The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans 30-24 on Sunday to finish the 2015 season 8-8. After the game, all any fans or media members could talk about was the future of head coach Chuck Pagano, who very likely coached his final game.
Pagano didn't want to talk about the uncertainty, instead opting to praise his players and coaches and talk about how happy he is for them. He opted to talk about how the Colts, after starting 3-5, beating Denver, and then losing Andrew Luck, didn't unravel like some other teams or like they could have. He opted to talk about how Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley, signed off the street this week, helped lead the Colts to a win. He declined to get into his relationship with Ryan Grigson, instead simply saying that everybody is pulling the same direction (toward trying to win a Super Bowl).
When asked whether he has had any discussions with owner Jim Irsay yet about the future, Chuck Pagano said, "nope." He added that, "Mr. Irsay and I will get together tomorrow at some time and have a discussion and go from there. That's what I know right now."
Jim Irsay was seen leaving the stadium by several members of the media seeking comment, but Irsay said "not right now" when asked if he had time to talk. It is expected that Irsay will inform Pagano tomorrow that the coach will not be coming back with the Colts, which would end a four-year run with the franchise in which Pagano led the Colts to a 41-23 record (.641), three playoff appearances, a 3-3 playoff record, and two AFC South titles.
"I have zero regrets," Pagano said after Sunday's game. "I take no days for granted. I never have, and certainly now I never do. I'm grateful. I'm grateful for today, I'm grateful for this football team, I'm grateful for this opportunity that was given to me by Mr. Irsay. I mean, that guy, there was a time, obviously, that I didn't even know if I was going to be around, but he stood by me and he had my back through that whole thing, and for that I'm forever in debt to Mr. Irsay and his family. I'm sure at some point we'll look back on everything, and again I'm reflecting right now. I just look at the injuries, and you're going to have injuries, but when you have it at the quarterback position and you lose your starting quarterback and you have a guy come in and, again, go 5-3 and have two guys come in off the street and in three days have those guys go win a football game for you, it's just a phenomenal, phenomenal job done. So right now, I have no regrets."
Pagano has kept a tremendous attitude throughout this incredibly trying season, and even though it seems likely that he won't be coaching the Colts next season, he's thankful for the opportunity that he has had to be the team's head coach and has been classy all around about the way he approaches it.
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love this job," Pagano said. "I love Indianapolis. I love this community. I love the fans. I think back to 2012, they didn't even know me, and the way they embraced me and my family and helped me through that journey, that's Hoosier hospitality at it's finest. This is a great place. Me and my wife are very grateful and we've had a great four years here and we're going to have a great time this afternoon and tonight, and then when tomorrow comes, we'll deal with tomorrow. But we're going to enjoy this win right now."
Tonight, Chuck Pagano and the Colts will enjoy a 30-24 note that ended a disappointing season on a high note. Tomorrow? He'll meet with Jim Irsay to discuss his future with the Colts.