I will have to give them full credit.

  21. So the Colts GM and/or Pagano were more concerned about chasing some bogus issue because Jim Harbaugh told them to be on the look out for it rather than actually trying to win a football game?? Glad the Colts have their priorities straight. I think a thorough house-cleaning is in order.

  22. Any one who still thinks its just about winning in the NFL? I mean all these people have egos, GMs, Owners, Coaches. Either way, still suprising the way things worked out in San Fran, Denver, and potentially Indy with the amount of wins theyve had in the past few years.

  23. I’m sure I’m biased in this as a regular NFL football fan, but it’s been my perspective that when problems like this arise, it’s usually the GM’s ego that’s the problem–overstepping his job description in the press or on the playing/practice field in a way that complicates the head coach’s ability to actually coach.

  24. need to update this story with
    – the info on Grigson’s infidelity
    – the info on Grigson pulling similar stunt before
    – info on Grigson possibly holding info on Irsay that would get Irsay banished

  25. I dont for a second believe Pagano didnt know anything about the deflated footballs, or that Grigson was going to try to catch them red handed. This was a set up from the start by the Colts and the League (I am not letting that baby Harbaugh off the hook quite yet either). Looks like Chuck knows if he gets fired, he wants to be able to get another job in this league, being the guy who fabricated a deflated football isnt the way to go about getting a job… People can believe all the “facts” that they want, this is completely over blown and stupid, and no where near “a culture of cheating”

  26. Honestly both of them are pretty awful at their jobs. This Colts team is pretty much the same as the Manning Colts. If the QB gets hurt they instantly become one of the worst teams in the league.

  27. In other words Grigson was more concerned with feebly trying to embarrass the Pats then actually win the game… Sounds like an awesome G.M.

    I almost feel bad for Pagano at this point. And you definitely have to feel bad for Luck, he seems like a nice kid. Too bad he’s stuck with Irsay and Grigson and has to live in Indianapolis, during the season (shudder).

    Dont get me wrong I’m sure Indianapolis is lovely place, if you like corn and your into kissing your sister. I like to wave to it whenever I fly over it on my way to places where people actually choose to live…

  28. This is complete conjecture. Fact is we’ve been DESTROYED by the run game by the pats for the last three Years. a big part is because Pagano doesn’t learn and he doesn’t adapt. BB is smart enough to hit us where it hurts. the defensive flaws on this team are because of Pagano. He’s a great person but he’s not head coach material. If the colts win a championship in the next Few years it’s because of # 12

  29. You play in dirty, you get dirty. Enjoy living in your own slop, guys, you deserve it.

  30. No matter what Ted Wells or Roger Goodell says, the ultimate jury in this situation will be the other owners. The actions of Kensil, Kravitz, Harbaugh, Pagano, Grigson and Mortenson were so moronic that they wouldn’t qualify for an episode of ” Cheaters”.

    I would expect Kraft allies Jerry Jones, the Rooneys, and Maras to be very outspoken on what was a coordinated attack on not only Belichick and Brady, but the entire New England franchise and Bob Kraft, personally.

    Keep in mind that if frame – gate had been successful, the overall wort of the Patriots would have been devalued by many millions of dollars.

  31. Patriots fans support the Colts Grigson 100%, he’s doing a fine job and their owner is a credit to the league.

    OTOH, Luck is a little overrated (as is Hilton) and Pagano is over his head. After Luck breaks their cap, they are headed to the bottom while the Texans and Jaguars take over the AFC South.

  32. The ultimate fallout from “deflategate” should be that Kensil gets fired. If he was tipped beforehand to the Patriots allegedly using out-of-regulation footballs, he *should have* put the kaibosh on it before the game.

    NOT try to play Scooby Doo and solve a mystery with a ridiculous contrived sting operation. “Integrity of the game”, and all that. But, if he felt the need to conduct this stupid sting operation, at least gather some evidence along the way, eh? Record measurements before the game and at halftime. Videotape someone doing the measurements. Simple things like that.

    As it stands, it sounds like all of the evidence is just hearsay, with only ONE ball being significantly under-inflated, and that was the one the Colts had on their sideline for 45 minutes before handing it in to the league. To fishy.

    We already know that the Colts organization isn’t afraid to skirt the rules – ala piping in extra crowd noise like the Falcons are currently accused of. So why would it be surprising that they may have tampered with a football?

    Pagano has clearly done enough to earn a contract extension. Why they wouldn’t do it is beyond me. They made it to the AFC Championship last season – why is that not good enough?

  33. As a Colts fan, I find all this attention the franchise seems to be getting lately is embarrassing.

    I think if someone needs to go it should be Grigson. There is something I didn’t like about that guy coming in and it’s even more evident today. The team has been through more off-field issues the past couple years than they have the entire time Peyton Manning and Bill Polian was with the team. Not to mention the blatant disregard to team needs….specifically defense. Offense alone can’t win games.

    I think Grigson is limiting Pagano’s ability with that beautiful defensive mind of his from building a solid D.

    Keep Chuck, can Grigson, and keep Irsay locked up in rehab, that or force Irsay to hand the team over to someone who is dedicated to the franchise and the city of Indianapolis.

  34. As a Patriots fan, I used to have tremendous respect for the Colts organization. Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady always made for an interesting matchup, and of course I loved to see the Patriots give Manning fits. Now I have lost all respect for them. It seems more and more likely that they are the ones who manufactured this whole deflategate bullsh!t to humiliate the Patriots, and I hope that this ridiculous investigation gets to the bottom of it soon.

  35. To the idiot who says the Colts tanked a season to get Luck. You are aware that Peyton was put on IRL and that the Colts signed Kerry Collins to play that year, who ALSO got put on IRL that year. Here’s some trivia, name the quarterback who played for the Colts that year.
    Go ahead, I will wait.

  36. This article supposes that Irsay didn’t know what Grigson did. Kravitz had two sources. Considering that Kravitz was the chief cheerleader for Irsay after Irsay’s drug arrest, maybe Irsay paid him back by leaving that “Call me, important” message after the AFC game. Then Kravitz calls Grigson to make sure Jim wasn’t drunk or worse to verify. It makes sense. I had a feeling Pagano was telling the truth, he seems like an honorable guy.

  37. I don’t understand how Pagano could let that become a “distraction” at the half-time of the AFCCG. The only thing that should be going on at that halftime was to figure out how to stop the run.

    Bush league, Pagano.

  38. Grigson has managed to make the team older with a free agency full of young good talent and lots of cap space. If this is a make or break season for Pagano then it should be for Grigson as well.

  39. Curtis Painter. Oh, I probably don’t count as a Colts fan, but yeah that was not really a tank, but more of a team that was exposed.

    It lost it’s best player and apparently only leader for the season. No one else, coaches included could step up and doing anything. Thus the house cleaning that followed.

  40. These teams should just concentrate on their own teams instead of always looking over the fence at the Patriots. Half of their mind is occupied by the Pats, no wonder they lose against the Pats. Then they try to bring down the Pats by snitching and whining. Wouldn’t be surprised if they lose their jobs. Maybe they’ll get lucky and find another job like Rex then start the foolishness over again. Just do your job. That’s the open secret that make BB and the Pats number one.

  41. Whatever the truth, the Colts look like idiots at best and conniving losers at worst. In short, they were and still are trying to blame several losses to the Patriots on an amount of air that weighs no more than a dollar bill (if that).

    The Patriots got more of an advantage from the Colts losing focus and the Patriots gaining it once Irsay, Grigson, Kensil, and Mortensen went postal on the franchise.

    Remember when the story first broke pundits said Kraft would throw Belichick under the bus given this was his second offense? Kraft and the Patriots circled the wagons and rolled (well fought to the last second) to a super bowl win.

  42. One thing for sure about having dysfunction in the franchise–it always shows out on the field, even when it is in winning teams. Whether they sucked for Luck or not, it is obvious that without Luck (no pun intended), they’d look as dysfunctional as a typical losing team. But as a Fins fan I am glad they didn’t pursue Suh!

  43. Look at Brady’s performance in the second half of the AFCCG and in then in the super bowl. Brady proved deflated balls meant nothing.

    I will never forget all of the people in the NFL, the media, and the fans not only willing, but apparently gleefully, trying to destroy Brady’s good name. They are just despicable human beings.

  44. The NFL has to pin it on the Colts. The Patriots won the super bowl and you can’t have the super bowl winner look like cheaters even though they are. Goodell and Kraft continue to be buddy buddy as the patriots continue to cheat as they have a history of doing and have been caught doing so why would they not do it again.

  45. chippy, have you been hibernating since the super bowl? Isn’t signing Suh to a contract almost twice Brady’s giving you warm fuzziness for the upcoming season under Coach Philbin?

  46. People should not forget that Kravitz called for Belichick to lose his job and the Patriots to be denied the opportunity to compete in the Super Bowl. He wanted the Colts to be named AFC Champion by the league.

    For those in Vegas who had wagered on Indy as AFC Champs, it would have been the happiest day of their lives. For those who selected the Patriots? Not so much.

  47. Let’s not forget about Harbaugh’s role in this as well. His ego took a major hit when Brady suggested he learn the rule book. He used the Colts to exact his revenge on the Patriots that soundly embarrassed him on and off the feild. He knew the mob would react the way Thay did with even a hint of foul play by the Pats. It worked perfectly for him, he got to see the ones that embarrassed him get absolutely obliterated by every media outlet in the world. And by using Pagano and Grigston to do his dirty work for him he wins again, if the league find the Colts guilty of framing the Pats and punishes them with lose of draft pics he has essentially weekend an AFC rival while embarrassing another. Shady? Sure but one hell of a power move.

  48. I’m amazed that the Colts got thumped by the World Champion Patriots in the EXACT SAME MANNER the last 3 times they faced them.

    Pats punch them in the mouth and they fold. Again and again and again. That’s a problem that can’t be coached. That’s all about personnel and that’s all on Grigson.

    I mean you’d think the organization would have learned by now right? You know what they say about the definition of insanity… 🙂

  49. Why isn’t the NFLPA providing defense for Brady?

    Seems like Brady’s name (and marketability) have been diminished based on false information that was leaked by the NFL.

    Aren’t unions supposed to protect members against unfair treatment?

    Or at the very least, aren’t they supposed to provide support for members when a trade association impugns the member’s integrity.

    Whether Brady is guilty or not, shouldn’t the NFLPA be supporting him?

  50. This always seemed like Grigson/Kensil. Grigson probably got upset when Pagano seemed not to go along with it.

    As for Tom Brady, his name got thrown in the mud and Collinsworth even continued that on Super Bowl Sunday. I still can’t believe Collinsworth did that without any proof. His excuse is that Brady wasn’t mad enough. Sheesh.

  51. It is likely Brady didn’t want the union’s assistance. Fair or not, it would taint him with guilt. Instead, he chose to prove himself on the field and at the microphone, and hit it out of the park. Has anyone every faced a scandal and came out looking better?

    I am sure much of his social media activity is part of a pr campaign to regain his image. He is not just a QB, he has a wife who is the premier model and he himself makes more money on endorsements off the field than he makes playing on the field. His top gig, Under Armour (a company that want to challenge Nike), recently signed Gisele as well.

    I believe that he and his wife will buy into a share of Patriots ownership when he retires. It will allow Kraft to pay estate taxes when the time comes and give the team a face with more charisma than Jonathan Kraft can project. It is a perfect match and likely why Brady sold the BelAir home to build one next to Kraft in Brookline.

  52. Time for the NFL to live up to their anti-discrimination regulations and remove the NFL form Indiana.

  53. The thing I’m confused by is why the Colts haven’t done more to shore up both the OL and DL. The Patriots destroyed them by going to two TEs and powering right through them. On the other side, the Colts couldn’t run the ball at all, except on likely passing downs. I kind of expected the Colts to add some juggernauts inside. Instead, they went and got more toys for Luck. From the outside, this seems weird. Is Irsay playing fantasy football?

  54. “Regardless of how it all plays out, the Colts have suddenly replaced the 49ers as the franchise folks will be watching the most closely for signs of owner-G.M.-coach dysfunction until the team’s 2015 season ends.”

    Have you forgotten about the Browns?

  55. Pagano seems like a class act.

    Grigson, seems like the Wolf of Wall Street, on his yacht deck, with the fancy RayBans.

  56. @jchipwood:

    Chippy, every time you comment on the Patriots it’s always the same thing…They cheated, they always cheat, they’re a culture of cheating.

    You know what you remind me of…The scratched CD at the old RCA Dome that kept skipping and playing the same crowd noise over and over and over…

    Sort of like you…The same old tired crap!

  57. Coaches and GMs are judged by wins and losses. Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson have won 36 games over the last three seasons. Together, they form one of the most outstanding duos in the NFL. They took over a franchise that had just finished a 2-14 season. They started out with a rookie QB who’s had multiple offensive coordinators. Half the GMs in the league would have drafted RG3 instead o Luck. They lost in the AFC Championship game to the eventual Super Bowl winners. Most owners would love to have Grigson and Pagano running their franchises. Neither man would be unemployed very long if they were to leave Indy. Andrew Luck is a great young QB, but having Joe Montana didn’t seem to tarnish Bill Walsh’s legacy. He certainly wasn’t winning many games before Montana came along. Same deal with Belichick and Brady. I don’t see why these guys should have to apologize for drafting Luck.

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