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Will Sunday Be The Final Game For Chuck Pagano As Colts Head Coach?

It’s the looming question as the Colts (3-12) get ready for their 2017 season finale. Will Sunday be Chuck Pagano’s final game as Colts head coach?

Joe Robbins | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLIS – If past history means anything, Sunday will be Chuck Pagano’s last game as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts.

Pagano’s Colts head into Week 17 having lost 6 straight games.

The last 4 times the Colts endured a losing streak of at least 6 games in a season, the coach lost his job (2011-Jim Caldwell, 1997-Lindy Infante, 1991-Ron Meyer/Rick Venturi, 1986-Rod Dowhower).

For Jim Irsay and Chris Ballard they will have to fire Pagano, if they deem such a move is necessary, with the head coach under contract through the 2019 season.

In examining the evidence for or against Pagano, it’s much easier to make the latter case.

While the loss of Andrew Luck for large chunks of the last 3 seasons has played a major reason for the Colts’ recent struggles, there are other issues not pertaining directly to Luck:

  • In Pagano’s 6 years, the defensive-minded head coach has led the Colts to the following defensive rankings: 20th, 26th, 11th, 26th, 30th, 30th.
  • The Colts have not been able to develop young defensive talent, which Pagano had some say in evaluating and drafting. Names like OLB-Bjoern Werner, CB-D’Joun Smith and S-T.J. Green all have been greatly underachieving high draft picks.
  • The Colts’ 3 wins this season came against 3 of the worst teams in the NFL (Cleveland, San Francisco and Houston). The 3 quarterbacks in those games have combined to win just 1 game this season and have a record of 1-27 in 2017.
  • For those wanting to play the ‘Luck card’ for the reason why the Colts are 3-12 this season, that’s understandable. But don’t tell that to a Minnesota Vikings (12-3) team in line for a bye in the NFC despite backup quarterback Case Keenum starting for 13 games and losing starting rookie running back Dalvin Cook a month into the season.
  • The days of Luck bailing out the Colts in one-possession games are long gone. After going 19-4 (.826) in one-possession games form 2012-14, the Colts are just 16-15 (.516) in such contests since.


Any time a perennial winning franchise misses the playoffs in multiple seasons for the first time in more than 20 years, changes are inevitable.

The general manger was let go last year.

The head coach could very well be next.

The Colts worked out kickers on Tuesday, preparing in case Adam Vinatieri can’t go in Week Eight. Who are the options to kick on Sunday afternoon?
For weeks, Frank Reich has been stressing the need for more support in the run game. That came in a big, big way during Sunday’s dominant victory over the Bills.
Adam Vinatieri hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2009, but his status for Week Eight is in jeopardy after an MRI revealed a right groin injury for the Hall of Fame kicker.
Let’s take a look at the good and the bad from the Colts thrashing the Bills, 37-5, in Week Seven.
What should not be lost in the tremendous rushing performance on Sunday, was a very efficient afternoon for Andrew Luck and the passing game.