INDIANAPOLIS – Colts coach Chuck Pagano has kept it loose all week.
He’s been cracking jokes, encouraging laughter and trying to put football in perspective. He does not want today’s playoff game to change the routine, so he is imploring the Colts to make this business as usual – even with the Chiefs coming to town for a wild-card game.
“It’s no time to pressure up. It’s no time to get outside of anything you’ve done at this point,” Pagano said. “You come in, you meet, you have a walkthrough, you practice well and then you play well. Don’t do anything different. Just understand what’s at stake. It is one-and-done. That doesn’t mean go play tight and those types of things and put any added pressure on yourself. You do that and you’re not going to play well.”
Pagano has seen what happens when teams play tight. So have Colts fans, more times than they care to count.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid and new general manager John Dorsey followed the same plan Pagano and Ryan Grigson used to rebuild the Colts – new coach, new GM, new quarterback, new roster. Kansas City, like the Colts, went from 2-14 to 11-5 and back to the playoffs with nearly two dozen first- or second-year guys.
“I know my first time, I acted like a rookie. I was excited and fumbled the ball twice,” AFC rushing champ Jamaal Charles of K.C. said. “Now I’m going in my second time and seeing other people, becoming a vet, 27 years old, I really want this, I really want to go far.”