Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay apologized today for statements he made in an interview with USA Today in which he seemed to blame Peyton Manning for the fact that the Colts won only one Super Bowl in the quarterback’s 14 seasons with the team.
“Those comments and the firestorm they have created are on me,” Irsay said today. “I need to be smarter about what I say to the media, even when I’m saying known facts. There is really no good way to talk about Peyton’s time here without hurting his feelings due to the fact that he is one of the greatest chokers in sports history. He’s sensitive about that. It’s a difficult reality for him to face, and I totally get that.”
Irsay stressed that he want to celebrate all of Manning’s successes with the Colts when the longtime franchise QB returns with the Broncos this Sunday.
“He is, without question, the greatest regular season quarterback in the history of football. And it’s not even close,” said Irsay. “And that’s what we will focus on. In honoring him, to protect his feelings and out of my great respect for him, we will steer clear of mentioning the playoffs or the Super Bowl, which historically caused him to gag like no other player in NFL history. Why pick at that old scab? Or, I guess in the case of the Broncos last year, a fairly new scab.”
The Colts owner said Sunday’s celebration of Manning’s Indianapolis career will not even address the Colts’ Super Bowl XLI victory.
“That championship was just so … awkward,” said Irsay. “The only reason we won is because we somehow got to play Rex Grossman in a Super Bowl. And Peyton barely outplayed him in the game. He barely outplayed Rex Grossman in a Super Bowl! And then the fact that he was given the MVP of the game for going 25-for-38 for 247 yards with just one touchdown and an interception … well, it just felt like a pity MVP or something. I mean, I guess I’ll ask Peyton if he wants us to mention that game, but I can’t imagine why he would.”
With his apology made, Irsay hopes that Sunday’s celebration can be enjoyable for Manning and Colts fans.
“I just want to encourage our fans to politely applaud for Peyton, no matter how disappointing they may view the entirety of his career here or how many times he broke their hearts in the postseason,” said the owner. “Sunday is not the time to talk about Peyton being a choker.”
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