From Twitter to the pages of USA Today Colts owner Jim Irsay has been very vocal this week about Peyton Manning’s time in Indianapolis. On Wednesday he did some back pedaling after he says his comments were taken out of context. For background here’s what Irsay told USA Today.
“We’ve changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these,” Irsay said, referring to his Super Bowl XLI ring. “[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these. Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated.
“You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love [championships].”
The words caused an uproar and even had Denver Broncos Head Coach John Fox on the defensive. Irsay made it clear though that was not his intention.
“There was never a negative comment towards Peyton. Coach Fox, I have great respect for him. I think he’s just a tremendous man of integrity and an outstanding coach. I don’t think that the comments, however they came back to people, I know they were misperceived. When I talked about a Star Wars offense and that sort of thing, it was really based on just that aspect about just the imbalance we had defensively and on special teams. I look at the Patriots teams of ’03 and ’04 and I think they were the best teams in a long, long time because of that balance.”
Peyton Manning played 13 seasons with the Colts and made it to the Super Bowl twice, winning just one world championship. While hoisting a Lombardi Trophy is a moment all owners dream of Jim Irsay does think the team should’ve won more titles during the Manning era.
“I think that every player on our team, every coach feels that way. There’s no question about it. We were in the toughest conference. If you look, a lot of the teams that we lost to a lot of times went on to win the Super Bowl, like the Patriots or the Steelers. So there’s not a man with the franchise during those years, but we’re extremely proud of seven seasons, 12-plus wins. I don’t know if that will ever be matched. And winning the most games of any team in a decade in the history of 90-plus years of the league and those sort of things we did and those records, we’re extremely proud of. And again, everyone knows the world championship and being a champion, that’s what it’s about. And so I don’t see where there was one negative comment made by me. Again, you’re talking about your organizational philosophy when you talk about how you’re building your team. That’s not a comment based towards Peyton or anything like that. What he means to me, personally, to the city, to the state, our franchise, is just incredible and I think the great news about this week is our goal was that he could go someplace and have a chance to win another championship before he retired and that we could move forward and be successful with Andrew (Luck).”
The Colts plan to honor the four-time NFL MVP before kick off of Sunday’s game but that’s not all, there are more tributes in the works.
“It’s just going to be a tremendous presentation in terms of honoring him. I think it’s just, again, the tip of the iceberg in the sort of honoring. Again, the jersey is already put away in a box and it’s already gathered dust. In terms of a statue, in terms of different things in the future, what he means to the franchise is incredible and so it’s going to be.”