Tuesday, January 5, 2016


I don't know where Chip Kelly is this morning. But I do know where his eyes should have been.

That would be Indianapolis, Indiana.

Which is where the word came down late last night that Chuck Pagano, whom everyone figured was as over as Tone Loc, had instead hammered out a new four-year deal to continue coaching the Indianapolis Colts. This after an outpouring of support from his players that those around the locker room after Sunday's game regarded as both overwhelming and pointed.

It's an article of faith that the NFL is a player's league as much as it is a coach's or owner's league, something these imperial college coaches like Kelly have always  been slow to understand. It's why Kelly's pounding the bricks looking for a new job right now -- and why Chuck Pagano is not.

That Colts owner Jim Irsay was influenced by all those #chuckstay tweets coming from his workforce (and, yes, his fan base) seems an easy connecting of the dots here, as is the fact that he's currently mulling a contract extension  for the cornerstone of his franchise, Andrew Luck. Irsay hitched his wagon to Luck the moment he showed Peyton Manning the road; anything that threatened to hamstring that deal no doubt would have his complete attention.

So you know he heard his quarterback loud and clear Sunday when Luck said this: "I can say (Pagano's) given his heart and soul every day since I've been here. I feel like I've grown so much as a player and a person. Through this season which has been trying and disappointing, he's always been sort of a bastion of good coaching."

Italics mine.  But italics Irsay surely heard, too.

He faced the next thing to an insurrection if he gave Pagano the gate and hung onto GM Ryan Grigson, who is apparently as unpopular in the Colts locker room as Pagano is popular. And so Irsay did the only thing he could to stave it off  by extending both their deals, given that he's apparently as tied to Grigson as he is to Luck.

(And, yes, you have to wonder why,  given how badly Grigson's bungled his end of things. But then there always will be things about Irsay that make you wonder).

In any case, they're  both back. And I suspect the confab among the three of them yesterday included Pagano demanding Grigson stay the hell out of his airspace. With the players solidly behind him, he had some leverage at last.

All of this, of course, is pure speculation. But it's also an educated guess.

And Chip Kelly?

I'm thinking he should have been paying attention. And educating himself a little.

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