Pagano’s head-coaching career is, as a practical matter, over

AP

In theory, Colts coach Chuck Pagano can still secure a new contract to continue in his job beyond 2015. The Colts, now 3-3, could continue to run roughshod over the worst division in football (sorry, fans of AFC South teams, but someone has to be the worst division in football), get hot late in the year, win a wild-card game at home, beat the Broncos or Bengals in the divisional round on the road, somehow upset the Patriots in Gillette Stadium in the AFC title game, and make it to the Super Bowl.

With anything short of that, there’s no way owner Jim Irsay can keep Pagano around. Not after the most bizarre special-teams play in NFL history.

It’s definitely the worst since former Washington coach Jim Zorn tried the “swinging gate” against the Giants on Monday Night Football in 2009. Eerily similar to the Pagano gaffe, Zorn’s goofball concept came during a field-goal try. With the play starting on the right hash mark, seven players sprinted toward the left sideline, leaving four behind. One of them went in motion to the left, and the plan apparently was to throw a pass to the player who went in motion and have him gain at least the four yards needed for a first down behind the phalanx of blockers.

The only problem? Six Giants stayed home, the guy who got the snapped was swarmed by three of them, he threw up a wobbly pass, and the Giants picked it off.

Zorn was fired two weeks later. Of course, Zorn was getting fired even if that play had worked; the reckless desperation of his imminent demise simply fueled the idiotic special-teams play.

Pagano, possibly feeling that same kind of reckless desperation due to his inability to stay within 20 points of the Patriots, took a flicker of hope for securing his future with the team and snuffed it out in one glorious fit of calculated madness.

While some would say it’s possibly just the right amount of crazy to resonate with an eccentric owner, it’s certifiable madness for any coach of any major college or professional program to come up with a play that was so poorly conceived and yet somehow executed even worse.

Pagano defenders argue that receiver Griff Whalen wasn’t supposed to snap the ball to safety Colt Anderson. Fine, then what was the point of it? To get the Patriots to fall over laughing into the neutral zone?

Making it worse is that Pagano can’t claim temporary insanity. The arrow that he shot into his own foot had been lurking in the quiver for a while.

“We started working on it last year and then we put it back in this week,” punter Pat McAfee told reporters after the game. “It’s a play where you try to take advantage of numbers. You try to confuse the defense and hopefully get an edge numbers wise. The look was not there that we normally have in practice where it’s a go. There must have been some miscommunication between the snapper and Colt [Anderson] and it turned out to be one of the most failed fakes probably of all time.”

McAfee is right about that. Given the circumstances and the stakes, it’s probably the most memorable coaching blunder the NFL has seen, at least since the AFL-NFL merger.

Irsay will never be able to forget it, or to forgive it. Short of a Super Bowl berth, the failed fake becomes the thing that seals Pagano’s fate, both in Indy and elsewhere. What owner in good conscience could ever hire Pagano again to run an NFL team? This is Marty Mornhinweg winning the toss in true sudden-death overtime and choosing to kick, times 1,000.

So, basically, when the 55-year-old Pagano vowed that his current job will be his last one, he didn’t realize how accurate he was.

He’ll resurface (if he wants to) as a defensive coordinator or a position coach. But unless he finds a way to win enough games in the regular season and postseason to qualify for a berth in Super Bowl 50, he won’t be able to erase the Roman numeral by which that game otherwise would have been known from his forehead.

153 responses to “Pagano’s head-coaching career is, as a practical matter, over

  1. Ignoring the fact that Pagono is out of his league, I would say this is all in all a very weak year for the NFL overall.

    Good teams:Packers, Patriots, Bengals

    Medioscre: Falcons, Jets, Panthers

    Bad teams: Everyone else

  2. Pagano may be mediocre, but he’s not the problem it’s that idiot Grigson who for some reason keeps drafting weapons for Luck (Dorsett) instead of beefing up the defensive and offensive lines which continue to be the weak points that the Patriots attack to beat them. Colts want to start on the right path then they need fire Grigson first not Pagano.

  3. well let’s be honest, the Colts are still likely going to win their division so he still has a chance

  4. As it should be.

    I’ve been watching the NFL for more than 50 years now, and the so called fake punt last night was the worst designed, worst coached and worst executed play I’ve ever seen. Monster fail in every single aspect.

    Even the butt fumble was not as bad. That was a comedy of errors, the play last night was a designed play.

  5. This is Marty Mornhinweg winning the toss in true sudden-death overtime and choosing to kick, times 1,000.

    Didn’t Belichick do that to get the wind to favour his team against Peyton & the Broncos couple of years back ?

  6. Byeeeeeeeeeee. You are horrible at what you do Coach. At least you have that memorable win over Tennessee to take with you to your next high school job..

  7. You don’t fire a guy for one bad special teams play, even if he should have called a time out. Special teams players are jacked up morons who are just happy to be on the field for their one play. They make dumb mistakes almost every time they’re on the field.

  8. mataug says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:49 AM
    This is Marty Mornhinweg winning the toss in true sudden-death overtime and choosing to kick, times 1,000.

    Didn’t Belichick do that to get the wind to favour his team against Peyton & the Broncos couple of years back ?

    ___________________

    I don’t know if Bill did or didn’t but the Lions were playing a dome that day.

  9. He literally picked the worst team in the NFL to try this against. The Patriots place a huge emphasis on special teams — and of course, practicing all anticipated situations.

    Had they lined up correctly, and snapped it quickly, they may have actually had a chance to run for some yardage, but unfortunately, the execution was beyond horrid.

  10. Oh don’t worry; we aren’t offended. We know it’s the worst division in football. And we hope that Pagano sticks around for the rest of the season. In that case, maybe the Texans can sneak into the playoffs with a 6-10 record. Bring on on the fake punts!

  11. The point was to try to:

    A–Get the Pats to burn a timeout
    B–Get the Pats w/12 men on the field

    The risk was SUPPOSED to be:
    A–Take a 5 yard delay of game penalty

    UNFORTUNATELY, with the piss-poor coaching, it just wasn’t executed. The issue wasn’t the call, it was the execution between the lack of guys on the line of scrimmage (duh) and the snapping of the ball (DUH?!), THOSE were the issues. On the surface, trading a potential 5 yards for a first down or a burned NE timeout might not have been THAT stupid.

    pagano has to GO! and bring Cryan Grigson with you!!! no way in heck luck re-signs with this franchise…and can you blame him…:'(

  12. Bet Grigson was laughing maniacally while sitting in his high back chair with a furless cat on his lap.

  13. Since he is a cancer survivor & cancer unfortunately involves itself in all of our lives at one time or another, I was really rooting for Chuck Pagano. Was hoping he’d become a elite head coach in the NFL after what he went through a couple of years ago.

    But this guys press conferences are almost illegible. Hard to understand what he’s trying to convey when he speaks. Now maybe he’s only thus way with the press & not with everyone but if his press conferences are any indication of his communication skills it’s not a wonder the Colts are where they are. He seems to have trouble getting his point across when he talks.

  14. Irsay was probably to high to even remember what happened in the game….that one play won’t cost him his job but either Paganos or the GM will be gone after the yr….If I’m Irsay I keep Paganos and bring in a GM who will upgrade that D and depth…..but the real problem is Luck, better run the ball 25-30 times a game if you want to win in January

  15. Rustygate is just the football gods paying them back for you know what. That both Pagano and Harbaugh are suddenly, almost inexplicably on red hot seats cannot be a coincidence. Normal football just doesn’t work like this, yet here we are.

  16. Didn’t Belichick do that to get the wind to favour his team against Peyton & the Broncos couple of years back ?

    Keywords true sudden death pal.

    The hoodie took the risk old Noodle Arm wasn’t going to score a TD

  17. “Fine, then what was the point of it? To get the Patriots to fall over laughing into the neutral zone?”

    —————————————————–
    Lmao I almost choked on my lunch

  18. This organization is a joke.

    Pagano stinks and need to go
    Grigson stinks very bad and need to go
    Irsay is the worst and is the owner.

    Best case scenario : Irsay fire both and mysteriously hire a good GM while high.

    Probability : 0.5%

    Worst case : Only pagano is fired

    Probability : 99.5%

    Signed

    Colts fan

  19. Hogue34 said:

    “Oh no offense taken….As a disgruntled Titans fan I fully agree the AFC South is the NFL bottom feeder.”

    Ditto.

    – Titans Fan

  20. To Mataug…..Belichick chose to defend the goal with the wind. The Broncos then chose to get the ball. Payton Manning was throwing into a very strong wind and could not move the ball. Following several possessions for both teams, the Broncos forced a NE punt, which was fumbled and recovered by the Pats, who won with a field goal.

  21. A terrible blunder in concept and execution? Hells yes.

    But a terrible coach? I say no.

    11-5 for THREE straight years. You can give credit for the first to Arians, but Pagano has been a consistent winner. And while moderately talented, he has not had a loaded roster by any means. One terrible blunder does not repute three years of pretty good coaching, at least in my book.

    Grigson is the larger problem in Indy, imho.

  22. Never say never . . . Rex kept getting extensions and a new head coaching job after a very disappointing season.

  23. Ravens nation would roll out the red carpet for Pagano to return as Defensive Coordinator. Pagano got the HC job based off of his tenure in Baltimore, the players loved him and his defenses were outstanding. Remove Pagano, Insert Dean Pees, dumpster fire ensues.

  24. When Irsay had both Pagano and Arains on his coaching staff, he had to make a choice when Pagano came back from his illness. He did the right thing as far as most human beings (and lawyers) are concerned, but one can’t help but wonder what might have been…..

  25. Although it seems he’s over his head, at some point a GM has to be responsible for the talent he gives to a coach. And I don’t mean a very good qb and a bunch of players.

    As much as I hate NE and think most of their fans are douche canoes, they have surrounded their great qb with talented good, although I wouldn’t say great in most cases, but very good players who fit their schemes. What happened is they have a hall of fame qb, great coaches and little in the way of holes on the roster becaus they all have a role, know it and execute it…

    Meanwhile Indy keeps pissing away Lucks career like they did for much of Manning

  26. weepingjebus says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:58 AM
    Rustygate is just the football gods paying them back for you know what. That both Pagano and Harbaugh are suddenly, almost inexplicably on red hot seats cannot be a coincidence. Normal football just doesn’t work like this, yet here we are.

    Except Harbaugh isn’t on the hot seat and isn’t going anywhere.

  27. thanks colts, as pats fan, the thrill of the butt fumble was starting to wear off, we needed a new utter humiliating play against us to rejuvenate us.

    thank you for that it will give us many laughs for a long time

  28. I just hope he pulls another crazy idea on the 27th of December, perhaps a Christmas gift for the fish in Miami. Bill

  29. Guess he shouldn’t have played a pivotal role in creating the deflategate garbage. Belichick doesn’t have time for anything that isn’t trying to win the next game The fact that Pagano actually did have time for that stuff, told me all we needed to know. I am pretty sure there are thousands of Patriots fans that enjoyed that even more than the expected blow out.

    If you had told Pats fans they were gonna win 34-27, they would have been a little disappointed. But 34-27, with the way that game played out, was absolutely perfect

  30. This is what the head official said. “Illegal formation. The entire right side of the line was not on the line of scrimmage”

    How is that a play that had ever been practiced before?

  31. Sometimes as a Pats fan, I let the lowest common denominator crowd get me fired up. But stuff like this, and just seeing the state of most other teams in the league….the best revenge truly is living well.

  32. silvernblacksabbath says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:46 AM
    And they had Arians!!! That stings…

    Yeah it does. But booby Irsay, coming off his own medical situation, was not going to fire a now-healthy again Chuck Pagano. I’m thinking they had to let Arians walk.

    But what about the clueless Chicago Bears? They had Arians in a room, for four hours, and not only didn’t fall in love with him, they didn’t hire him. Why? The GM would still have a job, color would be better, who in the hell in that room said “let’s go with Trestman”?

  33. Grigson hired Pagano………….enough said. Grigson is a horrendous GM…..therefore…in order to keep his job, he must possess photos of Irsay popping pills. Oh….they already exist? Then one giant dysfunctional family then. Go Dolts!!!

  34. nickrindo says:
    You don’t fire a guy for one bad special teams play, even if he should have called a time out.
    _____________

    Maybe not but it certainly is the cherry on top of the s— sundae.

    As far as the “and they had Arians” thing goes it is amazing how quick people forget why Arians was interim head coach. There’s not an owner in pro sports that would take the PR hit that would go with ditching a HC coming back from leukemia. There’s no history like revisonist history

  35. Ok…..enough for the knee jerk reaction. Think this thru Colts fans. Yes, you lost to New England again last night….yes you are on a 5 loss streak vs the Pats. But consider this: your O and D lines played much better…you had a running game….and if not for “the call”, may have won THE game that 99% of the league felt like you had ZERO chance of winning…keep Pagano…..fire that clown Grigson!

  36. “wasn’t he in the AFC championship last year?”

    Yes, and the Colts have the banner to prove it.

    I hear they’re hanging another banner to commemorate their 21-20 halftime lead last night.

  37. mataug says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:49 AM
    This is Marty Mornhinweg winning the toss in true sudden-death overtime and choosing to kick, times 1,000.

    Didn’t Belichick do that to get the wind to favour his team against Peyton & the Broncos couple of years back ?

    Belichick did ‘take the wind’ but the rule had changed at that time to where a field goal on the first possession in OT did not win the game.

    And the Pats won that game.

    Plus, whether you love him or hate him, Belichick has the gravitas, the record, and the rings to make any coaching decision without much concern for the security of his job.

  38. “How is that a play that had ever been practiced before?”

    Pagano said after the game that they’d been working on that play for a year. Perhaps they need another year to work out the kinks.

  39. If we could get Joe Philbin to run the offense and Jim Schwartz to run the defense, I don’t care who the head coach is. But yes, that “trick” play was pretty bad

  40. Dear Mr. Irsay,

    Please keep both Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano in their current positions within the Colts organization for as long as possible.

    Sincerely,

    NE Patriots Fans.

  41. Also, the Redskins play was full of stupid (including running it again after a Giants time out to think about it) but situationally this was way worse. Redskins ran theirs as the last play off the half, down 24-0 and in Giants territory, so even the play meltdown and long run back didn’t cost them any points. Here, the Colts ran it on 4th and 3 deep in their own territory, in the middle of the quarter. Using a personnel grouping and alignment that guaranteed no positive play was even possible. Against a team that won the Super Bowl by being impervious to pressure situations. The whole thing will be forever mystifying and hilarious.

  42. Considering the play in question gifted the Pats a short field (of which the Pats took advantage and scored) and the refs gifted the Pats the ball on an onside kick that was CLEARLY recovered by Indy (of which the Pats took advantage and scored), this game wasn’t as out of hand as the final score (and much of the media) suggests.

  43. This seems like an extreme overreaction to me.

    Yeah, it was terrible. I think everyone can agree on that. But to say a guy’s career is over because of one bad call seems silly to me.

    I’m an Eagles fan and watched Andy Reid make the same mistakes over and over and over again year after year for more than a decade, and he’s still making the same ones for Kansas City. I’d argue that’s more problematic than one god-awful mistake.

    Granted Pagano got gifted Andrew Luck, but here’s a guy who has done a pretty good job if you look at the win-loss record, and he’s won some playoff games. He inherited a team that was moving on from Peyton Manning and was something like 2-14 when he took over if I remember correctly.

    Over the last few weeks, I thought winning those games with a washed-up Hasselbeck when the team was on the precipice of a lost season was a pretty impressive feat of coaching too. I’m not sure how much say he has in personnel, but it has seemed like he’s been unhappy to not get reinforcements on the lines, so he’s working with what someone else who refused to address the team’s top weaknesses is giving him.

    Obviously I’m not saying he’s the second coming of Vince Lombardi or anything – and I don’t watch the Colts all that consistently – but he’s definitely got a much better track record than Jim Zorn.

  44. “But 34-27, with the way that game played out, was absolutely perfect”

    I agree. Naturally, I would have loved a blowout, but this win is just as satisfying.

    First off, anytime you can beat a decent team on the road it’s a good win.

    Secondly, I like the way the Patriots responded to adversity. It says a lot about the character of the team. It’s easy to play the game when you have the other team totally out gunned and are constantly playing with a huge lead. What really matters is how you respond to adversity and how composed you are in tight games.

    The Patriots didn’t panic after the Colts scored on their first possession or after the Pick-6. They maintained their composure and their focus. That’s important come playoff time, when the pressure is ratcheted up.

  45. After the first game of the year when Tomlin was reaching for absurd excuses for losing, Belichick talked about the Patriots being an organization that doesn’t rely on excuses. After Tomlin, Rex and his Bills blamed emotion, a league out to get them by calling so many penalties, and Rex talked about how proud he was of his team (that had a better defense under Jim Schwartz). Jerry Jones blamed injuries and Weeden’s refusal to take risks for their loss to the Patriots.

    Now, everyone connected to the Colts wants to just blame Pagano and one play that was the equivalent of a turnover. Neither were the reason the Colts lost. Pagano’s game plan, absent the trickery was not bad. The execution was an issue. They let Brady move in the pocket and Luck’s stats (that were inflated by 20 + fourth quarter throws) masked a mostly pedestrian effort. His offensive line held on every play (the refs let most of them go) once he started holding the ball too long. Brady was harder on himself and his team’s execution than the Colts were on themselves.

    The Colts are 3 – 3 and far from being done.

  46. Am I missing something? Pagano has been 11-5 two of the last three years he coached, with the third year also 11-5, except he missed much of the year due to cancer. Still, before he left the team, he had everything set in place for his temporary replacement.

    Then, this year he is 3-3. Not 0-6. 3-3, and PFT thinks he is all but fired? Unless Pagano has some huge off field issues, and he does get fired he will not have to wait long for his next job.

  47. I’m not a Colts fan, I’m a hometown Packer fan.
    I’ve posted this before. Grigson is single handedly destroying this team. His drafts and free agent signings are the problem.
    You could put Aaron Rodgers behind that O Line and he would struggle too.
    Costanzo is your top lineman and he’s not very good against a speed rusher. I saw that all night last night.

  48. tommysaint1 says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:50 AM

    Wow! wasn’t he in the AFC championship last year?
    —————————-

    Yep. They were an AFC Finalist. There’s even a banner to commemorate it.

  49. The fact that Pagano said this is his last job alarms me. If he’s perfectly happy with not coaching anyone next season, it probably means he’s thinking about other things he wants to do in life. And if that’s the case, why should we bring back a guy who would be just as happy not coaching?

  50. RELAX Calm down start breathing…don’t overreact pagano has beaten cancer and will prob have 4 division titles in a row and will prob be in the AFC Championship (at least the divisional round)…no way he gets fired if that happens and if not being to beat Tom Brady and Bill Belicheck is the measuring stick for getting fired then most coaches in the NFL would be out of a job.

  51. If this Indianapolis Football team doesn’t resign him, still think he lands a head coaching job with one of the teams that will be firing their coach. They’re going to win that division so they will be in the playoffs and who knows where it goes from there.

  52. Of course Pats fans say it’s Karma for the I wides Deflategate…they and Brady have a preverbal chip on their shoulder he and the origination created by cheating. Multiple times and different ways. Move on steady and thank god your golden boy got off on a technicality. In other words shut up and enjoy your ** championships

  53. Clearly, someone from the Pats’ organization sneaked into the Colts locker room before the game, and ADDED that play to their playbook! There’s no other explanation.

  54. I know, off topic but hear me out. Is it possible to coach players on special teams the front side of a player and the back? I mean these guys are professionals, best at what they do and they can’t identify the back of an opposing player when blocking on punt and kickoff returns? It’s infuriating watching game after game, kick return after kick return being called back because these guys can’t tell the difference apparently. Thanks for listening.

  55. Pagano is by most accounts an ok guy and an ok assistant coach. He’s over his head as a head coach plus he happens to be on a team with incompetence at the ownership and GM positions. I feel bad for him having to coach the rest of the year. At least Joe Philbin gets to play golf now.

  56. @ rhamrhoddy says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:56 AM
    Bet Grigson was laughing maniacally while sitting in his high back chair with a furless cat on his lap. ———————————————————————————————
    No way Griggson had a cat on his lap – Cats don’t like RATS!!

  57. A great QB is the biggest piece to a great team, but not the only piece. Luck could lose a chunk of his prime on a mediocre team and waiting for the front office to get its act together.

  58. No matter what your opinion is, don’t lose sight of the fact that this team has Andrew Luck. Anything short of a deep playoff run should be unacceptable to a Colts fan – each and every year.

  59. No wonder Belichick had that odd look on his face all night. Belichick may have been confused, but Pagano shouldn’t have been, yet, was.

  60. If Belichick was playing a Peyton Manning quarterbacked team do you think he would have taken his foot off the gas and ran the ball after the last Blount touchdown? No way. That tells you how much Luck concern’s Belichick.

  61. Florio,

    Thank you for letting Mr. Pagano know this information!

    Jim Irsay’s Briefcase of Cash

  62. @ smalltownqb says:
    Oct 19, 2015 1:02 PM
    No matter what your opinion is, don’t lose sight of the fact that this team has Andrew Luck. Anything short of a deep playoff run should be unacceptable to a Colts fan – each and every year. ——————————————————————————————————————————-
    I was watching one of those sports shows a few days ago & something one of the talking heads resonated (or at least gives cause to think a little more). He very casually and matter of factly said “Luck is a good but not great QB”! When you look at his performance outside of the AFC South over the last 3 yrs., then there is some rational for the statement.

  63. It’s arguable that this was the worst call of all time but it’s important to remember the Colts were still losing at that point… Mornhinweg (who was horrendous as the Eagles offensive coordinator) choosing to kick in overtime 100% cost them a game. Even if the Colts converted that 4th down they could still lose to the Pats; if the Mornhinweg had received the ball it’s much, much more likely they win. Obviously Pagano bungled their chance to take the lead but Marty truly made the Lions lose that game.

  64. “Costanzo is your top lineman and he’s not very good against a speed rusher. I saw that all night last night.”

    The standard Colt Oline tactic last night very quickly became wrap your arm around their neck and thrown them to the ground. Had they not done that Luck would have been sacked a dozen times. The Indy Oline is pathetic.

    The refs finally seemed to get sick of its and called them on it a couple times in the 2nd half and then let it go the rest of the game.

  65. So a guy who, if he goes 10-6 this year would have a career head coaching record of 45-23 (.600), gets to the playoffs for the 4th time in 4 years, wins 2 playoff games for a career post-season record of 5-4, but doesn’t make the Super Bowl, not only is he guaranteed to be fired, but he will NEVER be considered for a head coaching job again?!?!?

    But Jeff Fisher, who has a lower winning percentage and ONE more playoff appearance in TWENTY total seasons was seen as a total no-brainer for every open job?

    Because of ONE boneheaded play call? But no accountability for Ryan Grigson, whose drafts have generally been disastrous and who traded a first-round pick for Trent Richardson?

    I know, I know, the AFC South is the worst in Football. What division did Jeff Fisher coach in his last 8 years in Tennessee?

    Let’s tap the brakes a little here. Pagano has been moderately successful with moderately talented teams (other than Luck). A lot of coaches with much weaker resumes than that have gotten second chances.

  66. Unless that was Irsay’s pet play that he made Pags run against his will, I agree he should have been fired immediately, as in before New England’s offense got out on the field to take over. How embarrassing to do that in front of Bill Belichek of all people.

  67. Watching that failed special teams play was funny because the formation was illegal altogether.

    But how can his career be over in a league with teams That still recycle the likes of Jack Del Rio, Mike malarkey, Mike Shanahan, Rex Ryan, Ken Whisenhunt, and Jeff Fisher?

    Let’s not forget that there are still diversity issues that are likely to continue and his record/winning will be better than Ron Rivera at season’s end. That one play will cost him his career?

    Like he can’t go be the head of “The U” and re-establish himself?

  68. bazookajoeflacco says:Oct 19, 2015 12:06 PM

    weepingjebus says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:58 AM
    Rustygate is just the football gods paying them back for you know what. That both Pagano and Harbaugh are suddenly, almost inexplicably on red hot seats cannot be a coincidence. Normal football just doesn’t work like this, yet here we are.

    Except Harbaugh isn’t on the hot seat and isn’t going anywhere.

    —–

    at 1-5, (losses to Browns, Raiders and 49ers!) even if they say he isn’t, he is. Big sports is all about what have you done for me lately. And the lately part rarely includes last season. If the Ravens keep stumbling up the draft position table, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him gone at the end of the season.

    I think it would be the wrong move, beacuse at the end of the day, you have to replace him, and who out there is better than him, and free? No one. But sports orgs don’t look that far ahead, usually.

  69. I STILL don’t understand the point of that damned play. Does anyone? Can you point me to them?

    To Hell with the rest of it. I want to know WTF.

  70. Crazy. Wasn’t this guy just battling Leukemia not that long ago, being heralded as a fighter, a great leader, a great coach who would be back and ready to roll? Now he is having one bad season and people are calling for his head. Amazing how quickly things change.

  71. My question when I saw it was – what was Pagano even trying to accomplish with that play? An offsides penalty and a free first down? Couldn’t Andrew Luck have just worked at what Aaron Rodgers does with the snap cadence?

  72. kerzondax says:
    Oct 19, 2015 1:55 PM
    I STILL don’t understand the point of that damned play. Does anyone? Can you point me to them?
    ====

    The point of the play was obvious. It was intended to confuse the defense into either jumping off side or burning a time out. If neither of those things happened, the snapper was supposed to wait for the delay of game penalty, which would have moved the ball back further and given the punter more room to try and pin them deep.

    The snapper panicked and had a total brain fart.
    It’s very obvious from the the replay that the player supposedly taking the snap had no idea that it was coming.

    Still a very stupid play call, and very poorly executed, but it really isn’t that hard to figure out what they were TRYING to do.

  73. Every Colt player on that field at the time of that failed play should have known his exact assignment and the purpose of the play. The play never should have been executed without a complete understanding of the play’s purpose and intent. Because, apparently, there was at least one…or maybe two, who were totally clueless about what to do, the play failed miserably. Clearly this was the failure of the coach for not properly explaining the fundamentals behind the play. Therefore, it was inexcusable and never should have been called in the first place.

    If Pagano’s intent for the play was to embarrass the Patriots into making a foolish mistake, he only achieved the opposite — the play ended up being a huge embarrassment to himself, his coaches, his team, and to the team’s ownership. It will be a play that will go down in NFL infamy.

    The irony is that the Patriots didn’t have to lay 60 points (or more) on the Colts to shame or embarrass them in front of a national audience. The Colts ended up doing it to themselves.

  74. bigbenh8tr says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:44 AM
    Ignoring the fact that Pagono is out of his league, I would say this is all in all a very weak year for the NFL overall.

    Good teams:Packers, Patriots, Bengals

    Medioscre: Falcons, Jets, Panthers

    Bad teams: Everyone else

    ——————————————————

    Last year was rather weak as well. Welcome to the modern NFL – every team trending toward mediocre, referees determining outcomes of games, and plenty of injuries so we get to enjoy a bevy of second stringers. And all we have to do is pay a toll of 2.5 hours of commercials for the privilege.

  75. “Nick Saban will be in Indy very soon.”

    Has Saban lost his mind?

    The smart hire would be Josh McDaniels but I don’t see that happening either.

  76. The Pats are so good they psychologically damage their opponents. Last year Seattles brain goes to mush and they over think it and throw it, and now this play from last night. Trying so hard to be smart they look like complete fools

  77. The Ravens should hire him immediately as their defensive coordinator again. Pees’ scheme just doesn’t work. It worked, very well, under Pagano in Baltimore.

  78. People can complain about the quality of play but super bowl 49 was the best ever.

    The quarterback play has been impressive this year when you consider Brady, Rogers, Dalton, Newton, Ryan, Palmer, Big Ben, and Rivers.

    There have been some huge surprises this year. On the positive side, you have the Falcons, Bengals, Panthers and Jets playing much better than expected. On the negative side, you have the Seahawks, Cowboys, Lions, and Dolphins underwhelming.

    We all know that here will be reversals from where we are after week six.

  79. To me it looked like the Colts had some plays designed to keep up with the Patriots if it was going to be a blowout. Why on earth were they running them when they were ACTUALLY IN THE GAME!!!! Up by 4 so onside kick it???? Down by 6 in your own end so run the Snapfu???
    I just don’t get it. Just win the game straight up at that point since they hung with the Patriots all game. The Colts were beaten before they took the field.

  80. bigbenh8tr says: Oct 19, 2015 11:44 AM

    Ignoring the fact that Pagono is out of his league, I would say this is all in all a very weak year for the NFL overall.

    Good teams:Packers, Patriots, Bengals

    Medioscre: Falcons, Jets, Panthers
    ……………………
    The Jets do not belong in that category. They’ve beaten NO ONE. They will be mediocre or worse when all is said and done.

  81. Point of the play? Spread out the defense, see how they react, either run, but in this case there wasn’t a rb next to the qb or pass to an eligible receiver in the group of players spread out to the right. If all else fails, call timeout.

  82. bullcharger says:
    Oct 19, 2015 12:09 PM
    This is what the head official said. “Illegal formation. The entire right side of the line was not on the line of scrimmage”
    How is that a play that had ever been practiced before?
    ———————————–
    The Colts on the right had lined up at some weird angle to the line, you could even see a couple of Pats defenders desperately gesticulating this in part toward the judge by the Colts bench, a few seconds before the snap. And yet still no time-out called by the Colts. That same judge, from among the crowded Colts sideline, immediately threw a flag as soon as the ball was snapped. Colts had every opportunity to time-out.

    But more to the point, I think the play was illegal under the new Ravens Crybaugh rule – when the Colts shifted formation the left receiver became the center, and the center cannot be an eligible receiver, and under the new rule an eligible receiver can now only line up in an ineligible position if it is both inside the tackles and he has reported as ineligible to the officials – he didn’t do either of these things.

    So on both the execution and the rules, I agree with you – how can this be a play that was ever practiced? And yet it was…

  83. Next up is Bruce Arians. I am still stunned that he got his second Coach of the Year award for doing literally nothing to get a serviceable quarterback after Palmer and the second string qb went down in a previous season.

  84. And still, it wasn’t that play that put NE on the 30 yard line, giving them a short field and 7 points. It was the REF, who gave NE a free 7 points and another short field when it was clear NE didn’t have possession of the ball…A Colts player did.

    NE, even when they’re beatable and less than good, they’re the luckiest team in the NFL.

    NE is going undefeated this year…they’re too good, and too lucky…If Brady’s not out on a major injury NE is 19-0. Whose going to beat them?

    A Seattle fan

  85. xavier179 says:

    “Next up is Bruce Arians. I am still stunned that he got his second Coach of the Year award for doing literally nothing to get a serviceable quarterback after Palmer and the second string qb went down in a previous season”

    Ummmm… you do know that’s the General Managers job… not the Head Coach’s… don’t you?

  86. “Next up is Bruce Arians. I am still stunned that he got his second Coach of the Year award for doing literally nothing to get a serviceable quarterback after Palmer and the second string qb went down in a previous season.”

    The 2nd string QB went down late in the year after the trade deadline, and what was out there on the scrap heap was no better than what he already had.

    How, exactly, was he supposed to magically come up with a starting quality QB at that point when there is currently a QB shortage ?

  87. The fellow was never supposed to hike the ball. I don’t know if Pagano is any good but if they fire him over a single players mistake then he wasn’t the right guy to begin with and they will have trouble finding a really better replacement.

    Not a stupid play unless the center actually hikes the ball.

  88. This is my favorite line (from McAfee):

    ” The look was not there that we normally have in practice where it’s a go.”

    So in practice you told your Scout team to send all 11 guys to the overload line and left the center unguarded? Yeah, that’s gonna work.

  89. realmenwearstripes says:
    Oct 19, 2015 4:03 PM
    The refs missed a call. The Patriots should have been flagged for not counting to “five Mississippi” before going after the quarterback.

    It looked like Bolden hesitated for a 1/2 second, like he couldn’t believe they actually snapped the ball.

  90. chazthespaz says:
    Oct 19, 2015 4:11 PM
    Like the Wildcat, everybody will be running this play next week. It’s a copy cat league.


    maybe, but I think that leaping over center might be illegal next week 😉

    Also, anyone notice that they never showed a sideline view of the play where the colts defender started running before the snap and ran around the right tackle for a sack? If he wasn’t offside it was pretty darned close.

  91. skawh says:
    Oct 19, 2015 3:50 PM
    And still, it wasn’t that play that put NE on the 30 yard line, giving them a short field and 7 points. It was the REF, who gave NE a free 7 points and another short field when it was clear NE didn’t have possession of the ball
    ——

    No replay showed anything that would have changed the call. Just because a colt grabbed the ball after the play was dead doesn’t mean squat.

  92. NE, even when they’re beatable and less than good, they’re the luckiest team in the NFL.


    Broncos are pretty lucky as well, except when they play the pats

  93. I’d fire pep Hamilton first. Terrible play-calling. Why abandon the running game with Frank Gore when he was having an excellent day? Also, why have Andrew Luck throw it 15+ yards down the field most every play?

  94. Having just (paid I might add) traveled to see the Jags Texans game, it’s no insult it’s gold standard truth, may be the worst division in the last 10 hrs.

  95. 3-3 with 10 games to play.

    So far I’ve read criticism of Pagano, Gruden, Manning, and Cousins.

    Pagano was asked in his presser some stinging questions but the worse weren’t about the play.

  96. I know the AFC south is awful but how many times has a coach ever got fired for going to the playoffs in his first four years? Not only that but he went a round deeper every year except for this one barring a miracle.

    It was a horrible call but Pagano is a solid coach. I’d fire Grigson first he’s the one who gave Pagano this subpar roster.

  97. As a Pats fan I believe Pagano to be a good man and a good DC but he’s a disaster as a HC. Just as not every positional coach will make a good coordinator not every coordinator will make a good HC.

    Still that play has to be the funniest and most pathetic play I have ever seen! I still can’t believe NFL Network clowns, Erving, Faulk and Sanders, think it wasn’t Pagano’s fault. The players were not at all prepared properly to run it. It is even worse now that we know that is a play theory have had since last year.

    Who knows we may see it again, LOL!

  98. tigerlilac says:

    “Nick Saban will be in Indy very soon.”

    Has Saban lost his mind?

    The smart hire would be Josh McDaniels but I don’t see that happening either.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    McDaniels would never go to the Colts. He’s friends with Brady and besides he knows that team is a basket case and the owner is a head case. I really think he’s going to wait until Brady retires before seeking a HC job elsewhere or become BB’s replacement. Unfortunately BB is getting up there in years and might only have a couple more years left as HC.

  99. styro1 says:
    Oct 19, 2015 7:05 PM
    McDaniels would never go to the Colts. He’s friends with Brady and besides he knows that team is a basket case and the owner is a head case. I really think he’s going to wait until Brady retires before seeking a HC job elsewhere or become BB’s replacement. Unfortunately BB is getting up there in years and might only have a couple more years left as HC.
    ————————-
    BB is only 63, he could coach another 10+ years yet, but my guess would be he’ll retire when Brady does, and McDaniels then takes over. But guessing how long til Brady retires? 3 or 4 years? If he doesn’t get injured he could play til 44 (6 more yrs) the way he’s going. And what if he does a sort of Blanda and transfers to punter – Brady is a passable punter already – and plays til he’s 50….

  100. xavier179 says:
    Oct 19, 2015 3:44 PM
    Next up is Bruce Arians. I am still stunned that he got his second Coach of the Year award for doing literally nothing to get a serviceable quarterback after Palmer and the second string qb went down in a previous season.
    ——————————

    Stanton got hurt after the trade deadline. And how many “serviceable” QBs are just sitting around waiting for phone calls, especially ones who can handle Arians’ relatively complex offense? Seriously, there aren’t even 32 good starting QBs as it is. You’re going to slam a guy for not having a 3rd stringer who could win a playoff game?

    (Never mind that Arians is not the GM anyway)

  101. streetyson says:
    Oct 19, 2015 3:30 PM
    ……I think the play was illegal under the new Ravens Crybaugh rule – when the Colts shifted formation the left receiver became the center, and the center cannot be an eligible receiver, and under the new rule an eligible receiver can now only line up in an ineligible position if it is both inside the tackles and he has reported as ineligible to the officials – he didn’t do either of these things….
    ———————–
    Just to possibly correct this portion of my earlier comment: I based my original comment on a rules digest that said the center can never be an eligible receiver because he is the one person who handles the ball pre-snap. But, according to one other source I later found on swinging-gate-type trick plays, the wide receiver can snap the ball and remain eligible if he was still lined up on either end of the offensive line when he snaps, which in the Colts case he was.

  102. There is no doubt that the AFC South is a weak division but the the AFC East hasn’t exactly been a juggernaut division either. The Bills haven’t made the playoffs in forever. I can’t remember the last Dolphin playoff appearance and the Jets show up every few years for a cup of coffee. I haven’t done the research but I venture to say if you add up each divisions playoff appearances over the last 15 years or so (minus the Patriots and Colts) they are probably about even.

    So yes the AFC South is a bad division but the Patriots haven’t had it that tough either.

  103. The funtbumble and other gadget plays are the football equivalent of a get rich quick scheme.
    You can never replace hard work and obviously they di not work hard enough on that play.

  104. Sorry, but your thesis is ridiculous. He certainly hurt his chances to stay with the Colts, that I’ll give you. However, the idea that he will never get another head coaching job in the NFL because of one play is simply silly. You’re much to caught up in the moment.
    People in football understand that you sometimes run plays hoping to get get an offsides or something. Just because the players fouled up and didn’t get the delay of game, isn’t going to make GMs and owners change their impression of him. He has been very successful and his players love him. If the Colts don’t keep him, he’ll be a head coach again in the NFL within a couple of years. It’s not like there are a lot of great coaches out there.

  105. mataug says:
    Oct 19, 2015 11:49 AM
    This is Marty Mornhinweg winning the toss in true sudden-death overtime and choosing to kick, times 1,000.

    Didn’t Belichick do that to get the wind to favour his team against Peyton & the Broncos couple of years back ?

    ==
    Taking the wind isn’t the same as choosing to kick.

    The team that wins the coin toss can do one of two things: choose which side he’s defending or choose whether he wants to kick or receive the kickoff. Belichick made the former choice. Mornhinweg made the latter choice, and chose to kick.

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