According CBSSports.com, Jim Irsay is the NFL's second best owner. In his recent article listing the "top ten owners you'd want running your favorite team," Josh Katzowitz lists Irsay second behind Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Katzowitz wrote of the Colts' owner:
2. Jim Irsay: Compared to his father, Bob, who was much maligned by many of the people who knew him, the 53-year-old Jim is an absolute godsend for Colts fans. Even without the shadow of his father, though, Jim Irsay is one of the most fun owners around. He plays around on Twitter, and he gives away free stuff to his followers. Plus, he hires the right kind of personnel -- general manager Ryan Grigson so far, coach Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell (for a time, anyway) -- and the organization's decision to draft Peyton Manning rather than Ryan Leaf in 1998 was obviously a huge difference-maker. But Irsay is an empathetic sort, and the sendoff given to Manning by Irsay and the Colts was representative of the NFL that we'd like to see more often. Not to mention how the team handled Chuck Pagano's cancer scare last season. Irsay is fun, and his team has been successful since he took over in 1997. What's not to love?
It's hard to argue with Irsay being where he is on the list. After all, he has excelled as the Colts owner and has nailed every major decision he has had to make. Since taking over the team in 1997, he has hired Bill Polian and Ryan Grigson as his general managers and he has hired Jim Mora, Tony Dungy, Jim Caldwell, and Chuck Pagano as his head coaches. He has drafted both Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck to play at quarterback. Perhaps the best example of Irsay's greatness as an owner was illustrated in the way he handled Peyton Manning's release last year. He made the absolute right decision in parting ways with the legendary quarterback, yet at the same time he handled it with class and grace rare in today's NFL.
Irsay is also an incredible influence in the community. Just recently, when the Indianapolis Colts themed Blue Crew Sports Grille was going out of business due to being behind on their payments, Irsay stepped in and paid to keep them open. He is a great influence on the city of Indianapolis and is very charitable.
Us here at Stampede Blue may have developed a reputation for disliking Irsay because we are pretty much the only ones to ever criticize him, but you won't find many people (myself included) that would rather have another guy running the Colts' franchise. Irsay is everything you would want in an owner and, while he's not perfect, he has been right much more often than not and has run the organization with class. His influence on the city of Indianapolis is top notch as well.
While the list isn't anything definitive and is just one man's opinion, I think Josh Katzowitz got it exactly right by naming Jim Irsay one of the league's best owners. Because that's exactly what he is.