"We never talk during this time."
While Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano was blunt, he was speaking the truth. He and his brother, San Diego Chargers Defensive Coordinator John Pagano, speak almost every day, but this week is different. For the first time since 2013, the brothers will meet as opponents when the Chargers travel to Indy to face the Colts.
"We've always been tight, but this is probably the only week in the year we don't talk," added John, who is seven years younger than Chuck. "We go (dark) on each other. It's tough but, when that ball kicks off the most important thing is about the Chargers getting a win and that's all that matters."
"Outstanding." That word is one Chuck and John both use to describe their childhood. The pair were the only sons in their family of six siblings and said growing up was full of fun, football and fistfights.
"Having a little brother to beat on all the time was a great experience," Chuck joked. "(John) may tell you he got the better of a few of them but that's a lie."
"See, the older sisters always beat up on him!" John replied. "So (Chuck) had to take advantage. I probably did the same thing to my little sister. It was a chance and finally you had to take a stand at one point. But we had a great relationship growing up and it was always about us and family."
The Pagano Family's football roots run deep. Their father, Sam, spent more than 20 years as the head football coach of Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado and the brothers credit him for instilling the love of the game in them from a very young age.
"We're both blessed to grow up the way we grew up around this great game that we're so blessed and fortunate to be a part of," Chuck said.
"We'd be in elementary school or junior high and you couldn't wait for Friday night to come," added John. "Being able to ride on the bus as kids to go to games with our dad and be a ball boy; we were a football family."
As fate would have it, both of Sam's sons would follow in his footsteps and currently combined, the pair has spent over three decades coaching in the NFL. Chuck and John said their father tried to talk them out of getting into coaching but the brothers wouldn't have it any other way.
"I don't think there was a time where we had a doubt where we thought about anything else," mentioned Chuck. "Our dad tried to talk us out of it. It's really all I knew and, it's really all Johnny knew. It's a privilege and an honor to coach in the National Football League and I feel we've both been very blessed."
"I think from a young age we saw everything as a coach," John added. "I think when you're a player, growing up you have aspirations of playing college football or in the NFL. But then when that point came, both my brother and I knew we weren't good enough to keep our careers going so we figured coaching was the avenue for us and it was something that we were always a part of."
While their dad won't be at the game on Sunday, Chuck and John deep down know that despite it being a football game at the end of the day, it is still an extremely special honor to face each other on opposite sidelines.
"It's always cool to see your brother before a game," Chuck said. "We'll shake hands, give him a big hug and tell him that I love him, but it's still the Colts versus the Chargers. I hate to sound cliché but that's how he's going to approach it, that's how I am going to approach it and that's how both teams are going to approach it."
"I'm proud, but I know one thing, we're going to be in for a dog fight on Sunday and he's going to have his players screaming when that ball's kicked off," added John. "We have to be very prepared because we're walking into what I like to call a hornet's nest…. One day when we look back on it, it's always special to look across the field and tip my hat to my brother. That's pretty cool."