Bruce Arians took over as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts for Chuck Pagano, and has instantly inserted himself into Coach of the Year consideration and potentially earned himself a starting job as early as the 2013 NFL season.
Arians was promoted from offensive coordinator to interim head coach while Pagano undergoes treatment for leukemia. Despite the adverse circumstances, Arians has led the Colts to a 4-1 record since taking over.
Indianapolis has a young roster that the franchise is currently rebuilding. Andrew Luck has been excellent as a rookie quarterback in a rough situation—both emotionally and with the talent around him. Arians has to be given much of the credit for putting the rookie in a position to succeed.
The Colts currently rack up 391 yards per game on offense, which puts Arians' offense at No. 4 in the league in that category. While the defense has been mediocre at best, Arians and Luck have managed to turn the Colts into a potential playoff contender with a 5-3 record.
What Arians has been able to do with the situation in Indianapolis is admirable, and it has catapulted him into the realm of head coaching candidates for next season.
Arians has coached in the NFL since 1998, acting as a positional coach and offensive coordinator. Most recently he acted as the offensive coordinator for the Pittsburgh Steelers before retiring at the end of the 2011 season.
While Arians is 60 years old and has already flirted with retirement before, this may be the closest he has ever come to gaining a head coaching position. If the Colts continue at this current pace there may be a position in the league for him somewhere this offseason should he want it.
The situation Arians inherited has been handled perfectly as he acts as a head coach, but it still sounds as if Arians isn't interested in a full-time coaching gig. Arians was asked how he was handling the promotion, and he responded (h/t ProFootballTalk):
“This isn’t a head coaching job for me right now,” Arians said, via the Associated Press. “It’s just an expanded role as coordinator until Chuck comes back.”
Given the delicate circumstances, and given that Arians has survived his own bout with cancer, he handled the situation perfectly. He was the right man for the job, and the Colts organization is benefiting as a result.
The Colts are on the fast track to a playoff appearance with a rookie quarterback in a dire situation under the watchful eye of Arians.
Arians himself has to be considered for a Coach of the Year Award at this point. Depending on how the situation pans out in Indianapolis, he could end up as the head coach of the Colts in 2013. If not, he will surely have some opportunities elsewhere.
One way or another, we're buying Bruce Arians as a head coach in 2013. He acts as if he would shy away from an opportunity, but now that he's had a successful first taste at the position after coaching at various levels since 1975, he'll answer the call when an NFL franchise comes calling this offseason.