Colts reportedly to release Chuck Pagano: Three things to know

Barring a miracle, Chuck Pagano won't be returning to coach the Colts in 2016. According to ESPN.com, the team plans to let Pagano go at the end of the season unless Indianapolis somehow makes the playoffs, which means Pagano has about a 0.1 percent chance to save his job. 

For the Colts to get into the playoffs, nine specific things would have to happen Sunday, including a Dolphins win over the Patriots and a Ravens win over the Bengals. 

With the Colts facing such long odds, the more likely scenario is that Pagano will be coaching his last game with Indy when the Colts host the Titans on Sunday.  

Here's three things to know about Pagano's potential departure. 

1. Pagano didn't get along with Ryan Grigson. Apparently, winning in the NFL just isn't enough anymore. Two days after Chip Kelly and his 26-21 career record got dumped by the Eagles, the same thing is about to happen to Pagano and his 40-23 career record. 

So why are the Colts getting rid of such a successful coach? You can blame general manager Ryan Grigson for that. Pagano and Grigson have been at odds almost all season. CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported back in September that there's been friction between the two men almost all year.

A lot of that friction stems from the fact that Pagano has no say over personnel and didn't even get to pick his own staff. When the Colts hired Pep Hamilton as offensive coordinator, they did it because Grigson wanted him, not Pagano. Hamilton, who was hired in 2013, was fired by the Colts in November and replaced by Rob Chudzinski, the man Pagano originally wanted for the job.  

Indy's struggles this season have only added to the tension between Pagano and Grigson. According to ESPN.com, the toxic relationship between that two men has gotten "100 times worse" than it was earlier this season.   

As for Grigson, the Colts plan to hold on to him until they hire a new head coach. La Canfora reports that "Grigson's fate will be determined by owner Jim Irsay's ability to get an A-list coach."

Why let Grigson stick around to help hire a coach when Grigson might not even make it to 2016? Only Irsay knows the answer to that question. 

Officially, Irsay says that no decisions have been made in regards to 2016, which is what you'd expect Irsay to say because Pagano hasn't officially been let go yet. 

2. Pagano had a chance to keep his job. The odd thing about Pagano's situation is that he's not technically being fired. Pagano signed a four-year deal to coach the Colts in 2012 and that deal expires after Indy plays the Titans on Sunday, so basically, Irsay's decided not to extend Pagano's contract. However, Pagano did get an extension offer earlier this year. 

Back in March, the Colts offered Pagano a one-year extension that Pagano was "insulted" by, team sources told La Canfora. Pagano expected a longer offer since he was coming off an AFC title game appearance and had led the Colts to the playoffs three times in three seasons. 

Although Pagano's been on the hot seat all season, he's made it clear this week that he'd like to stick around in Indy. "I will fight my ass off to be the coach here," Pagano said on Wednesday, via CBS4Indy.com. "I'm worried about Tennessee right now. But do I want to be the coach here? Yes."

3. Here's the miracle that could save Pagano's job. If Pagano wants to coach in Indy, he's going to need a miracle for that to happen. According to La Canfora, not only would the Colts need to make the playoffs to save Pagano's job, but they'd also need to make a run for the Super Bowl. For that Super Bowl run to happen, the Colts would need to be in the playoffs and the only way Indy's getting into the playoffs is if the following nine things happen on Sunday. 

  1. The Colts beat the Titans
  2. The Texans lose to the Jaguars
  3. The Bills beat the Jets
  4. The Dolphins beat the Patriots
  5. The Ravens beat the Bengals
  6. The Falcons beat the Saints
  7. The Raiders beat the Chiefs
  8. The Broncos beat the Chargers
  9. The Steelers beat the Browns

If Pagano's a gambling man, then he's probably well aware that those odds aren't in his favor. 

Chuck Pagano likely won't be back in Indy for the 2016 season. (USATSI)
Chuck Pagano likely won't be back in Indy for the 2016 season. (USATSI)
CBS Sports Writer

John Breech has been at CBS Sports since July 2011 and currently spends most of his time writing about the NFL. He's believed to be one of only three people in the world who thinks that Andy Dalton will... Full Bio

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