It is most interesting how the NFL season has played out.

Especially as it relates to Bruce Arians, Andy Reid, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Philadelphia Eagles and the Indianapolis Colts.

I am delighted beyond words at the success Arians had this year as offensive coordinator and the fill-in head coach for the Colts, when head coach Chuck Pagano was forced to take a medical leave of absence three games into the season after being diagnosed with leukemia.

Yes, this is the same Arians -- a reminder: he is a graduate of York High -- who was fired by the Steelers after last season because their offense wasn't good enough.

He landed on his feet with the Colts, took under his wing a rookie quarterback by the name of Andrew Luck, and helped guide them to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth. This is the same Colts team that won just two games the season before.

Coach of the Year perhaps? Well, if not, at least he's on the short list for consideration.

Arians doesn't get all the credit, of course. But he's entitled to his fair share, considering what was tossed into his lap without a moment's notice and his response to it -- as interim head coach the Colts were 9-3.

Funny how he was good enough to orchestrate the Colts' offense, now headed to the playoffs with a rookie quarterback, but was not good enough to direct the Steelers' offense a year before with a veteran quarterback.

Geez, Steelers fans, maybe it wasn't Arians' fault after all.

Especially when one considers that the Steelers finished this season at 8-8, not even close to the playoffs, and having to scramble like crazy in the end just to manage that. And they did it with a new offensive coordinator and the same veteran quarterback they had the season before.


And now Arians' name is being tossed about for head coaching jobs from one end of the country to the other. That includes, of course, the Eagles, which fired Andy Reid on Monday.

Yes, that's the same Reid who's been coaching the Eagles for 14 seasons and who managed to lead them to four straight NFC championship games, six straight NFC East titles and a shot at the Super Bowl in 2004.

Sure, the Eagles stunk to high heaven this year -- just three wins. But I wouldn't lay all the blame at Reid's feet. Is it time for Reid to move on? Maybe. But not because he's a lousy coach. A change of scenery might be in his best interest.

And now Arians is allegedly being considered by the Eagles' ownership for the head job there. I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that to happen, however, even though Arians has insider knowledge of Philadelphia -- he was the head coach at Temple University for six seasons and is from York.

For one thing, I'm not too sure Arians is all that interested in being a head coach. He's 60 and was talking about retiring from coaching not too long ago. Would he want to take on a head job at this point in this career? Does he have anything to prove by doing that?

I don't think so.

Sure he's a competitor. Yes, he's got an ego. But I suspect getting back to the Super Bowl might mean more to him than being a head coach.

That'll be up to him, of course. But I think this past season meant a great deal to him. Without anyone but me saying so, the point's been made about his coaching ability. He's a lot better than the Steelers gave him credit for.

Meanwhile, back at Indianapolis, there is clearly a special bond between Arians, Pagano, Luck, the team owner, Jim Irsay, and the rest of the team.

I wouldn't be surprised if Arians might like the idea of staying on at Indianapolis for another season or two or five as Pagano's top assistant.

And the way things looked this season, he'd have a better chance of getting back to the Super Bowl with the Colts -- he's already got two Super Bowl rings with his name on them -- than with the Eagles, the Arizona Cardinals or, for that matter, even the Steelers.

Funny how things work out sometimes.

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick