Chuck Pagano has been the Colts head coach for less than a year. However, in a short time he has made a major impact on the franchise and also the people of Central Indiana. When Pagano was diagnosed with Leukemia in late September, fans rallied behind the #Chuckstrong motto and showed their support in a variety of ways.
On the eve of the Colts Wildcard Playoff game, Pagano wrote a message thanking the fans. The following letter was published in the Indianapolis Star late Saturday night and will appear in their print editions Sunday:
To the people of Indiana:
When I accepted the job as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts last January, it was a dream come true for me and my family. I knew I was coming to an organization with a great owner and a great winning tradition. I knew Indy had great fans, but I might have underestimated just how great. Being new to the community I never expected the outpouring of support I received from Colts fans throughout the state and country. The love and support you showed my family and me gave me a tremendous amount of comfort and peace. Every letter, success story, prayer and act of kindness made this process a whole lot easier. I am also fortunate to have had some of the best doctors and nurses in the country right here in Indiana to care for me.
I am proud to serve as the head coach of your Colts. I take great pride in knowing that the team has persevered this season because you have shown them the same support you have shown my family and me. You have had a huge impact on my recovery and our season and I look forward to accomplishing great things here for a long, long time.
On behalf of the Pagano family, thank you for helping me heal and for showing our country that we do have the best fans in the entire world; fans whose love for their coaches and players extends way beyond the football field.
The Colts play Baltimore Sunday at 1:00 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs to take on Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos next Saturday.