In one of the more entertaining developments of an oft-depressing Colts season, Colts owner Jim Irsay and Pro Football Talk editor-in-chief Mike Florio have locked horns over...Rex Ryan's foot fetish.
If you read Stampede Blue, you're already fully aware of Irsay's bizarre Twitter account, a collection of nonsensical thoughts, obscure lyrics and cash giveaways that only serve to reinforce the fact that being an eccentric billionaire in this country is awesome. This week, some of Irsay's tweets in response to Jets head coach Rex Ryan's foot fetish admission (or non-denial, more appropriately) have spurred controversy.
A few of the tweets in question include:
"I’m gonna develop a fetish, sell Myself out to Deadsp. Or National Enq./and make’Lots of $$$$ and a G5′!!!!!…"
"I know it’s a sin but I have a crush on Sara Palins feet…."
These tweets were apparently significant enough to catch Florio's attention. Last night, Florio posted this article on PFT highlighting and criticizing Irsay's odd tweets. Some excerpts include:
Colts owner Jim Irsay, who was once involved in a very personal and embarrassing off-field issue in the past, has made reference to Ryan’s, um, "agony of defeat" in a series of Twitter messages posted this evening.
It remains to be seen whether Irsay is indeed shut down by the NFL. Surely, his Twitter comments are making one or more folks at 280 Park Avenue uncomfortable.
I don't think Florio said anything too outlandish, though his resounding message seems to be "don't throw stones if you live in a glass house." But apparently, his article caught Irsay's attention today, judging from this tweet:
Shame on Mike Florio.The only thing I was involved in was heroic.Ignorance towards serious medical diseases kills those who might seek help.
Thoughts on "The Battle Of Defeat" after the jump...
First, I'm just thankful that I don't have to report another injury story. I feel like that's all I've written about this year, and I don't want to write about that. It's depressing to think about. So thankfully we have something decidedly more lighthearted to discuss here.
I'm surprised Irsay's Twitter account exists, and continues to exist. I'm sure Bill Polian isn't the biggest fan of Irsay's tweeting, specifically his Adam Schefter-style breaking news approach to injuries. But Polian has no say over what Irsay does because, well, Polian works for Irsay. So from a team angle, I'm not shocked the account exists. I'm shocked it exists from a league angle.
I think, for the most part, Irsay has fun with the account and genuinely has the best interest of fans in mind. The guy gives away something like one thousand dollars a day via Twitter contests. He wants to interact with fans and reward them for their allegiance to the Colts. I don't doubt that. What I do in fact doubt, though, is that Roger Goodell is enamored with Irsay's "green cigarette" references, his use of the word "giz", his contest involving 69 five-dollar bills and the general self-image he projects as a free-spirited, billionaire wildcard. The NFL has become a no-nonsense league, and if wearing a non-sanctioned t-shirt is viewed as an image-tarnishing offense, I can only imagine the sweat beads forming on Goodell's brow as he scrolls through Irsay's Twitter account.
And then, on the other end, you have Florio, who isn't exactly the world's biggest Colts fan. I might go out on a limb and say that Florio actively dislikes the Colts, Polian and Peyton Manning in particular. Now, I have nothing against Florio. PFT is one of the -- if not the -- most valuable football resources on the internet. Watching Florio build PFT from an independent venture to an NBC-owned featured site has been interesting. Like him or not, Florio is a powerful player in the NFL. Powerful enough to get a shoutout from Irsay anyway. But Irsay's account is a recipe for disaster when anyone in power can point to it, because it is so bizarre and does arguably cross the line at times. So of course it's a magnet for someone like Florio who, let's be honest, is probably going to look to denigrate the Colts with any chance he gets. I don't hold that against him personally...if I was in his position, I would probably play favorites and least favorites too. I'm just calling it like it is.
I don't know if this "battle" will continue, but it's entertaining for the interim. I think Irsay probably needs to be a little more image-conscious about his account, but it's all in good fun. Some of the same people criticizing Irsay's account are the same people who criticize the NFL for cracking down too hard on celebrations, and I'm not sure you can have it both ways there. I suppose the ball is actually in Florio's court right now, as he has the chance to either respond to or ignore Irsay's latest Footgate tweet. The smart move would probably be to just play it off as the joke it is, but judging from his last (truthful) barb regarding Irsay's past history with addiction issues, Florio isn't exactly afraid to make it personal either.
This might very well be the definition of a non-story. But it cracks me up and actually does force you think about what kind of power, especially representational power, NFL owners do and do not have.