For the first time since 1997-98, the Indianapolis Colts will miss the postseason in back-to-back seasons. Their loss to the Oakland Raiders on Saturday ensured that they will be sitting at home for the playoffs this year.
Last year, the Colts finished 8-8, but it was without Andrew Luck for nine games - so at least there was some sort of an excuse. This year? The Colts are 7-8, and they’ve had Luck for all but one game. So the Colts have one of the rarest pieces in football - a franchise quarterback - and are going to miss the playoffs for the second-straight year. That sounds fine, right Jim Irsay?
Actually, it’s the first time they’ll miss the playoffs in back-to-back seasons since 1997 and 1998. The 1997 season was the one that got the Colts Peyton Manning (thanks to them winding up with the top overall pick), while the 1998 season was Manning’s rookie year. Under Manning, the Colts became one of the best and most consistent teams in the NFL, and for the first couple of years of the Andrew Luck era they maintained that status. In fact, from 1999 through 2014, the Colts missed the playoffs just two times in 16 seasons (2001 and 2011). Now, they’ll miss the playoffs for the second time in two seasons.
It’s worth noting that the last time the Colts missed the postseason in back-to-back years it was with two different head coaches. Lindy Infante was the coach in 1997, and then Jim Mora was the coach in 1998. So to find the last time that a Colts coach missed the postseason in back-to-back years you’d need to go back to Ted Marchibroda, who missed the postseason in three straight years (1992-1994) on the tail end of a seven year postseason drought (that saw Ron Meyer as head coach, then Rick Venturi as interim head coach, and then Marchibroda as head coach). So Chuck Pagano is the first Colts coach in over 20 years to miss the playoffs in consecutive seasons.
Also, get this: prior to last year, the Colts had missed the playoffs four times in 18 years, and three of those instances led to the head coach being fired. Infante was fired after the 1997 season, Jim Mora survived the 1998 season but was fired after the 2001 season, and Jim Caldwell was fired after the 2011 season - yet Pagano remains the coach of this team.
We’ll see if that continues into next season or if Jim Irsay decides to make a change or not, but what we do know at this point is that the Colts will be sitting at home watching the postseason this year once again.