NFL Hot Seat: 5 coaches that must win Week 1

Mandatory Credit: Joe Robbins-Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Joe Robbins-Getty Images /
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INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JANUARY 01: Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts reacts to an officials call during the first half of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN – JANUARY 01: Head coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts reacts to an officials call during the first half of a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 1, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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Chuck Pagano

HC, Colts

Each year, when Week 1 arrives, there’s already an obvious front runner to be fired at some point in the year. Chuck Pagano has the distinction of being that guy two years running.

Last year he was bailed out — again — by questions over Andrew Luck’s health. Is it fair it fire a head coach who hasn’t received a fair shake from the football gods?

Pagano has swung the pendulum all the way to a ‘hard yes’, and his days in Indianapolis are numbered.

The Colts should have ripped the band aid off clean when they fired general manager Ryan Grigson in the offseason. Instead, Pagano returns under a new GM which usually always means the last of the old guard is soon going to be gone. What makes this comical is that almost everyone knows that even with a healthy Andrew Luck this year, Pagano is a lame duck coach. Nothing short of a Super Bowl win would likely save his job, as the situation is so eroded in Indy that change is needed. He’s had seven years to figure things out, and the clock on Luck is ticking louder than we all thought it might. The franchise quarterback is already in danger of wearing the label of this generation’s Dan Fouts when he was supposed to be the second coming of Peyton Manning. The Colts won the Super Bowl in Manning’s ninth year, and if things don’t change to the most extreme degree, Pagano won’t be coaching Luck beyond Year 7.

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It’s fitting cruelty that Pagano’s last year in Indy will be marred by the intermittent existence of star quarterback. That’s how his legacy in Indy will, unfortunately, be remembered.