Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is under fire this week for comments he made about Peyton Manning. NFL media and fans are outraged at those comments yet an objective look into what Irsay said would reveal…gasp…he’s right!
Irsay talked about Manning this week in anticipation of this weekend’s game between the Colts and Manning’s new team, the Denver Broncos. Irsay talked to USA Today about moving on from Manning and made immediate headlines with his comments.
“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 this.”
Fans and media are in an uproar over this. All I keep hearing is how unappreciative Irsay is and that he should have been happy with his 11 playoff appearances. Guess what and this may come as a shock to many of Peyton’s defenders here…the season doesn’t end with a playoff berth. The season ends with a Super Bowl and anything less is a losing season.
I have felt for years that Peyton has gotten a free pass by the media for his numerous playoff losses. It wasn’t just the losses here that got overlooked. It was Peyton’s part in the loss. Just last year Peyton threw a late interception into overtime that cost the all-mighty Broncos a Super Bowl entry. The defense kept many of those games close but it was Peyton who couldn’t seal the deal and in some cases sealed it for the opposition.
Irsay is just pointing to the facts here. NFL owners aren’t in this to try and make the playoffs. They want a winner. Yes Peyton did win one but he also lost one, a game in which he threw a critical interception. Take a look at Peyton’s post-season stats here and you’ll get an eye-opener. In all but two of his losses he threw at least one interception in the game. There is no doubt that Peyton Manning is a great regular season QB but how good is he when he is up against the best teams in the NFL in the playoffs is a whole other story.
What Irsay should be grateful for is Manning turning that franchise around. The only Colts team I remember watching in the playoffs during my teens was the Jim Harbaugh-led team that lost in Pittsburgh in an AFC title game. I know there were Colts teams that made a playoff appearances but this was not an elite franchise. The money and attention that Peyton brought to that team post-season record or not is something that very few players could have brought to a franchise. He single-handedly turned it around.
So while it is apparently off-limits to talk about Peyton Manning’s post-season record, it is time we keep his career in proper perspective. Sure it comes off as sour grapes but as the great Bill Parcels once said, “you are what your record is” and in the post-season, Manning is 3-11 in the first round.
Jim Irsay has no regrets about releasing Peyton Manning and quite frankly why should he?