INDIANAPOLIS – If Jim Irsay so desired, this week at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center could have been all about a new era.
The allure of coaching Andrew Luck makes one ponder that candidates would have had Irsay on speed dial if he decided to not renew the contract of head coach Chuck Pagano.
On Monday, instead of breaking out his checkbook for some lucrative 10-figure salary and a new leader, Irsay reflected and believed the foundation already in place was ready to re-start its ascent.
When Irsay made the decision in January of 2012 to hire a head coach and general manager with zero experience in those respective roles, he knew there would be necessary learning on the job.
A trio of 11-win seasons and further playoff progression mirrored any growing pains that still had to be experienced.
It's why Jim Irsay gathered Chuck Pagano and Ryan Grigson in the bowels of Gillette Stadium after last year's 45-7 AFC Championship loss and wanted them to remember the feeling.
"I told them, 'Look around, take it in, learn from this. This is what's going to make us better,'" Irsay said last January to his head coach and GM.
"These guys started out never having been a head coach and general manager before and they've accomplished a lot more, a lot more than most would have ever accomplished in their first four years. We want more."
Monday was also a day of education for Pagano and Grigson.
The two, who are now under contract through the 2019 season, went back to the vision they wanted in 2012.
They talked about what went wrong in 2015, the changes that must be implemented and the plans that are needed in Year Five together.
"We're trying to achieve something great and sometimes you have to go through rough times to be able to build and have something special staring at the face in the end," Grigson said on Monday.
"What we went through this year and that adversity, I believe from Andrew Luck, to myself, to coach Pagano, that adversity is what's going to springboard us to greatness."
A healthy Luck is at the forefront of the Colts success in 2016, with Rob Chudzinski also now at the offensive helm in a full-time role.
Changes next season could still come on the coaching staff (Pagano didn't rule them out in an interview with NFL Network on Monday).
Irsay also mentioned the need to get a bit younger, with potentially half of the team's returning starters reaching their 30s.
When the Colts Owner looked back on his final decision Monday, he saw a duo that has learned through experiences (good and bad), highlighted by postseason runs.
"We're excited about the future," Irsay said repeatedly on Monday night.
"I'm just really happy that we're able to use the continuity, to use our experience and to go forward. You can make a big splash and all that sort of thing, but this, trust me, is best for our franchise. It really is, and I'm excited about being able to get it done."