Before Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots, Chuck Pagano was hoping his defense would help lead the Ravens to Indianapolis, the site of this year’s Super Bowl. Well, he was in Indy this week, but it wasn’t to prepare for the big showdown on Feb. 5.
Pagano, the former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator, was introduced as the new head coach of the Indianapolis Colts on Thursday, taking on the role after the team fired Jim Caldwell last week after a disappointing 2-14 season without Peyton Manning.
Pagano only spent one year as the defensive coordinator for the Ravens, but that’s all it took for the 28-year veteran coach to land the job.
“Words can’t describe the emotions that I’m going through right now and the feelings,” he said, according to the Associated Press.”Coming off probably the most devastating loss that I’ve ever been a part of in the AFC championship game and to go in that locker room and see those faces and we all know how hard it is to get to that stage and to see the tears. It’s an all-time low, and the last thing I ever expected came across my table and now I sit here at an all-time high.”
But it won’t be easy. The Colts also have a new general manager and the difficult task of deciding on Manning’s future with the organization. Manning, 35, missed the entire season after undergoing neck surgery. Without Manning, the team struggled and didn’t win a game until Week 15 when they beat Tennessee 27-13.
The Colts also own the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, which may be used to select talented Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
According to the Indy Star, the Colts looked at eight candidates, but ownership tapped Pagano for the difficult job of leading a team in transition.
Pagano was the Ravens secondary coach before taking over as defensive coordinator.
“First and foremost, I want to get to know these players,” he said, according to the publication. “I want to know what they’re about…I want to build a relationship.”