It's officially over for Chuck Pagano in Indianapolis. The precipitous and painful slide that began with a 38-point thumping in the AFC Championship Game just three years ago, a team then gifted with a young and healthy phenom at quarterback, primed to duel with the mighty Patriots atop the AFC for years to come, culminated Sunday following the Indianapolis Colts' 22-13 season-ending victory over the Houston Texans. Owner Jim Irsay has fired Pagano after six seasons as head coach, a league source told IndyStar, the last three of which failed to produce a playoff appearance. It’s the longest such streak for the Colts since the early 1990s. The move, long expected, arrives almost two years to the day Irsay stunningly handed Pagano and former general manager Ryan Grigson extensions through the 2019 season. Just 24 months later, neither are with the team. The Colts’ sharp regression is the reason why. Pagano was emotional and reflective following Sunday's season finale, effectively giving a farewell speech to his players after the game. He ran off the field with tears in his eyes, and a few minutes later, owner Jim Irsay handed Pagano the game ball after the victory. "We fell short and I fell short," he said. "We didn’t meet our goals and I’m sorry that we haven’t hoisted that (Lombardi) trophy yet." Following his postgame press conference, Pagano and wife Tina entered a room inside Lucas Oil Stadium with Irsay, vice chair/owner Carlie Irsay-Gordon, chief operating officer Pete Ward and chief legal counsel Dan Emerson.
Colts fire Chuck Pagano after 6 seasons
Indianapolis Star | Dec 31