This week ESPN has conducted a poll for the most overrated person in the NFL and not surprisingly it was Rex Ryan. This is interesting but not too interesting. I think a more important question is who is the most underrated and after careful consideration I believe it is Indianapolis Colts Interim Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator Bruce Arians.
The Indianapolis Colts have had quite a year. They have lost their star quarterback, dismantled a team and their head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with cancer. Pagano is currently receiving treatment for leukaemia, and although is a talisman for the Colts is not involved with the day-to-day management of the team. That responsibility now lies with Arians.
Before this season Arians was the Offensive Coordinator of the Pittsburgh Steelers before being unceremoniously 'retired' and replaced by 'Super Beard' Todd Haley. He is now in the position of being both head coach, offensive coordinator and counsellor for his team - an unfamiliar position of ultimate responsibility. He seems to be a natural.
Arians has kept this team together without overshadowing Pagano, who by the video above still is the beating heart of this team. Arians has no NFL head coaching experience and is tasked with moulding a team that was ripped apart after the departure of Peyton Manning. Nobody expected the Colts to be 5-3 at the halfway stage of the season, especially after the devastating news of Pagano's illness.
Just look at the players who were released by the Colts this off-season -
To me that is almost a who's who of the Indianapolis Colts. Building a team in the draft that can replace all of those players was no small task - to take those new players and integrate them so seamlessly, especially on offense, is incredible. This is a team that went 2-14 last year. The best news for Colts fans is that they have a fantastic run of games to end the season and could finish 10-6 - which I believe could be enough for a wild card spot in a tumultuous and substandard AFC.
If they get to the post-season who knows what happens then? Are the Colts the best team? Definitely not, but let me pose this question to you -
Is there any team in the NFL that has more of a reason to succeed? Arians is a great coach. He and Chuck Pagano are giving them the tools and the reason to succeed.
Watch out for the Indianapolis Colts.