On Monday, some 24 hours after his football team was blanked on the scoreboard for the first time in the regular season since the Clinton administration, in the process yielding more sacks (10!) than in any of the 500-some games the Indianapolis Colts have played since arriving in this city 33 years ago, Chuck Pagano spun it forward. It’s what he does. The man preaches hope, sells hope, lives hope, even if the hope is running out.

“Yeah, we’ve dug ourselves a nice little hole,” Pagano said, referring to his team’s 2-5 start. “We have the opportunity to write whatever we want to write. We’ve written seven chapters of this book, and we’ve got nine chapters left. And depending on what we do with those nine chapters, it’ll be the tale of the tape.”

Pagano can spin reality all he wants. This book won’t end well.

But that doesn’t mean the news conferences won’t be fun. Pagano meets with the media four times a week. His emotions run the gamut. He can be understandably vague, over-the-top inspirational, appropriately human, surprisingly candid, purposely deceitful and — believe it or not — flat-out-funny. Sunday’s game in Cincinnati is Pagano’s 88th as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. There have certainly been some ups and downs.