Perhaps the most stunning story of the NFL offseason so far came just one day after the regular season ended. On Monday, January 4, Colts owner Jim Irsay was expected to fire head coach Chuck Pagano and perhaps general manager Ryan Grigson, but instead he gave both men extensions.
It was a crazy saga that took the most unexpected twist late on that January night, but Jim Irsay continues to believe that it was the right move for his franchise, a sentiment that he says was echoed by others throughout the league at last week's owners meetings.
"I can't tell you how many guys come up to me at the meeting here unsolicited and just say, 'hey, you made the right choice,'" Irsay said, according to Colts.com. "Or the few guys that said, 'hey, if you didn't keep those guys we would have talked to them on our list because we're looking to make a change.' So I think it's a great thing that we have that continuity. And those guys really do understand the horseshoe and understand the expectations, and they want to be there someday like we were with Peyton [Manning] and having that press conference and talking about a great, great era, a championship franchise and that sort of thing. And I know how much those guys want it and how much they're ready to commit and continue to commit to go get it. So I really think we have the right people in place."
Before going any further, let's just hope that those saying Irsay made the right decision aren't the Colts' rivals saying so for their own team's success...
Anyway, just because other people around the league think that Irsay made the right decision doesn't automatically mean that he did. That will only be determined by how the Colts do moving forward and how Pagano and Grigson are able to work together.
Throughout their four years in Indianapolis so far, Pagano and Grigson have gone 41-23 (.641) immediately after a rebuild and have three playoff appearances and two division titles. In 2015, however, the team took a step back as Andrew Luck missed nine games due to injury and the Colts missed the playoffs with an 8-8 record. That, plus tension between Pagano and Grigson, made it incredibly likely at least one would be gone. If that had happened, there indeed were likely to be teams interested, as Irsay said he was told at the owners meetings. Ultimately, however, Irsay decided to keep both men around, and while we won't know for sure how it works out until we see it, Irsay says he has plenty of support throughout the league for making the decision that he did.