After each of the last two seasons in which the Indianapolis Colts failed to make the playoffs, massive changes were made. Following the 2001 season, the Colts fired head coach Jim Mora. Following the 2011 season, the Colts fired president Bill Polian, general manager Chris Polian, and head coach Jim Caldwell. Now, following the 2015 season, it's very likely that at least head coach Chuck Pagano will be gone, with general manager Ryan Grigson possibly out as well.
One thing seems to be pretty clear: changes will be coming, and when they do, it will be owner Jim Irsay overseeing them. That may not seem like any surprise at all (nor should it), but it does have implications. The Indianapolis Star's Stephen Holder reported Sunday night that Irsay could hire the new head coach, while ESPN's Mike Wells also noted that Irsay will be very involved in the decision.
Obviously Pagano won't survive unless there's a miracle. Word on street is Irsay himself might hire the new coach even if Grigson stays.
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) December 21, 2015
Jim Irsay will be VERY involved in picking the next coach if/when that happens. https://t.co/qwY2kAo3db
— Mike Wells (@MikeWellsNFL) December 22, 2015
Ok, so, again - there's nothing surprising about the owner being involved in hiring the head coach. Nothing, especially when it's Jim Irsay we're talking about. He is very involved with his franchise and has been in and around the league for pretty much his entire life. But what is worth noting about these statements isn't the fact that Irsay will be involved but rather that it seems he will make the decision even if Ryan Grigson is still around.
What that could mean, then, is that if Grigson stays (and I in no way think that is a given), he could wind up with a coach who was hand-picked by the owner instead of him. And it also could mean that Grigson's role with the organization is shrinking, especially depending on who the head coach is that is hired. If Irsay wants to make a big splash and hire an established, respected coach, that would likely involve handing over personnel control. That obviously falls under Grigson's job description, so we could see him reassigned to a different area or relegated to a smaller role.
This is all, of course, assuming that Grigson would stick around in the first place. And, considering the fact that the Colts are currently 6-8 in a year that many - including their owner - thought could be a Super Bowl year, Grigson could very well be fired too. Even if he isn't, however, it sounds like he could see his influence dwindle. And it also sounds like, even if Grigson is still around, the next head coach might not even be his call.