In a recent interview with Jarrett Bell of the USA Today, Colts' owner Jim Irsay talked about the decision to release the immensely-popular quarterback Peyton Manning and instead go with Andrew Luck.
According to Irsay, even Manning knew that taking Luck was the right decision:
"He said, 'You've got to take Andrew,'" Irsay recalls during an interview with USA TODAY Sports. "'You have to. You're crazy if you don't.'"
I don't know whether Peyton actually said that or not. But knowing Peyton, I know that he is smart enough of a football guy to figure this one out. It wasn't that hard of a decision, especially considering the uncertainty around Manning's neck. The Colts were legitimately concerned that he would never play again, much less play well.
Andrew Luck has been phenomenal in his first 23 career games and has been as good as advertised - and better. Sure, Peyton Manning has been lights out too, but he's also 13 years older than Luck. 13 years is a lot, folks. A whole lot.
I've seen this move as a win/win for a while now, and Irsay does as well. In fact, it turned out about as well as either he or Peyton could have expected:
"I think it's perfect," Irsay says. "What's happened is what Peyton and I hoped would happen. The desire was for him to get well and get to a team that has a chance to win another Super Bowl before his career ended. And our desire was to be able to transition to Andrew. To be so good so soon is stunning."
Some people have been a bit critical of Irsay being so outspoken about this topic, especially before the Chargers game. But let me add that this interview being published this morning was actually a great thing for the Colts. Irsay's comments took a lot of the attention away from the Colts' pathetic and ugly performance Monday night. That's a good thing for Chuck Pagano and this team as they prepare for the NFL's best team this weekend.
One more quote from Irsay that was particularly interesting:
"We've changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these," Irsay says, flicking up his right hand to show his Super Bowl XLI championship ring.
"(Tom) Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these," 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. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). Mostly, you love this."
"Then Irsay flicks up his right hand again."
Basically, Irsay said that by releasing Peyton Manning and going with Andrew Luck, they were trading stats for championships. For an owner, this makes total sense. Of course his ultimate goal is to win rings, and through building a team, this is the absolute right approach and mindset. The problem is when individuals are evaluated by just rings. For an owner, that obviously will be the main focus. But when evaluating quarterbacks, it's not the same. Unfortunately, many people won't see Irsay's comments in that light.
Interesting stuff from Irsay. What are your thoughts upon reading his comments?