Late in the season Mike Murphy took over the defensive reigns and his players responded. Playing fast and aggressive, the defense improved under his leadership and as a result fans felt he would permanently occupy the defensive coordinator post. Instead the Colts are changing directions and Murphy is retiring after a long succesful career:
Murphy always has a laugh, but he was a master at his profession. The Colts seldom spent high draft choices on linebackers after 2000 and never paid much to keep them, with the exception of Gary Brackett. Murphy took what he had and made it work, and when the club turned to him after firing defensive coordinator Larry Coyer on Nov. 29, he felt obligated to his employers, his peers and his players.
He assumed the role. He was a difference-maker. The Colts allowed 29 points while beating Tennessee and Houston, the lone highlights of a 2-14 season.
Of course, it wasn't all like that. Murphy used to joke that there are 100 U.S. senators but only 32 NFL linebacker coaches. He could add that none of the former averaged 111/2 victories a regular season like the Colts did from 2001-10, and none will leave with a Super Bowl ring.