It was a bittersweet end for the Indianapolis Colts and their fans, as the team rose to a 30-24 win over the Tennessee Titans. Despite the victory, Indystar notes that the Colts will miss the 2015 Playoffs. In this light, you can see it as a situation where Indianapolis won the battle but ultimately lost the war.
— Colts Report (@colts_fanly) January 3, 2016
Because the Indianapolis Colts finished the season 8-8, they failed to clinch the AFC South. That honor went to he Houston Texans, who won their game and went up 9-7. Needless to say, the Colt’s standing wasn’t good enough to qualify for a Wild Card position. Despite the disappointing end to the season, Colts franchise members have spoken out in interviews and statements.
Head coach Chuck Pagano gave an emotional speech after the Colts vs. Titans game, one the official Colts Twitter shared with the internet.
— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) January 3, 2016
Pagano also made some rather cryptic statements about his future.
Pagano: “I have zero regrets. Take no days for granted.”
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) January 3, 2016
It becomes clear that despite ending with a win, it’s still possible that Chuck won’t be back at Indianapolis next season. IndyStar has outright claimed that Sunday’s game was very likely his last as head coach. It’s interesting since the three seasons prior to this one went comparatively better.
Chuck Pagano’s first 4 seasons in Indianapolis: 11-5 (wild card) 11-5 (divisional round) 11-5 (AFC Championship Game) 8-8 (miss playoffs)
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) January 3, 2016
That aside, an ambitious franchise looking to grow post-Peyton Manning cannot afford to settle for failing to make the playoffs — or making them, but failing to go very far. After four seasons, the Colts may be tired of giving Pagano chances. In a situation like this, speculation is inevitable. Who could take over for Chuck at the Colts if that meeting doesn’t look good?
Well, one name that has been bounced around quite a bit recently was that of Chip Kelly. Kelly being released by Philadelphia Eagles was the big sports story of the week. Some observers believe there’s a chance Chip could return to the college level. Others feel he’ll likely be seeking a new head coach position in the NFL.
Aside from heading to the Tennessee Titans — where he’d be reunited with Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota — there are some who believe he could either come out to Indianapolis, or even wind up in Cleveland at the Browns.
Wow, incredible array of opinions on where Chip Kelly lands including Colts, Browns, Texas A&M, Jags, LSU somehow… Got any more?
— Andrew Perloff (@andrewperloff) December 30, 2015
Changing administrative positions aside, there is also some worry about how player change-ups in the off-season could impact the Colts. AL asserts that Indianapolis is still “haunted” by the decision to trade Trent Richardson or rather, the continued interference by general manager Ryan Grigson.
“Among the examples cited of Grigson’s interference: His insistence Pagano play former Alabama star Trent Richardson.”
“Grigson, who traded a first-round pick to the Cleveland Browns for running back Trent Richardson, continued to insist that Richardson play, and even start, despite the running back’s weight issues and obvious lack of production,” Kravitz wrote. “According to sources, Grigson was concerned with creating the narrative that it was a good trade, something it clearly was not.”
In addition to questionable trades from seasons past, there are concerns about holding on to valuable players going forward. One team that exists as a haunting example of losing too many starters and their coach would be the San Francisco 49ers. That’s definitely a route that the Colts cannot afford to go.
— SFGate (@SFGate) January 3, 2016
Regardless of whether or not a final win is enough to keep Chuck Pagano at Indianapolis, it will be an interesting off-season for the Colts. Their loss of the top spot in what has been a weak division overall all, means building must happen. However, there doesn’t seem to be any clear picture of how the Colts can move forward towards achieving anything meaningful in the post season regardless of whether Pagano stays or goes.
[Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images]