Jim Irsay on Peyton Manning: We chose Super Bowls over statistics
When Peyton Manning retires, he will have only Johnny Unitas to contend with for the honor of greatest quarterback in Indianapolis (or Baltimore) Colts history. The numbers speak for themselves. Manning is probably the best regular season quarterback in NFL history, and he has a Super Bowl ring to go along with his incredible statistics. However, he has never been known as a phenomenal clutch performer.
Given the way Manning has played during the regular season, you would think he would have won multiple championships by now. Instead, he has a 9-11 career record in the postseason. His teams have had eight one-and-done performances in the playoffs and Manning has thrown more than one game-ending interception, including a pick-six in the Super Bowl against the New Orleans Saints. Is that why the Colts let him go?
“We’ve changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these,” Colts owner Jim Irsay told Jarrett Bell of USA Today Sports, flashing his Super Bowl XLI championship ring.” (Tom) Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these. 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.”
That says a lot. Irsay loves Peyton Manning, and he also pointed out in the same interview how pleased he is that Manning got to go to another team where he has a chance to win a Super Bowl. In fact, he said Peyton told him that the Colts had to draft Andrew Luck last year.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to take Andrew,'” Irsay recalled Manning saying to him. “‘You have to. You’re crazy if you don’t.'”
Without Manning, the Colts would likely have zero Super Bowls in the past decade. Chances are Irsay was trying to explain how it made more sense for Indy to not commit a massive chunk of its salary cap to Manning and instead draft a rookie stud, which is exactly what they did. However, he made it seem obvious he expected more than one championship from the Peyton Manning era. As our own LB pointed out a few weeks ago, Denver Broncos fans need to be wary about the fact that Super Bowls are not won in September and October.