Before the 2015 NFL season started, The MMQB released a list of the 100 most influential people for the upcoming season. Now, after the season has ended,they have updated the list to more accurately reflect what happened.
On the initial list, the Colts had two people make the cut, as quarterback Andrew Luck was number 12 and general manager Ryan Grigson was number 60. The team then had a very rough 2015 campaign in which they went a disappointing 8-8 and missed the playoffs, while Luck missed nine games due to injury. Despite that, however, The MMQB actually lists three Colts on the postseason list.
Quarterback Andrew Luck came in at number 38:
Luck was supposed to be primed for an MVP season, making the Colts Super Bowl contenders. Instead he struggled mightily early, presumably playing through injury, before sitting out the season's final two months with a lacerated kidney and an abdominal injury. A young franchise quarterback who tends to hold on to the ball, plus a shaky offensive line, turned out to be a disastrous recipe as the Colts missed the playoffs for the first time in Luck's career.
Head coach Chuck Pagano was 56th:
Pagano's seat was seemingly the hottest all season. In the final year of his contract, the Colts, Super Bowl hopefuls, fell to also-ran status and lost the AFC South to the Texans. He was a defensive-minded coach of a team that wasn't very good defensively, and there was that play, but stunningly, Pagano received a four-year extension after the season, as Indy chose continuity.
Lastly, general manager Ryan Grigson is ranked 83rd:
The stunner of the offseason was that both Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano were retained after a disastrous 2015. Grigson has been bold in building around Andrew Luck, most notably trading a 2014 first-rounder for Trent Richardson, spending a '15 first-rounder on Phillip Dorsett despite a long-term deal for T.Y. Hilton and the acquisition of Andre Johnson, and largely ignoring a shaky offensive line and flawed defense along the way. It all came crashing down in 2015, as Luck couldn't stay in the lineup and the Colts couldn't keep pace with the Texans in the AFC South.
None of these inclusions are surprising. The MMQB could have opted to list owner Jim Irsay instead of Pagano and/or Grigson, but it's understandable why they didn't and probably the right move. Regardless, it's clear that the situation in Indianapolis absolutely warrants mention on this list. For much of the season it seemed almost certain that Pagano would be fired following the season (some even speculated it would be before that), and the biggest question became whether Grigson would be fired as well. As the season went on, it became more and more clear. As The MMQB notes, Pagano had one of the hottest - if not the hottest - seats of any coach all season. The coach talked like a man who knew what was coming for the last few weeks of the season, and the emotional scene in the hours following the team's regular season finale made it clear that everyone - from Pagano to the coaches to the players - thought that the change was inevitable. Then, stunningly, after a long day of meetings, the Colts announced on Monday, January 4, that they were keeping Pagano and Grigson around and had given both extensions.
It was a crazy season in Indianapolis, and the coaching situation was at the forefront all year long - making it a very deserved mention on this top 100 list of influential people in 2015. Another factor in the craziness, however, was Andrew Luck. A preseason MVP favorite, Luck struggled mightily in the games that he did play in - likely impacted by injury - and in fact missed nine games due to injures (two due to a shoulder and seven due to a lacerated kidney and torn abdominal muscle). If we could identify the biggest factor in the Colts' disappointing 8-8 finish, it would be Andrew Luck - both his on-field struggles and his injuries. Because of that, Luck too is worthy of a spot on this list.
I have no argument with the inclusion of Andrew Luck, Chuck Pagano, and Ryan Grigson on this post-season list of the most influential people in the 2015 NFL season; now the hope moving forward is that the three will be included on future lists like this one for much more positive reasons.