Colts owner James Irsay wishes he owned more than one Super Bowl ring, especially considered his Colts traveled to the playoffs 11 times under Peyton Manning’s direction.
Broncos coach John Fox, sticking up for his quarterback, says Irsay’s words are a “little bit of a cheap shot.”
Hate to disagree, John, but Irsay’s words were this:
We are again witnessing Manning’s utter mastery on the football field, but we are again witnessing this mastery during the regular season. Manning is the greatest regular-season quarterback in NFL history.
In the playoffs?
Not so much. He’s struggled to eight one-and-dones in the playoffs, including last season’s defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.
Why does Manning destroy everything in front of him during the regular season and then struggle, season after season, in the playoffs? This struggle is one of football history’s great mysteries.
This mystery long troubled Irsay. It still troubles him.
“We’ve changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these,” Irsay told USA Today as he held up his Super Bowl 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.”
Irsay then help up his Super Bowl ring again.
Fox called Irsay’s words, “disappointing and inappropriate … They sounded a little ungrateful to me.”
Notice Fox did not call the words inaccurate.
I’ve read some of sports writing colleagues sputter about Irsay’s words. One of those colleagues wondered how Irsay could imply that Brady is more of a winner than Manning.
Maybe it’s because Brady is more of a winner than Manning.
This story is not over. Manning can silence all doubters and skeptics and critics – including one named Irsay – this season. The Broncos are headed to the playoffs, a destination that has so often frustrated Manning.