Pagano-Arians exchange awkward post-game embrace
Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano must have been faced by the same dilemma as he closed in the steps to meet Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, after the Colts lost in a 40-11 blowout this Sunday. Pagno wasn’t looking particularly cheerful when he met his friend Arians after the game, and so he went in for a simple handshake.
But Arians wasn’t settling for an handshake from his old pal, after his side scored a big win against the Colts, and instead swiftly pulled Pagano in for a hug. The awkwardness of the moment is clearly captured in press photos of the pre-and post-game meeting between both coaches.
Last season, Arians served as Pagano’s offensive coordinator and took over as interim coach when Pagano was stricken with leukemia. The Colts went 9-3 under Arians, to land a spot in the playoffs. Their success propelled him into coaching prominence so that Arians was able to secure a head coaching job in Arizona this year.
Now, Arians is doing a similar job with the Cardinals (7-4), who haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2009-10 postseason.
"The emotions of this game were gone way before kickoff," Arians said. "I saw a lot of friends, a lot of dear guys on that team. But once the whistle blows, it's just you and your brother in the backyard."
Sunday’s game led to their fourth straight win this season, and the Cardinals have to be happy with the results, while hoping that it will serve as a start to prove their playoffs worthiness.
Earlier this week, Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald said that if the team were worthy of a spot in the playoffs, they will be able to beat the Colts at home this week. The Cardinals nailed that and did more, leading off with an explosive first half that saw them score from both sides of the ball.
"I think this was a respect game," Palmer said. "I don't think we're well-respected throughout the league and that's not anybody's fault but our own.”
"But I think we're better than people think and when you beat a good team, and a team that's beat good teams, it ups your respect among your peers and throughout the league."
Fitzgerald had five passes for 52 yards, which helped him reach over 11,000 career yards receiving, becoming the youngest player in NFL history to reach that total.