Chuck Pagano was all smiles as he sat behind the microphone late on Monday night at an impromptu press conference called to announce his four-year extension with the Colts.
In a stunning turn of events, the Colts - who entering the day were expected to fire Pagano and perhaps general manager Ryan Grigson - instead made the announcement at 9:40 p.m. ET that the head coach had agreed to an extension. Pagano is under contract for four more years in Indianapolis, marking one of the most insane and unpredictable Black Mondays in recent memory.
For weeks, Pagano has been talking like a guy who knew what was coming. He sounded like a guy who knew that he was approaching the end in Indianapolis, and it seemed incredibly clear that it would happen. But when he came out of the meeting with Jim Irsay on Monday, he had agreed to an extension instead. As you can imagine, he was thrilled.
Pagano was in a great mood during his press conference, even leading with a tremendous one-liner to start things off. After Irsay and Grigson spoke praising Pagano, the coach then took the mic and said, "no injuries to report." It got the media room laughing and was an incredibly well-placed joke.
"It was a great day," Pagano, all smiles, continued. "I've had a lot of great days in my life, but none better than today. This is absolutely the best day of my life. I'm grateful and I'm thankful to Mr. Irsay and his family for the opportunity that he's given me. Jim had my back back in 2012, I talked about it after the ball game, he stood behind me, he believed in me, he never gave up on me, he got me and my family through a trying time, and for that, again, I can never repay that debt.
"Tina and I, we love this city," Pagano continued. "We love this community. We love this organization. And we love this football team. Words can't describe how I feel right now. It's a great, great day. And I owe it all to Jim for believing in me and believing in Ryan and our vision together. From day one, our mission has been the same. Four years ago, we started coming to this building with the same goal and the same vision and the same mindset, and we'll continue to do that day in and day out. We've never wavered from that, and that vision and that mission and that goal has never changed."
Of course, for a guy who is married, has children, and beat cancer, saying that this is the best day of his life is surely hyperbole and an exaggeration. But the point is received: Pagano is absolutely thrilled to be returning to coach the Colts and to continue the pursuit of the Lombardi trophy in Indy. He realizes that the team didn't reach their ultimate goal of the Super Bowl in 2015, but they will continue to work toward that goal everyday.
When the day began, it seemed certain that Chuck Pagano would be on the way out and that another coach would be brought in to pursue that Super Bowl in Indianapolis. But now, at the end of Black Monday, Chuck Pagano is under contract for four more seasons and is ready to chase that championship once again. It's clear he couldn't be happier about it.