Over the past week, I've noticed something whenever I've turned on the TV. There have been legitimate debates about whether or not Peyton Manning's return has been ruined by Jim Irsay's comments.
I can only imagine what they're talking about on First Take. Saying something like, "Is Peyton Manning to blame for the Colts' not drafting Robert Griffin III? Coming up next, is Jay Cutler to blame for the Colts losing on Monday Night Football?"
You get the picture.
Irsay was recently quoted by Jarrett Bell of USA Today talking about his desire for more rings while Peyton played in Indy. This is what he said:
"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.
The fact that it's gotten this out of control over these comments is just ridiculous, and anyone that thinks it will make Manning's return any less special has clearly never lived in Indiana.
I've lived in this state all of my life. I've always lived within 30 minutes of Indianapolis, and Manning was everywhere for as long as I can remember. In fact, when he was drafted in 1998, I wasn't even five years old.
I remember in one of my classes in elementary school, every single kid had a Peyton Manning No. 18 jersey. That's just the way it was. The kids loved him, and the parents loved him just as much. I remember giggling whenever he called out crazy things at the line of scrimmage like, "Louisville Soul Train".
After spending over a decade with this team and bringing the city of Indianapolis a Super Bowl championship, fans still love Peyton. This tribute on Sunday, which will have both Marvin Harrison and Edgerrin James in attendance, is going to be perfect for any fan that ever watched him play here.
Just watching the commercials about it make plenty of fans tear up, and you can bet there will be some tears shed by fans at the game and fans watching on TV at home.
Heck, I might need a tissue too.
The cheers will be loud, and the fans will be respectful and appreciative. Forget the controversy everyone is trying to stir up, this was the town's hero for over a decade, and they will be cheering their hearts out.
That is, until the game starts. The Colts have a game to win.