INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis coach Chuck Pagano has won the George Halas Award from the Professional Football Writers Association for overcoming adversity.
Early in his first season as Colts coach, Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia and took a leave of absence. The team began winning under offensive coordinator Bruce Arians while Pagano underwent treatment for 12 weeks. Pagano worked from his hospital bed on game plans and analyzing practices even as he was recovering from the disease.
After a Week 9 victory against Miami that he attended, Pagano gave an emotional postgame speech to the team. Indianapolis kept on winning and he returned to coach the final regular-season game, a victory over Houston that gave the Colts an 11-5 record.
The team began a CHUCKSTRONG campaign, with proceeds going toward leukemia research.