Whether you're browsing Twitter or listening to a sports talk radio show, odds are you've seen or heard Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay's name mentioned a few times.
The oft-outspoken owner is being criticized heavily for his comments following a Week 5 victory vs. the Seattle Seahawks, in which it appeared he took a few jabs at former quarterback and current Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.
But is all this "controversy" a result of a few words taken out of context?
Wednesday morning on The Grady and Big Joe Show, a local Indianapolis morning show on ESPN 1070 The Fan, flagship station of the Indianapolis Colts, host Michael Grady played the audio of Irsay's comments, which can be found here. Here are just a few key quotes, in context, from after the game:
We really just proved how now, special teams and defense are winning games, ALONG with a great franchise quarterback.
(Disappointed in) not getting 2 or 3 (rings), and I think it really came down to inconsistent special teams, inconsistent defensive play.
The vision, when I brought Ryan Grigson in and Chuck Pagano, was to have a really well rounded team, that when it gets into the playoffs, and it's 20 degrees and it's snowing, that we're just not depending on an incredible passing game.
Looking at all three of those quotes, it's hard to view any of these comments as a "criticism" of Peyton Manning. If anything, the emphasis in the third quote on "not just depending on an incredible passing game" all but affirms Irsay was speaking more to the build of the team.
The misconstrued comments of the Colts owner have now become a national story, leaving Irsay to defend himself by responding via his Twitter page:
My comments meant if we gave Peyton better SP Teams n Def,we would have won more than 1 Sup/Bowl,instead of asking Peyton 2do too much— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) October 16, 2013
Those expressing negatIvity about the concept of building well rounded teams around great QBs 2 achieve Championships have negative agendas— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) October 16, 2013
The owner then defended himself to ESPN Insider Chris Mortensen, who had made comments on an earlier edition of the network's SportsCenter. That left Mortensen and Irsay going back and forth:
Chris Mortensen,I don't recall you being on that flight from Miami to Indy when Peyton said.." You can't pass on Luck" I accept your apology— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) October 16, 2013
Thanks for watching @JimIrsay! You already made mind up to release Peyton at that point; jet ride was headed to Indy for farewell presser— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) October 16, 2013
As far as your irresponsibility,that's disappointing because your assumption that you were privy to all of Peyton and my conversations— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) October 16, 2013
(Cont)Irresponsible n misleading/ Come on.. you're better than that,Chris— Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) October 16, 2013
Retired Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, a personal friend of Manning's, got into the mix as well, according to Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post.
Todd Helton on Jim Irsay: "I hope Manning steps on their throat and doesn't let up, especially after that idiot ... spouting off his mouth."— Mark Kiszla (@markkiszla) October 16, 2013
Todd Helton on Jim Irsay's criticism of Peyton Manning: "I think he should shut his mouth personally ... To me, that's just classless."— Mark Kiszla (@markkiszla) October 16, 2013
What did you think of Jim Irsay's comments?
My question to you is this—hypothetically, if Irsay WAS criticizing Manning, was he wrong in his criticisms? Was he factually lying when he said that Manning produced seven one-and-done's in 11 playoff appearances? Or that he only produced one Super Bowl ring in his tenure in Indianapolis?
Bottom line, this whole thing has become an unnecessary circus surrounding a couple of comments taken out of context.
The only thing these two teams are missing are some top hats and a clown car. It will be interesting to see how the two teams react, specifically Manning and current Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, on Sunday night.