Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has overcome a lot more in life than a bad football team so perhaps it shouldn’t be all that surprising that he unleashed some perspective after his team’s ugly late-game collapse on Sunday night in Houston.
Indianapolis went from first to worst in the dismal AFC South in a matter of three minutes and some change, blowing a 14-point lead late in regulation before losing it in overtime to a Texans team with a struggling quarterback in Brock Osweiler.
Despite a setback that might skew even Patty Positive into Debbie Downer, however, Pagano was back at work Monday with the sunny disposition of a coach that actually won the day before.
“I’m encouraged,” Pagano said of his 2-4 team which is now in the cellar of perhaps the worst division in football. “You guys probably think I’m crazy, but I’m encouraged.”
Plenty agreed with Pagano’s self-assessment, although crazy may be a bit harsh. Most fans were annoyed by his spin and found him a tad delusional considering what’s going on with the Colts, a team which is basically a one-man band with Andrew Luck jumping from lead vocals to the drums with everything else
Most fans were annoyed by his spin and found him a tad delusional considering what’s going on with the Colts, a team which is basically a one-man band with Andrew Luck jumping from lead vocals to the drums with everything else in between.
“I think we’re a three-quarter team,” Pagano claimed. “We gotta figure out a way to become a four-quarter team.”
The Colts were actually a three-and-three-quarters team in South Texas on Sunday but it was hard to ascertain of that was actually Indy playing well or the pathetic play of Osweiler, with the ultimate answer likely lying somewhere between Column A and Column B.
The problem is that on most weeks, the Colts are going to see far superior quarterback play so if they can’t lock down a game when the signal caller is stinking up the joint, how many wins could possibly be left on the schedule?
That said, you have to realize head coaches in the NFL wear a lot of hats, starting with Xs and Os and personnel evaluation before moving into things like game management.
Those are just the high-profile aspects of the job, however, and mentors have to have quite a few under-the-radar skills, things like managing personalities and setting the tone for the entire organization.
As a leukemia survivor, Pagano offers a unique perspective even in the most competitive of professions, namely the stark realization that things could always be worse.
So Pagano isn’t crazy to put on his therapist hat and embrace the positive and try to spin things in the best way possible.
After all, what’s the alternative? Drop the head, kick the dirt and curse the position you’re in?
No fan would want a head coach like that and at least the Indianapolis fan base can take solace in the fact that hey have a leader that will always move forward and try to make the best of what he has.
Whether the “you know what” in Indianapolis can be turned into chicken salad is unlikely but it won’t be because of a lack of effort.
“We got a group of guys and coaches who care,” Pagano said. “They’ll fight. There’s no pity parties in this building. There’s no pity parties in football.”
-John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen — Also catch John each week during the NFL season ESPN South Jersey, ESPN Southwest Florida, ESPN Lexington, KDWN in Las Vegas, and check @JFMcMullen for John’s upcoming appearances on SB Nation Radio, FOX Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio as well as dozens of local radio stations across North America.