There’s something really special happening in Indianapolis.
Sitting tied for the third-best record in the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts have been a riches-to-rags-to-riches story in just a matter of a few years. From the rebuilding of Peyton Manning’s neck, to the 2-14 debacle of last year, to a sudden resurgence behind rookie quarterback Andrew Luck (Manning and Luck both have 2,404 passing yards and identical 5-3 records — seriously, go look it up), it has been quite the roller-coaster ride in Indy.
But that has nothing to do with the battle their head coach, Chuck Pagano, is fighting.
Hired in the offseason to lead a team that was very much in flux, Pagano accepted a role that was likely to end with a job termination. If you recall, the Colts were really bad last year. Putrid. But their fans remained hopeful that the “Suck for Luck” would turn them back into a contender.
In short, suck for one year, draft Andrew Luck as a franchise quarterback, and repeat the success of Peyton Manning using virtually the same blueprint.
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The Colts stumbled to a 1-2 start in the new era, and during their off-week, they learned some news that put everything in perspective: their head coach was diagnosed with leukemia.
Luckily, it was a treatable form, but Pagano was expected to be in the hospital for up to two months. The news broke on Oct. 1, a little more than a month ago. Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians took over as the interim coach.
In Pagano’s absence, the Colts have grown up a lot, winning four of their last five games, including a victory over the Green Bay Packers that came six days after they learned the harrowing news about their head coach.
After yesterday’s 23-20 win over the Miami Dolphins, Pagano surprised his players in the locker room, delivering this inspiring speech:
Get well soon, Chuck.
— Nicole Pence (@NicolePence) November 5, 2012