Ample reasons for Arians to stay with Colts

January 7, 2013
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After Sunday’s loss to Baltimore, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay said he didn’t think a bigger bundle of cash would keep Bruce Arians from leaving his job as Colts offensive coordinator to take an NFL head coaching job, if a suitable one were offered.

But that doesn’t mean Irsay shouldn’t try to entice Arians to stay.

Because as nice a guy as Chuck Pagano is, and as inspirational as his story is, he’s a defensive guy. And defensive guys who become head coaches needs lots of help on the offensive side of the ball. Pagano hasn’t proved he can win without Arians. On the other hand, Arians has proved he can get more out of the Colts’ young offensive squad than anyone dreamed imaginable.

Tony Dungy, another defensive-minded head coach, never won a ring until he was paired with offensive guru Tom Moore—and of course Peyton Manning.

Sure, the Colts have one of the best up-and-coming quarterbacks in Andrew Luck, but without a keen offensive mind to shepherd his development, things could go sideways.

Yes, Clyde Christensen has plenty of NFL experience and could step in for Arians for the long haul if needed. But there’s a reason Pagano chose Arians over Christensen to be his offensive coordinator.

And while some have argued that Arians’ absence on Sunday had little to do with the Colts’ inability to get a touchdown against the Ravens, it can’t make Irsay feel good about the long-term prognosis without Arians.

This is not the Baltimore defense that won the Super Bowl in 2001. Something tells me Arians would have found a way to coax the offense to score more than nine points against an aging Ravens D.

So despite what Irsay says, I expect him to throw a pile of cash at Arians that not only will assure that he’s rich for a very long time but to let him know just how much he’s loved by Colts management.

It’s clear why Irsay and the Colts want to keep Arians. But why would Arians ever consider staying? First, Irsay truly is a rare breed among NFL owners. Not only does he make a serious commitment to winning, but I also think he cares about his players and coaches on a level that is rare among professional sports team owners. It may come off as corny from time to time, but most of the players and coaches know it’s genuine.

And if that’s not enough, there’s Luck. Every military leader desires firepower. Nothing supplies an NFL offense with firepower like an all-pro quarterback. They make you look real smart and your job a whole lot more fun. Just look how smart John Elway and John Fox look in Denver with Manning under center.

The Colts have already granted the Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles permission to interview Arians, and the San Diego Chargers and Cleveland Browns also are interested. Sure, the Bears have a solid quarterback in Jay Cutler and the Chargers have past Pro Bowler Philip Rivers, but neither has Luck’s on-field potential. The Eagles and Browns are a mess at quarterback. Any one of these moves could make Arians the next guy spun off the merciless NFL coaching carousel.

Guys like Luck are in extremely short supply in the NFL. Arians, like most NFL coaches, is a confident guy. He’s also smart enough to know what he has in Luck.

Irsay is a class act, so he won’t stand in Arians’ way of climbing to the top coaching rung if he so desires. And at 60, Arians doesn’t have many more opportunities to realize his head coaching dream.

But a mile-high pile of cash and strong show of love from Irsay might be enough to give him pause. And that might help Arians realize the opportunity that lies before him in Indianapolis.

To be remembered as the guy who morphed Luck from a lump of potential into an NFL Hall of Famer and to hoist the Lombardi Trophy alongside his pal Pagano are rare opportunities indeed.

  • Anything But Class
    I have to strongly disagree with writer of story that Irsey is Class. Perhaps you would like to interview Ken Dilger, Marshall Faulk or perhaps the Goose not to mention Manning. No, Irsey is anything but a class act. As an owner, he was the only NFL owner who had the nerve and gall to speak out and protest another portential owner of a NFL franchise, the only one!!! He's pathetic.
    • arians-please stay
      agree arians should stay-don't know that Pagano is 100%, especially after watching sunday game. good luck to both of them whatever choices are made. great year
    • Ask manning ?
      Hey Peyton, I know Irsay has given you well over a 100,000,000 dollars, but don't you hate his ass?
    • Kido
      I'm guessing Kido is a Limbaugh dittohead who needs to learn how to spell "Irsay." My wife had a young relative who passed away suddenly, and it was mentioned only in passing in the obit that he was a big Colts fan. We arrived at the funeral home to find a large floral arrangement with the card stating, "Our deepest sympathies -- Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts." There was a story in the IndyStar not too long ago that told a similar tale. In my mind, Irsay does run a class organization.
    • Irsay / Arians
      Just because he hasn't kept every superstar that put on a Colts uniform doesn't mean Irsay isn't a good guy. Unless you - Kido - know something, I have never heard Faulk, Dilger, Tony or 18 say a bad thing about Jimmy. With BA here, we would have one of the greatest decades a team could have. I hope they keep him and he doesn't get caught up in the head coaching mess where few survive.
    • Get Real!
      Get real KIDO. Do you forget that this is still a business and this business requires constant change and upgrading to be successful. Then there's that pesky salary cap that really throws wrench into the mix. Funny thing is many fans expect players to be kept because there is an emotional attachment. Even funnier that the players will leave for more money...Where's the loyalty? Why dont they play for free. Indy loves you!!! This is a business on both sides and they all understand that. Irsay walks that fine line better than most. We are very lucky here in Indy that we are not cleveland...
    • Agree with Anthony
      I have had the opportunity to sit and talk to Jim Irsay and I found him to be a well grounded, spiritual man who says what he believes. Seeing him with the coaches and players makes me proud that he is the Colts owner.
    • Why are we talking about Irsay?
      I thought this post was about Bruce Arians, not an indictment against Jim Irsay. In any event, I think Jim is OK, and I think he will do whatever he can to retain BA. Without him, Chuck Pagano could sink, much like Tony Dungy would have sank without Tom Moore.

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