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Jim Irsay Could Go ‘Big Game Hunting’ for Next Colts Head Coach


According to’s Albert Breer, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay could go “big game hunting” for his next coach if it eventually comes to it:

"“And word around the campfire is that if Irsay does make a coaching change, he might be ready to go big-game hunting, which could change the structure of the organization,” writes Breer."

While Breer didn’t suggest any names, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk went ahead and threw out a couple of big name head coaching candidates based on Breer’s initial report:

"“There are plenty of other coaches who would fall into the “big-game” category, even if we set aside the men currently under contract with other teams (like Bill Belichick),” writes Florio. “Saban’s name would be at or near the top of the list because: (1) the Colts wanted to hire him in 1998; and (2) Saban recently said he’d still be coaching the Dolphins if they’d signed Drew Brees a decade ago, which many viewed as a hint that Saban would return to the NFL if the team has a franchise quarterback.”“Another intriguing possibility would be former Colts quarterback and current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, but it would be a shock if Harbaugh leaves his alma mater after only one year,” adds Florio. “Then there’s Stanford coach David Shaw, who surely would at least consider the possibility of coaching former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.”"

That being said, it seems a bit ridiculous that it has even come to this with the team having only played one game of this year’s regular season. Right now, Chuck Pagano is still the head coach of the Colts and deserves the benefit of the doubt to coach this team to its fullest potential. That should be without having to deal with feuding and firing talks reportedly coming from the organization on a weekly basis.

Sep 13, 2015; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano during the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

If the Colts were this unsatisfied with Pagano’s coaching performance, then the team shouldn’t have brought him back for this season and simply fired him during the offseason.

Quite frankly, it’s unfair that we’re entering Week 2 of this season, and there’s already reports questioning his status as the Colts head coach going forward. Even his biggest critic will acknowledge that Pagano is a stand-up individual and deserves better than this lame duck treatment.

Still, the Colts bringing in a ‘big name’ coach wouldn’t exactly be unprecedented. Irsay made a big splash in the 2002 offseason when he hired longtime Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Tony Dungy, who was considered one of the best defensive minds in the game. The 47 year old Dungy was coming off 3 straight playoff appearances with the Bucs and had been instrumental in resurrecting the once dismal Florida franchise into relevancy.

The rest is history, as Dungy replaced head coach Jim Mora and installed his ‘Tampa-2’ defensive scheme with the Colts, who were searching for some resemblance of a reliable defense. Dungy’s defensive unit eventually helped the Colts win the 2006 Super Bowl Championship. Not to mention, he instilled a lasting culture of leadership, accountability, and family along the way within the organization.

However, it doesn’t seem fair to me to get into the evaluation of potential head coaching replacements for Pagano even among the likes of talented coaching candidates such as Saban, Harbaugh, and Shaw.

Not until the season’s over or Pagano’s fired because this is still his team after all, and there’s a lot of football left to be played after only one week of action.

Next: Colts vs Jets: Behind Enemy Lines

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