Jim Irsay has made it no secret: he wants and expects multiple Super Bowls in the Andrew Luck era.
“I’ve said it before – we’re into plural Lombardis. That’s what our goal is,” he reiterated at a recent Town Hall meeting. “And I’ll be damned if we don’t go out and get them.”
Irsay’s desire and dedication toward bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Indianapolis is admirable, and he certainly has the quarterback in place to make it happen. But the head coach is another question entirely, and there’s one stat in particular that should make Irsay think twice about keeping Pagano around with Luck for the long-term.
Over the weekend, Football Outsiders’ Scott Kacsmar tweeted out a very interesting stat that revealed that every head coach/starting quarterback combo won the Super Bowl within their first five years together or didn’t win it at all.
Put another way, what this stat is saying is that there has never been a head coach and starting quarterback together for more than five years before they won their first Super Bowl together. Of course, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady just won the Super Bowl in their 17th year together, but their first championship came in year two (and Brady’s first as a starter). Or, as another example, Peyton Manning’s first Super Bowl came in the ninth year of his career, but it was only the fifth year under head coach Tony Dungy.
This is of course very relevant to the Colts, because Chuck Pagano and Andrew Luck are entering year six together and obviously haven’t yet won a Super Bowl. That means that, statistically speaking, the odds are very low that they will win the championship together - which would in turn be doing something no coach/QB combo has done.
This makes a lot of sense, as most coaches don’t even get five years to work with the same quarterback if things aren’t working out. So it’s probably just teams like the Colts - who have been playoff contenders and who have a patient owner - that even got into this territory in the first place, though it’s still not too encouraging. Either the Colts are going to be the first team to have their coach and QB team up for their first Super Bowl after year five, or they’ll join the number of coach/QB combos that didn’t win the title.
Jim Irsay might want to take the Han Solo approach of, “never tell me the odds,” but at some point it needs to be realized that perhaps it’s not working with the Pagnao and Luck pairing. And in that conversation, it’s been pretty clear that it’s not the quarterback’s fault. I’m not suggesting that this one stat makes it an easy decision to conclude that the Colts need to move on from Pagano, but at the very least it’s not encouraging to those people who hope that Pagano and Luck will reach the promised land together - people like Jim Irsay.