Peyton Manning Rumors: Jim Irsay and the Big Business of the Indianapolis Colts

Mike LangthorneContributor IIFebruary 13, 2012

INDIANAPOLIS - JANUARY 02: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts throws a pass during NFL game against the Tennessee Titans at Lucas Oil Stadium on January 2, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

In nearly all real-life situations there comes a time when you simply have to move on. Sometimes it works out for the best and sometimes it doesn't. 

Such is life.

In the workplace, you begin your career ambitious and wide-eyed with intentions of steadily climbing the corporate ladder, absorbing as much information as possible along the way in order to parlay that knowledge into a greater opportunity down the road. Having set your sights firmly on the plush corner office with the pristine city skyline views, you ultimately hope that opportunity will present itself within the same organization. 

Company executives, on the other hand, have quickly begun to reap the rewards of your hard work, helping to realize year-over-year revenue gains from programs that your team has constructed while you were at the helm.

Those same revenue increases played a significant role in allowing the company to expand their operations, taking a once dated distribution center and upgrading into a world-class facility. The improved efficiency from the creation of the new distribution center has enabled the company to secure additional high-impact contracts due to logistical improvements. 

Your nameplate mounted on the wall outside the corner office looks fantastic and further reinforces the fact that both you and the company have realized your potential.

All is well.

Until of course, there is the first sign of trouble. 

What was once functioning as a well oiled machine has recently encountered an overall decline in performance over the course of the past 12 months. Revenue projections and forecasting efforts entering the fourth quarter of the fiscal year were unfortunately nowhere near where the plan had called for. 

As a result, finger pointing has ensued and the hunger of the management staff has quickly been called into question. Many of the top executives believe that the hunger that was once in place—and that was responsible for the rapid growth of the organization—has since been replaced with a sense of complacency. Those questions have spawned closer examination into the resources invested in those employees and tough decisions will ultimately need to be made.   

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 02:  (L-R) General manager Bill Polian, team owner Jim Irsay and Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts look on during Super Bowl XLIV Media Day at Sun Life Stadium on February 2, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo
Doug Benc/Getty Images

Can the upcoming talent within the organization replace the current management team? After all, the bottom line can be improved by trimming payroll expenses, but how long will it take for this new group to hit their stride? One year? Two years? Ten years? Will they ever reach the onetime greatness of the former regime? At that point, will the company and product suite even be relevant?

In case you haven’t noticed, professional sports is big business. 

Over the course of the next four weeks, we will all be fully consumed watching this same exact scenario play out across the front-pages of all sports sections.

We have already seen a seismic shift in the makeup of the Indianapolis Colts organization following the conclusion of the season. Key organizational figures who were instrumental in helping to put the franchise back into the national forefront have already been shown the door. While those changes seem to have come and gone with relatively very little backlash, there is still a giant elephant in the room wearing a snug No. 18 jersey.   

The question still remains, what will Colts owner Jim Irsay do with Peyton Manning?

There is no question that Peyton Manning has carried this franchise on his shoulders for the past 14 years. Whether his impressive tenure earns him another four years as their starting quarterback is debatable, but all good things must eventually come to an end.  

This decision by Irsay will shape the fortunes of the Indianapolis Colts for the foreseeable future—for better or for worse. 

For an organization that had floundered mightily following the glory days of Johnny Unitas to now be at a crossroads with the player largely responsible for pulling the organization out of its tailspin, should be cause for concern for all residents of the Circle City, regardless of who is selected by the team as the first overall pick in April‘s entry draft. 

Lest they need any reminding, there are no guarantees in the NFL Draft: see Jeff George. 

Regardless, the court of public opinion will not play a role in how this scenario unfolds. As you are well aware, paying heed to a teams fan base when it concerns matters of player personnel should be properly characterized as either an emotional or impulsive decision. 

And emotional or impulsive decisions are usually bad for business.