Tomorrow, the curtains close on Colts owner Jim Irsay’s sideshow when his team hosts the Denver Broncos.
Traditionally, the Colts haven’t been the Broncos’ huge rivals (unlike the Chiefs and Raiders).
Just two years ago, Peyton Manning was the Colts’ 14-year, veteran quarterback. But he was injured and he underwent numerous neck surgeries and fusions. He even traveled to Europe for stem cell therapy. (The cause of his injury possibly occurred as early as 2006, when he was legally hit by a couple of Redskins defensive linemen.) Many believed his career was over, including his team’s owner, Mr. Irsay.
Led by chief decision-maker Mr. Irsay, the Colts took Peyton out to pasture at the end of the ’11 season and bought a younger horse: Andrew Luck.
The Broncos took a gamble and picked Peyton up. Even though the Colts cut him when he was at his weakest, their separation seemed like water-under-the-bridge…
The rivalry unofficially started when Mr. Irsay publicly expressed in July that he was disappointed in Manning’s ability (or lack thereof) to only bring the team a single Super Bowl win.
“My goal going into this new era was to have the opportunity to win more than one. We love the excitement of offense, we love the 49 touchdown passes [that Manning threw in 2004] and those sorts of things, but in the end, what we love most is Lombardi trophies.”
Irsay must have thought that he wasn’t heard a few months ago so he repeated his sentiments again this week:
“(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 this.”
Former Colts head coach Tony Dungy told ESPN.com via text message that Irsay is deliberately trying to provoke Peyton:
“I think that’s what he’s trying to do. Have him make it such a big game he doesn’t perform well. I can’t figure any other reason to go this way.”
Current Broncos head coach John Fox told SiriusXM NFL Radio:
“I saw the comments…I thought it was a bit of a cheap shot…they were disappointing and inappropriate…I’d be thankful for the one Super Bowl ring.”
Former Colts president Bill Polian also commented:
“Last year, they [Colts] lost in the playoffs and were one and done…We didn’t win multiple Super Bowls. But I think we did a hell of a lot to make the city and state of Indiana proud — on and off the field.”
On Wednesday, Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star scored a quick moment with Peyton:
“After his mass press conference, we ducked into a doorway at the Broncos facility, and I asked him point-blank, ‘Do you bear any ill will or resentment toward the Colts?’ Manning paused, looked down at the floor, then shook his head. ‘To answer a question like that doesn’t serve me well. I feel like the question is based on the (Irsay) comments, so it’s just easier not to answer anything along those lines.'”
Either Irsay loves the attention or didn’t anticipate the backlash because now he is trying to spin his words…first he blamed Peyton for just his one measly Super Bowl ring…now he’s blaming the media and Peyton’s defender’s. On Saturday, Irsay told ESPN.com:
“It’s a shame it got to this. This past week was not supposed to be like that, but the sideshow unfortunately is something that’s an illusion because I didn’t take a shot at Peyton. It’s such a misrepresentation. It’s unbelievable.”
What’s a misrepresentation? The Broncos 2012 record under Peyton that includes the AFC West division title, 13-3 record, 9 games where he had over 300 passing yards? Or is the misrepresentation this season with Peyton throwing over 300 yards in 5 out of 6 games? Maybe the team’s undefeated record thus far is a misrepresentation? Maybe we shouldn’t expect anything less from a man whose father named named him VP of the team at the tender age of 25?
Peyton’s (indirect) response to Irsay was pure class when he told NBC Sports on Saturday:
“I have such wonderful memories of my 14 years here, playing for the Indianapolis Colts…nothing can change the way I feel about my time here…the Denver Broncos have welcomed me warmly.”
Peyton knows that actions speak louder than words. He knows that he is now part of an amazing team, managed by John Elway, coached by John Fox, and played by the NFL’s greatest men on both sides of the ball. In 24 hours, the curtain will be closed on Irsay’s self-imposed sideshow and the Broncos will have defeated the Colts.
Categories: ALL TIME FAVORITES | NFL | SCANDALS & SUCH... | Tamara N. Holder