By Rich Kurtzman
What in the world of sports is going on? Jim Irsay, one of the most outspoken owners in all of sports, is up to his old antics. Instead, this time, he’s targeting Peyton Manning.
Of course, Irsay brought Manning into Indianapolis to play for his Colts, and from 1999-2010, Manning made Indy Super Bowl contenders.
Just competing for a world championship is never enough though, winning is what truly matters.
In a USA TODAY piece published Tuesday morning, Irsay told Jarrett Bell, “(Tom) Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these [Super Bowl victories],” Irsay adds. “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.”
Manning “only” won one Super Bowl with the Colts, that’s true, but it’s also evident he turned a truly struggling franchise around. Indianapolis went to the playoffs a mere three times in the 11 years pre-Peyton at quarterback, and then went to the playoffs 11 times in 13 seasons with Manning at the helm.
All that success, coupled with the Super Bowl XLI victory, led to the construction of the beautiful Lucas Oil Stadium, which has since hosted a Super Bowl of its own, resulting in a phenomenal pay day for both Irsay and the city.
While it’s unlikely Manning will respond to the comments, Broncos head coach John Fox defended the all-world quarterback Tuesday on Sirius Radio.
“Peyton would never say anything,” Fox said on the radio. “He’s too classy to do that. They (Irsay) sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me. For a guy who has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won four MVP awards, be thankful of that one Super Bowl ring, because a lot of people don’t have one.”
Well, this is a bit bigger than the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos Twitter accounts fighting, as they did last week in the lead up to the game.
And what makes Irsay’s comments even crazier is the fact that the Colts are planning to pay tribute to Manning when he and his Denver teammates play in Indy this Sunday night.
All of this is building up to what would have likely already been one of the biggest games of the NFL season, especially with the Broncos atop the AFC at 6-0 and the Colts close behind at 4-2.
Andrew Luck – one year and a half removed from being the number one overall pick – the young man that took Manning’s job from him, will have a chance to face the legend whose famous number 18 Colts jersey hangs from the rafters.
Undoubtedly, Manning will want to show the world he’s the best quarterback in Indy on Sunday and also continue his season that is shaping up to be the greatest ever experienced by a signal-caller. Playing Luck will fuel Manning’s fire, as will Irsay’s ignorant comments, and if there’s a player who doesn’t need extra motivation, it’s PFM.
If Manning has any say, he’ll make Irsay eat his words.
For more Broncos news and updates, visit Broncos Central.
Rich Kurtzman is a Denver native, Colorado State University alumnus, sports nerd, athletics enthusiast, and competition junkie. Currently writing for a multitude of websites while working on books, one on the history of the Denver Broncos and Mile High Stadium. Rich is a freelance writer covering all things NFL. His work can be found on Examiner.com.