The Detroit Lions are in the playoffs, but there were still questions about head coach Jim Caldwell’s job status. So the Lions came out and told the media that Caldwell would, in fact, be back for the 2017 season.
It was as simple as that. Some fans still disagreed with the decision, but people didn’t spend all week wondering whether the coach would be back. And that’s with a playoff team. It was a very respectable way for the Lions to handle things, and it was the most fair thing they could do for Caldwell, for their team, for their fans, and for the media.
Contrast that with what we’ve gotten from the Colts, a team that’s missed the playoffs in the last two years. Nothing. We’ve gotten nothing. Black Monday came and went, and all we knew was that Pagano hoped and thought he’d be back before he actually met with Irsay. On Wednesday, Robert Mathis indicated that the players were still waiting to hear whether Pagano would actually be back. And then today, reports came out that Irsay is keeping things together.
I’m willing to believe that he spent most of this week looking at better options, and ultimately concluded that Grigson and Pagano are the best he’s going to do. There have been various reports about Peyton Manning, and other rumblings too. If keeping these guys was the decision all along, it’s hard to describe how irresponsible Irsay has been. So I’m willing to believe that he wasn’t truly convinced of his decision and was looking into options. But either way, it sounds like he’s decided to bring them back. So now he could learn from the Lions.
Nobody’s suggesting Irsay needs to hold a press conference to say that nothing is changing - though perhaps that would help him explain himself and his reasoning to fans that are pissed off at the decision. But something as simple as a tweet or a team release that expresses Irsay’s confidence in the men. Something like, “I am confident in Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano leading our franchise as we move forward into this very important offseason.” Even something as simple as that would be nice, but so far, nothing.
It sounds like we shouldn’t expect anything from Irsay today, either.
Hearing from the team that it's only up to Irsay, if he'd like to comment on the #Colts' future. Even then, it might only be on Twitter.— Dave Furst (@DaveFurst) January 6, 2017
So it’s up to Irsay to release something, and he surely knows the perception surrounding him and the team right now regarding the silence. So if he doesn’t come out and say something, that’s an irresponsible decision, and it’s also not fair to Grigson and Pagano. I disagree with Irsay’s decison to keep them around, but I think most can also agree that they deserve fair treatment from the owner. And it’s not fair to them for Irsay to stay completely silent. They need the owner’s public support to put this to rest for another year, as so far the silence speaks volumes.
But maybe expecting Jim Irsay and this franchise to do the right thing, especially when it relates to the fanbase, is too much to ask. “Colts Nation” is in the Colts Ring of Honor, but this decision has shown that Irsay really doesn’t care about what the fans think. The fans have made themselves abundantly clear, from tweets to boos to empty seats, so for Irsay to make no changes is essentially a silent middle finger to his fanbase. So for him to not even say anything about it? Yeah, sorry, but maybe Irsay doesn’t really care about his fans.
The right thing to do would be to follow the Lions’ model. Despite being in the playoffs they heard the rumblings about their coach, so they made it clear that Jim Caldwell would be back. The Colts? So far, it’s been complete silence. And if a decision has truly been made, then that’s a terrible look.