INDIANAPOLIS—One week after the Colts upset the Green Bay Packers in his honor, leukemia-stricken head coach Chuck Pagano was reportedly annoyed after they lost 35-9 to the New York Jets on Sunday, expressing frustration over his team failing to win a second game for him.
“That win last week was one of the proudest moments of my coaching career,” a visibly weakened Pagano said from his bed at Indiana University’s Simon Cancer Center. “But, I mean, was that it? One game? It’s not like my cancer went away after one unexpectedly strong showing. It would have been really inspiring the second time.”
“This is cancer we’re talking about,” he added. “Shouldn’t they be trying to win five or six games for me? It’s not like I’m out with the flu.”
Pagano, who confirmed he watched the game from his hospital room, expressed disappointment that his team wasn’t playing harder for him, and said that by the way they were running around the field, it seemed as if they had assumed that only one win for a cancer-stricken coach was enough. Medical personnel attending Pagano said he was dismayed that his sickness had not galvanized players to win “just one more measly game.”
“Mr. Pagano kept saying he kind of thought his cancer might inspire his team to go on a four- or five-game winning streak that got more and more uplifting with every game,” said nurse Theresa Hernandez, urging reporters to give the Colts coach some time to rest because he’s been very morose this week. “I can’t say I blame him. I mean, your coach is battling a life-threatening disease, and you go out and throw two picks and get sacked four times? C’mon, [Andrew] Luck, try and tell me he’s in your thoughts and prayers with a performance like that.”
Hospital officials said Pagano is receiving the best care possible from some of the nation’s finest oncologists, adding that it’s “more than we can say he is receiving from a defensive line that’s supposed to be the strength of this Colts team.”
Overall, doctors said, the prognosis for Pagano remains relatively positive, but the coach’s mood turned grim while pondering how the Colts defense could allow 252 rushing yards against the Jets at a time when his “white blood cell count is through the roof.”
“The doctors say I’m responding well to treatments, but what I’m not responding well to is Shonn fucking Greene looking like a Pro Bowler against my defense,” said Pagano, pausing to calm himself down and regain his strength. “A little chemo I can handle just fine, but Mark Sanchez posting a 109 QB rating? You want to talk about things that make me sick, well, there you go.”
“It was Mark fucking Sanchez, for Christ sake,” Pagano added.
Pagano has stated on numerous occasions that the Green Bay win only encouraged him to fight harder and work his way back to coaching, but just one week later, much of that progress has reportedly been undone, leaving Pagano to question what he’s fighting for. With 1-5 Cleveland coming into town, the Colts have a chance to send their coach a message that hopefully gets him eating and communicating more than he has been during the past week.
“I don’t know,” Pagano said while staring out his hospital window, showing signs of dejection on his face. “Those guys just rolled over so easily against an opponent that everybody said was beatable. Did they forget that I have cancer or something? Is that why they played with such lack of heart?”
“It just gets you thinking, I guess,” Pagano added. “Maybe that’s easier.”