Make no mistake about it, when Peyton Manning’s statue is unveiled in early October he’ll want virtually everyone holding importance to him to be in attendance. There’s a really good chance that the majority of them will be there too. However, at least one of those people will not.
Jim Mora, Manning’s first coach in the NFL stated on WNDE’s Query & Shultz that he “just wouldn’t feel that I would feel comfortable being there.” according to Dakota Crawford of the Indy Star. Why? Apparently Mora still holds a sour taste in his mouth about how it ended in Indianapolis, and more specifically with former Colts’ GM Bill Polian.
In a nutshell Mora was given an ultimatum from Polian to fire then-defensive coordinator Vic Fangio or be let go himself. Mora refused, and was subsequently fired after the two met with Jim Irsay. Despite their own issues in the 2001 season – most notably Mora publicly criticizing his performance against the San Francisco 49ers – Manning holds Mora in close regard.
Manning was Mora’s first draft selection, Manning has stated that Mora was the last person to leave his wedding and that the two have a close relationship. It only makes sense that Mora would want to be a part of such an occasion for Manning, but it appears as though he simply can’t get over it.
This is, in a word, sad. Sad that more than 15 years later Mora would feel “awkward” returning to a city that he says “he loved.” The leadership doesn’t hold much, if any, resemblance to the 2001 season, while Polian will likely also be in attendance there’s no reason he’d have to approach his former boss and it would be the classy thing to do.
Mora told Manning that he wished he’d not been so “emotional” when discussing his post-game news conference when he went off about Manning’s 4 interceptions against the 49ers, but it looks as though he may be having a similar conversation about this ceremony. Aside from Manning being inducted into the Hall of Fame, is there a larger moment to celebrate a career than a statue erection and number being retired?
Again, this seems that Mora needs to grow up a bit, let bygones be bygones and be there for a man who is not only one of the best to ever play the game, but a man who went to bat for Mora’s job in spite of his childish antics. If his issues were with Irsay, I think that may be a different story, but that’s not what Mora said.
Mora’s situation would be very similar to the one Chuck Pagano would be in if he were to be let go in the near future. First-year head coach with a team, No 1-overall draft pick at quarterback – who’s expected to relight the fire under the organization – and some disappointing coaching has come down the pipe following some initial success.
You don’t think Pagano would show up to such a commemoration?
It can be understood holding a grudge for a time against Polian, he certainly has rubbed people the wrong way more than a time or two – and that was the last coaching job for Mora in the NFL. However, it’s been over 15 years, maybe it’s time to let go to honor an old friend?
Should Jim Mora attend Peyton Manning’s statue unveiling?
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