Chuck Pagano Is The Last Person In The Stadium To Know His “Successful” Challenge Backfired

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Chuck Pagano joyously celebrated after improving his paltry coach’s challenge record during his Indianapolis Colts‘ 24-23 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Right up until he found out it didn’t mean a single thing other than that he’d lost a timeout—a realization he made about 25 seconds after everyone else in the stadium and watching at home.

The officials ruled that, yes, Bengals receiver Brandon LaFell had in fact fumbled before being tackled out of bounds. But Pagano missed the part about Colts cornerback Pierre Desir being out of bounds himself by the time he’d gained possession of the ball.


The head coach has 19 successful challenges on 40 attempts in his career, all at the helm of the Colts.

Indy had a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, until a Carlos Dunlap pick-6 put the Bengals ahead for good.

After starting his NFL head coaching career with three consecutive 11-5 seasons (the team was 2-2 with him on the sidelines in his first year, when he missed 12 games due to cancer treatment), Pagano went 8-8 in consecutive seasons, and now finds his team at 2-6.

He’s 4-10 in games not started by Andrew Luck.

Days before the loss to Cincy, the head coach practically conceded that he’s on the hot seat.

“We’ve dug ourselves a nice little hole,” Pagano said on Monday. “We have the opportunity to write whatever we want to write. We’ve written seven chapters of this book and we’ve got nine chapters left. It will be the tale of the tape. You’ve got a bunch of guys who love to play, love to win and are passionate about it and are grateful for it. And because you have that opportunity, and you don’t know how long you’re going to get to do this, you come to work and you prepare. … That’s what professionals do.”