INDIANAPOLIS — So now what?
The Indianapolis Colts on Sunday announced that they have parted ways with head coach Chuck Pagano, who just wrapped up his sixth season at the helm of the franchise.
It certainly wasn't an easy decision for the organization and its owner, Jim Irsay, who has time and time again expressed his respect and admiration for the way in which Pagano has handled himself with class on and off the field.
Sunday's announcement had no effect on those sentiments.
"Chuck Pagano provided Colts fans with many exciting wins and memories as head coach of the Colts," Irsay said in a team press release. "…We are thankful for Chuck's contributions to our franchise and community and we wish him, Tina and the entire Pagano family nothing but the best moving forward."
So with the organization now in search of new team leadership for the first time since January 2012, here are some of the basics to keep in mind over the coming days and weeks:
• As of early Sunday evening, the Colts are one of two teams searching for a new head coach (the other being the New York Giants). But several more teams could be added to that list in the coming hours and days, leading to what many league experts believe will be one of the more competitive coaching markets in recent memory.
• All NFL teams must follow the league's Rooney Rule, which requires them to interview at least one minority candidate.
• If a team is going to hire a current coordinator or assistant coach from another NFL team, it cannot execute or announce that new contract until the conclusion of that coach's current team's season.
• Not all current NFL coordinators and position coaches are able to be immediately interviewed for the Colts' head coach opening. Only those on staffs whose teams have been eliminated from postseason play can be interviewed, unless…
• If a team has a first-round bye in this year's playoffs, their coaches can be interviewed this week through the conclusion of this Sunday's NFL's Wild Card round games. This would include coaches on the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings.
• Those coaches on teams that won their Wild Card playoff matchups can be interviewed for the Colts' opening from the conclusion of their first-round game until the conclusion of the Divisional round games on Sunday, Jan. 14.
• Those coaches whose teams are playing in the Super Bowl who have already conducted interviews for a different team's head coaching job can have a second interview with that team no later than the Sunday before the Super Bowl (so, Jan. 28).