INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson spent 13 years in NFL personnel circles with St. Louis and Philadelphia before joining Indianapolis almost a year ago.
Rams and Eagles teams with which Grigson was associated made the playoffs nine times, a very, very good batting average, so to speak, in a competitive league.
He is one-for-one with Indianapolis.
Grigson was named the Colts’ general manager on January 11 of this year meaning that if the Colts were able to capture their first playoff game, they would be in competition on the anniversary of his hiring.
It would be the perfect present for a personnel chief who witnessed a true accomplishment when the Colts qualified for the playoffs with a 20-13 victory last Sunday at Kansas City.
“It was a great and glorious feeling in that locker room this past Sunday, no doubt,” said Grigson. “I couldn’t be more proud of this entire organization, the coaches, the players.”
Any blueprint Grigson may have had for his first season was torn up in late September when Head Coach Chuck Pagano was forced to leave for 13 games to battle leukemia.
Into the void stepped interim leader Bruce Arians. What accompanied Arians was a cause for which to play. What Pagano had instilled was the professional integrity and no-quit mindset with which to do so. The Colts went 9-3 and with Pagano back, the focus is intense on continuing the fight.
“Despite everyone outside our building slotting us for the cellar this year, B.A. (Bruce Arians) made that bold statement right when Chuck was diagnosed and proclaimed that we would extend the season so Chuck could return,” said Grigson. “Everyone followed that call to duty and “manned up” so to speak for our fallen leader.
“This team pulled together like none I’ve ever seen and brought that goal to fruition but at the same time, I know that no one is satisfied.”
Seven times this year, the Colts have rallied with a last-period or overtime comeback victory, tying the NFL seasonal record.
Indianapolis has competed most of the season with fewer than 20 players who were with the team previously. In clinching the AFC’s fifth seed last Sunday, 13 performers on injured reserve. Almost 70 players have had game action this year, and 42 players have started.
In reaching 10-5, the Colts joined the 2008 Dolphins as the only teams to win 10 or more games after losing 14 or more the previous season. Indianapolis joined that Miami team and the 1982 Patriots on the list of teams to make the playoffs one year after going 2-14 or worse.
The Colts have posted an eight-game turnaround. Two other times (1975, 1992) the team has had one-season eight-game improvements, and those are tied for the seventh-best one-year jumps in NFL history.
Indianapolis has become only the fourth team to win as many as 10 games after a season of two or fewer victories.
“With Chuck back now, we will all be reinvigorated by his presence, and a new chapter is about to be written,” said Grigson. “This team, like him, has no quit in them. We keep our eyes fixed on the vision. We have proven this year that no matter who’s playing or who’s not, when a team plays lights out for a full four quarters good things tend to happen. That is our identity and one I couldn’t be prouder of.
“We have taken on the personality of our head coach. Through the course of the game, no matter how much adversity we may encounter, we have each other’s backs. We don’t ever stop to feel sorry for ourselves or live in those circumstances. We keep fighting our tails off with the continuous hopes of coming out victorious, just like Chuck has. We are a family.”