Rumours have been swirling recently about the possibility of Jon Gruden becoming the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. As Adam Schefter reported, Jim Irsay supposedly met with Jon Gruden and offered him the head coaching job. Gruden declined the job and has since denied the rumours. This has all happened with Chuck Pagano’s job status up in the air. Pagano is technically the head coach of the team as of this moment, but it’s obvious that the Colts are trying to look for better options. So, where does that leave Pagano? What should he do?
If I were him, I’d resign.
Why stay and play for an owner that obviously doesn’t feel you’re the best coach for the job? How many times have you heard in press conference “we feel that Coach X is the best coach for the job”? It happens all the time and it’s an owner’s way of demonstrating his confidence to the coaching staff. By going behind Pagano’s back to try and replace him, it shows he has no confidence and trust in the current coaching staff. I saw a fan on Twitter (I can’t find the tweet to link) state that what was happening was essentially like a guy going to prom with a girl who dumped him. This was a funny and true statement. If Pagano has any ounce of respect for himself, he’d say no to the girl who dumped him and walk away.
Irsay has been disrespectful to Pagano and the entire coaching staff these past few weeks. He has kept the entire building in the dark, according to many media members, which demonstrates poor leadership. It shows he’s a man without a vision and a man who doesn’t have the courage to keep his most important people in the building in the loop about his potential decisions. He has also kept the media and the fans in the dark about the decision, even sending out his current coach to talk about nothing for 15 minutes in a press conference.
Pagano would be smart to follow Mike Smith’s path. Smith was fired, so it’s slightly different, but he took a year off from coaching after his firing. Pagano should do the same. He’s made more than enough money, so he can easily afford to take the year off and on top of that, he would be able to spend time with his family, which unfortunately has evaded him and all current NFL coaches. Mike Smith then returned as a defensive coordinator after his year off and interviewed for a couple of head coaching jobs two weeks ago. Even if Pagano were to only get a defensive coordinator job, it’d still be a safer gig than the job he has in the Indianapolis right now. Why stay? The fans have essentially turned against him, and fans around the league have negative opinions on him. A resignation would probably gain him fans both in Indy and around the league. Personally, I would gain a ton of respect for Pagano if he were to walk out as I’d be a big middle finger to the ownership group.
Let’s face it, the team is dysfunctional. It goes without saying that the front office is dysfunctional, but as we’ve seen the last couple of years, the team has been dysfunctional on the field as well. Pagano’s future with the team was already pretty grim, now his future is on life support. There’s no point in staying with a company with whom you have no future with. If he stays with the team, there’s the possibility that his reputation can be further ruined and it could cost him coordinator jobs down the line. We saw this with Mike Tice ten years ago.
By resigning, Pagano would look good and look like he’s coming out on top. How’s that? It shows that he’s a coach who doesn’t take crap and won’t just sit and around and be a puppet or a lame duck. When he’s interviewing for head coaching jobs in the future, that would be viewed favourably by other owners around the league.
So Chuck, your best move involves going to Irsay’s office and handing in your resignation papers. It would be send a resounding message to your owner and to owners around the league.