Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano knows how to face adversity. When the cancer survivor was diagnosed with leukemia last September his reaction was one of defiance. “It never entered my mind that I wouldn’t beat it. I never once thought, ‘This is it.”
Thankfully for Pagano, his starting quarterback Andrew Luck has that same never quit mentality. With his team down 28 points in the third quarter to the Kansas City Chiefs in yesterday’s Wild Card game, Pagano never lost faith. “And we said we’re going to get back in this thing one play at a time. It looked bleak at times, but our guys, they never stopped playing. One thing we talked about this week is you can measure a lot of things at the Combine and all those type of things, but you can’t measure what’s inside a man. You can’t measure his heart. And these guys got more heart and grit than anybody I’ve ever been around, just the simple fact that they stuck to the process and never doubted.”
The Colts wound up defeating the Chiefs 45-44. The win was the second largest comeback in the history of the NFL. Next week’s game against the Patriots in New England is going to be an even tougher assignment for a young Colts team with a suspect defense and a second year quarterback. The opening Vegas line has the Patriots as a 7.5 point favorite. But Pagano isn’t worried about a let down after his team’s miraculous comeback. “Human nature is tough to fight, but they won’t get complacent. We signed up for one thing and one thing only when we all got together in Anderson in training camp, and we all know what that is. They’ll enjoy it for a few hours tonight and they’ll be in there first thing in the morning getting treatment, getting a lift, taking care of their bodies and watching tape.”
— Scott Swan (@ScottWTHR) January 5, 2014
Kickoff for the Patriots/Colts game is set for 8:15 Saturday night. The two teams did not face each other this season. It will be a Tom Brady versus Andrew Luck matchup, the seasoned veteran against the aggressive second year standout. On the coaching side of things, this is only Pagano’s second year as a head coach. He will face off against Bill Belichick who has been the head coach for three Super Bowl winning New England teams and is currently the longest tenured active head coach in the NFL.
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