A week ago today, everybody was awaiting the move that seemed inevitable: the Colts' firing of head coach Chuck Pagano. It was widely believed that the position would come open and therefore a number of candidates were already being mentioned. Then, however, the Colts extended Pagano's contract instead of firing him, not only keeping him around in Indianapolis but also taking one of the hottest jobs off the market before it even officially became available.
It was expected that Jim Irsay would have gone after a big-name coach to replace Pagano if things didn't work out, and considering the fact that he has Andrew Luck at quarterback, he might have been successful in that pursuit. This morning, the MMQB's Peter King mentioned a little nugget in his Monday Morning Quarterback about a coach who might really have been interested: Jon Gruden. In the "Ten Things I Think I Think" section, King wrote this:
I think the word on the coaching circuit is that Jon Gruden would have listened, very earnestly, if the Indianapolis job came open.
Personally, I have a hard time believing that Gruden would give up a very well-paying job announcing football for ESPN to return to the rigors of coaching, but if he were to have any interest in returning, it would make sense why it would be in order to coach Andrew Luck. It's no secret to those who watch the Colts when they play on Monday Night Football that Gruden is a huge fan of Luck, and so if the Colts called Gruden it makes sense why he might be very intrigued.
Gruden was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders (1998-2001) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2002-2008) during his head coaching career after serving as the offensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles before that (1995-1997). During Gruden's 11 seasons as a head coach, he compiled a 95-81 record (.540) while going 5-4 in the playoffs, including a Super Bowl win in his first season with the Buccaneers in 2002 following a massive trade to get him from the Raiders. Gruden's teams won five division titles and made five playoff appearances during his eleven seasons as a head coach.
Ultimately, however, it doesn't really matter whether Gruden was interested in the Colts' job or not because Chuck Pagano will remain the team's head coach moving forward. But it's still an interesting note from King this morning and one worth mentioning.