Colts coach Chuck Pagano was understandably disappointed in the outcome of Sunday’s playoff game against the Ravens, but he said after the game that he was not disappointed in his team. Quite the contrary.
“They went out and did what everybody said they couldn’t do,’’ Pagano said. “They refused to live in circumstance. They chose to live in vision. Just watching them doing battle today – we didn’t do enough out there today, we didn’t make enough plays. We had opportunities, but just watching this team fight, fight, week in and week out to accomplish what they have accomplished, I told them ‘When you walk of here, hold your head high and be very, very proud of the way you played this game, the way you represented this organization.’”
Pagano’s story is well known. He was diagnosed with leukemia just weeks into his first head coaching job and had to turn the team over to assistant coach Bruce Arians for most of the season. He battled his way into remission and returned to an emotional welcome as the Colts were wrapping up a successful wild card run.
Their first playoff game, of course, juxtapositioned Pagano’s inspirational story with the pending retirement of Ray Lewis and a few other emotional subplots, but he refused to connect those dots after his team was unable to complete enough drives to stay close to the Ravens at the end.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to put everything aside – the players, the coaches – you’ve got a job to do,’’ Pagano said. “We’ve got a game to play. You’ve got to put all that aside and go out there and try to execute and play to the level that you need to play at in order to win a playoff game and win on the road. We’ve been through a lot…We just didn’t make the play we had opportunities to make in all three phases, and they did.
“We’re not going to make any excuses. We never had. There are no pity parties, but these guys have overcome a lot and done nothing but great things this year. And, again, I’m really, really proud of this football team and this coaching staff and this whole organization.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun