It's been a whirlwind week in Indianapolis. Coming off the Colts' bye-week, as the team was preparing for the Green Bay Packers, coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia and has been hospitalized at the IU Simon Cancer Center.
The Colts had a football game to play Sunday, but the team made sure that Pagano was not far away. Indianapolis hung a large banner near the endzone reading "#CHUCKSTRONG" while several players made personal tributes to their ill coach.
Perhaps the most touching moment came after the Colts' improbable victory ove the Packers. Owner Jim Irsay along with general manager Ryan Grigson drove to the hospital and personally gave the game ball to Pagano. Irsay spoke with the Indianapolis Star afterwards, and he said Sunday might have been the most memorable day for him in his four decades in football.
"In my 40 years in this business, I've never been prouder of a team and how they battled back," Irsay told the Star. "I've been in a lot of winning locker rooms, Super Bowl locker rooms, but I've never had an experience like this. People talk about money, what the team is worth, those kinds of things, but this was priceless. Absolutely priceless."
For a man who has won a Super Bowl, worked with one of the best quarterbacks ever and overseen the massive turnaround of his entire organization, Sunday's emotional win and visit with Pagano was something else.
"You know, you see things in the movie, but oftentimes, life isn't as beautiful as they make it out to be," Irsay said. "But this went way past that. This was the stuff of movies. This was beautiful."