On the heels of a disastrous 8-8 season, many expected the Indianapolis Colts to part ways with head coach Chuck Pagano. Instead, the Colts did the exact opposite and announced a four-year extension.
Pagano’s squad was ravaged by injuries all season – most notably to star quarterback Andrew Luck. The former Stanford Cardinal missed 9 of his team’s 16 games, forcing the Colts to go with a combination of Matt Hasselbeck, Charlie Whitehurst, Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley.
The results were putrid (as expected), making it all the more surprising that Pagano will remain in Indianapolis. However, reports have surfaced suggesting the decision to retain Pagano did not come without drama.
Indianapolis was reportedly communicating with New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton about his interest in switching teams while simultaneously working on a contract extension with Pagano. Payton is known within league circles as an offensive guru, and would be a logical fit to pair alongside Luck.
Following the Saints’ disappointing season, Payton has become a hot commodity for teams with head coaching vacancies. While he has made it clear that he would like to remain in New Orleans with quarterback Drew Brees, it hasn’t stopped teams like the Colts, 49ers and Eagles from gauging his availability.
Payton still has two years left on his contract with the Saints, which likely provided enough of a roadblock for the Colts to stick with Pagano. Pagano can breathe a sigh of relief with some newfound job stability, but expectations will be sky high next year.
If the Colts don’t build on 2014’s AFC Championship Game appearance in the next two years, it’s not hard to guess who Pagano’s replacement will be.