Last week, Colts owner Jim Irsay was his usual loud and boisterous self. The difference between last week and most other weeks was that:
- A national audience was listening
- Irsay's comments were directed at his former franchise quarterback, Peyton Manning.
As is often the case when attempting to decipher the odd, discombobulated language Irsay uses, there has been debate over whether or not the Colts owner meant to take shots at Manning, or at former team president Bill Polian, or perhaps even at former head coach Tony Dungy.
What we do know now is that Irsay isn't happy at the fact that, in 14 years of the Manning-Polian Era, the franchise won one championship instead of several.
He all but confirmed this when, in exclusive footage that aired on Showtime's Inside the NFL, Irsay made it clear to the current Colts, following their impressive win over Manning and the Broncos Sunday night, that winning "just one" ring isn't enough.
Here's Irsay from the footage, which you can watch here:
"That other guy next door (Peyton Manning), is one of the greats and I have nothing but gratitude towards what he's done for this team," the owner said. "But today is today. And we all know that we want to go and get this (Irsay holds up his right hand with the Super Bowl ring on it). Anyone who doesn't want more than one of these shouldn't wear a horseshoe because that's what it's about."
When you look at the comments just by themselves, they're nothing too crazy... but, they were looney enough to warrant a "WTF" reaction.
Yes, it's a bit silly to suggest that if someone doesn't want to win multiple rings, they need not apply. Does that mean Tarik Glenn was a bum for retiring after he won his first and only ring in 2007? Glenn could clearly still play, but, for the former Pro Bowl left tackle drafted by the Colts in 1997, he felt one was enough and sailed off into the sunset.
Still, as isolated comments, Irsay's yapping seems like the hokey, inspirational blah blah that a rich billionaire is going to tell his team in a locker room after a big win.
When placed into the proper context - which is in light of all the other mouth poop Irsay farted out on Twitter and in a USA Today interview leading up to the game - these postgame comments reinforce the perception that Irsay feels disappointed. That Manning and Polian failed him on some level during their tenure in Indianapolis.
Obviously, this rubbed some the wrong way:
One final word on Irsay: bringing up the "Peyton's great, but I only have one ring" crap after the game, on camera, was classless & stupid.— Stew Blake (@stewblake22) October 24, 2013
Dan Marino: "My opinion, no (Irsay shouldn't have made the postgame comments). There is no reason for that. I mean, they won the ballgame. As an owner, you have to feel pretty darn lucky to have Peyton Manning for 14 years and win a ring. There are a lot of guys who have played in the NFL and have been great players including me, I feel like I was a good player, and I don't have a ring. So I don't think you go there at all."
For me, the postgame comments cement that Irsay's USA Today quotes about "Star Wars numbers" vs. championship rings were indeed a shot at Manning himself. A deliberate shot. Jimmy then backtracked and pointed fingers at the "shit-slingers" for how they reported it, and this was all done so that the attention was fixated on Irsay himself in the week leading up to Manning's return and not on Irsay's team, the Colts.
It was all brilliant theater, but it might have come at a price.
The media and many fans have developed the image of Irsay as a classless idiot who shoots his fat mouth off, which is not too much removed from the image Irsay's father had when he ran the Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts. Jim has spent much of his adult life fighting against that perception, building goodwill and respectability within the Indianapolis community and in league circles.
It would be a shame if he damaged that with the comments he made last week and during the postgame speech.