Lucas Oil Stadium has been called "The House that Peyton Built." It has been suggested by many that, were it not for the success of the Peyton Manning-led Colts, the franchise would have been relocated to Los Angeles years ago. Peyton Manning is universally accepted as one of the best players in NFL history, and is - without a doubt - the greatest player in the Indianapolis Colts 28-year history.
All of those facts, combined with the roots Manning has willingly and eagerly planted in Indianapolis, makes one question the Colts organizational decision to treat Peyton Manning as if the mere mention of his name would elicit a reaction of Beetlejuice-ian proportions. If you have listened to the three "Grigson Era" press conferences: the Grigson hiring, the Caldwell firing, and the Pagano hiring, you have noticed that everyone in the Colts management team - owner and CEO Jim Irsay, General Manager Ryan Grigson and Head Coach Chuck Pagano - is more willing to mention their personal lives, their crying habits, and Rob Lowe's twitter account than Peyton Manning's name.
“There's not any sort of bad situation around here for healing or anything like that,” Irsay said. “That's not a correct perspective. Like I said, keep it in house, in our family. Talk to each other if you have problems. We'll work it through hand-in-hand and continue to talk as we get closer to the league year.”
“I don't think it's in the (best) interest to paint the Horseshoe in a negative light,” Irsay said. “I really don't. He's such a big part of that. The Horseshoe always comes first. One thing he's always known, and he's been around it so long – you keep it in the family. If you've got a problem, talk to each other. It's not about campaigning or anything like that.”
First, one should note the obvious irony of Irsay telling Peyton Manning to "keep it in house, in our family," while talking to the press at length about the situation. If Irsay wanted to keep it "in house", his response should have been something along the lines of, "This is a trying time for everyone in the Colts family, but like a true family we will get through it together. I will sit down and talk with Manning about his concerns, but I won't be discussing it in the media." It would have, in many ways, sent the same message, while completely avoiding any chance at creating a back-and-forth media battle between Irsay and Manning - a battle, by the way, Irsay will never win.
Second, and more important, if there is a sense of "campaigning" and of politics, if Manning is trying to draw some attention to himself through the media, Irsay needs to look no further than himself for the person to blame.
By employing the off-season strategy that Irsay and the Colts PR staff have chosen, pushing a singular theme in the 2012 off-season: a "New Era" of Colts football, designed to "return the Colts to greatness", the Colts seem to be in a rush to move on from "the last era" while sweeping Manning and many "Classic Colts" under the rug. And honestly, doesn't the entire notion seem just a bit melodramatic and insulting? The Colts, in an injury-plagued season, suffered their first non-playoff campaign since the 2001-2002 season. Doesn't the suggestion that one disastrous, injury-riddled season marked the "end of greatness" show a complete lack of understanding of what true greatness is?
Put yourself in Manning's shoes for just a moment. You're one of the greatest players of all time. You have a deep and profound understanding of history and of legacies, and your legacy and place in NFL history is, despite what you say publicly, very important to you. Up until September of 2011, you knew that you would own every NFL record, and you truly felt that you would win at least one more championship before you retired.
Now it's January of 2012, and the doctors are unable to tell you if - not when - you'll regain the full use of your arm. You may never play in the NFL again. You're about to witness the one Super Bowl match-up where, regardless of the outcome, your "legacy" and "star" will be (wrongly) diminished. And, to top it off, the team you turned into a perennial contender, the team whose brand you grew, whose owner you made rich, has unceremoniously decided trade you in for the younger model and move into a "new era."
No praise, no warmth. None of the attention you so richly deserve at this point in your career. It was a business that made you rich and famous for 13 fabulous years, and it is a business that has now decided to move on without you.
Are you saying you wouldn't be angry? That you wouldn't be a little upset about the environment and the situation?
Honestly, no one is saying that Irsay should be forced to keep Peyton Manning. With the questions surrounding Manning's health, it's an unreasonable demand to place on anyone, regardless of what Manning means to the team and the fans. But by ignoring him, by treating him as persona non grata, you are not only insulting Manning, but the millions of fans that have fallen in love with him.
Would it have been so difficult for Irsay to say something to the effect of, "Peyton Manning is the greatest player in the history of this franchise - and perhaps the entire NFL - and he deserves our thanks, our respect, and our time, and we will treat him accordingly throughout this process, no matter how difficult it may be."
And while Ryan Grigson, a seemingly good person, clearly wants to show that he, not Peyton Manning, is in control, by openly declaring that you have yet to get in touch with Manning, you're either sadly disrespectful of Manning, or "afraid" of him. In either case, ignoring Peyton Manning did not come off as a sign of Grigson and Irsay's strength, but a glaring weakness.
The Indianapolis Colts are moving into a "New Era", one that is unlikely to include Manning and several other Colts greats, but in their rush to "return the team to greatness", they are missing the whole point: what good is returning to greatness if you don't take time to celebrate it?
Excellent piece hit the nail on the head. Grigson really doesn't strike me as a real "football mind" when he makes dumb @ss comments like the ones at Peyton's release. On a related note, I'm putting togeather some money to buy a black track suit, members only jacket, and old-guy oakleys to send to Jimmy Boy Irsay. If he is going to be the new Al Davis he needs to look the part!!
@omahacolt Dude, don't turn this into StampedeBlue-posters-look-a-like, with relentless bashing of the same point over and over and over. I don't get your dislike for Peyton, but I see it, and there's no need to remind us because most of us here admire him greatly, both personally and what he's done for the Colts.
You posted somewhere else "bye bye, Peyton!" - uh, why? You really feel that strongly against him? No need to answer that questions, it was rhetorical.
Let's move on, eh?
As a Pats fan, I must say that I have the deepest respect for Manning and the class that he stood for. Manning will always remain the greatest QB in NFL. Seeing him treated like trash and indirectly being blamed for the dismal season is really sad.
Where have you gone, Peyton Manning?
@PancakesPodcast thank you.
@PancakesPodcast I just think if Manning IS healthy, then they should keep him, if he's not healthy, I'm sure manning will understand
@PancakesPodcast that whole thing just turned into an argument. I would love to know how long some of those people have been Colt fans.
@PancakesPodcast I assume it's the comments at the top.
@PancakesPodcast Just links to article?
horrible post. i disagree with all of it.
irsay owes manning nothing other than what his contract stipulates. you just couldnt be more wrong on pretty much everything. ugh. i dont know. just take the exact opposite point of view on everything you posted and that is where i sit.
i am a colts fan. you can be a manning fan
Wow! That was so well said Greg. I wish this was the article that was posted at the top of the IndyStar instead of that Kravitz nonsence. You put into words how the vast majority of Colts fans feel and I can only hope that through twitter and the like, they all get a chance to read it. Well done chap.
PS: I have been downloading your podcast the last month and have really come to look forward to it. Keep up the good work!
For some reason I just saw your post, Greg. So before delving in the comments section, let me just say: I completely agree with you. Kudos for writing this, and great work.
@DCcookster hi, yea, really odd for Irsay to call anyone out on "keeping things in the family", when you consider his twitter account
This was a great post.
In Brandt's articles, what I took out as the most telling (probably because this is the conclusion I had already come to) is that Irsay wants Manning to just retire. Instead of fretting that he would be losing the services of the greatest player he will probably ever have, Irsay just wants to be relieved of having to make difficult decisions.
Manning's contract was signed while he was still trying to rehabilitate from the second surgery but before the third. I suspect that Manning and his agent are very smart, but they were also a bit lucky in that circumstances have ended up that they do have all the leverage.
And why shouldn't they? Irsay was the first to go public with the "why can't we have both" scenario, Regardless of what he was thinking, the prudent thing to say at the time would have been "I have the best QB in the league, I'm not even thinking about that right now."
I firmly believe that having Manning and Luck on the roster is true doomsday for the Colts. (I know Irsay does not feel this way, but I respectfully disagree with him.) Manning's contract just insures this will not happen. And really, if it was set up any differently, Irsay may be tempted to go the PR safe route and try to keep both Peyton and Luck.
I think this whole thing vould have been avoided had Manning not talked to the media. Irsay did not help the situation by his comments but I'm sure it was in defense of the Colts has a whole. It doesn't bother me that they haven't mentioned Manning at all in any of these press conferences. Why would they? This is about the Colts as a whole, not one player. Manning himself has said that when there is something report, he would make a statement. He has nothing to report as far as his injury so the media wants to stir crap. There is no way you can convince me that those statements were not thought out by Manning. It would absolutely suck to be in his situation but there is a way to conduct yourself if in that situation. He is not above the Colts. You can make an agruement that he is the face of the franchise that he made the Colts but he is not above that. Every player deserves respect, not one deserves more than the other. I am holding off on the celebrating a legacy until that legacy is officially over. Manning says he wants to play whether that is going to happen is yet to be seen. I'm not going to be celebrating him leaving for a different team. Why would anyone? Now, when it comes time to retire thats a whole new thing. I want Manning to retire a Colt. It won't be the same if he's not on the field but we have to move forward. Now is not the time to be celebrating anything especiallly with Manning saying he wants to play.
@MarcusDugan sure thing
@bigcoltsfan1987 I think Manning will convince himself that he IS healthy, even if he's not. All the more reason for Irsay to be honest
@JasonSpears_410 well, his username is 19>18, so I'm guessing or a while
@NYKings it doesn't take you to a specific comment?
@omahacolt A post like this from the same person who just criticized me for being rude? "I don't know why you have to be so rude to a guy that is just expressing his opinion." THOSE ARE YOUR EXACT WORDS TO ME. How about practicing what you preach? Kinda weird how your feelings toward being cordial to others changes from post to post.
@omahacolt I am a Colts fan. If Manning signs elsewhere, I will still be a Colts fan. Nothing will change the fact that I cheer for the Colts.
I'm also a fan of respect. The fact that you aren't says more about you than me.
@DougEngland Brandt´s opinion that Irsay just wants Peyton to retire is incredibly upsetting to me, because even if the Colts might have to make the toughest of decisions regarding Manning, them making public statements to pressure Peyton is incredibly disrespectful. Also, Brandt´s allusions to Favre made me want to go on a rampage. Those two situations are not comparable, for Hiro´s sake. Favre retired and unretired 3 times while expecting his team to be at his beck and call forever before the Packers decided they were better off without a selfish player who always tried to play loose with his obligations to the team. Peyton is in the midst of his contract, one he signed trying to give the Colts all the advantages in the world. If nobody knew how serious his condition would turn out to be, it includes 18. He didn´t know. Why are people saying he schemed to put the Colts into this position? Irsay´s declarations are to blame for all the public dissent we´ve seen lately.
@PancakesPodcast well then he's a moron. 18 built this sh*t, he deserves respect
@PancakesPodcast no maybe b/c I'm using Chrome? Idk
@Peyton for President i didnt say anything rude. i commented on the article. i disliked his article without insulting him. you should try that
@omahacolt I'm bored, so I went through your post history. Apparently, being a Colts fan in your mind means, "demeaning Peyton Manning whenever possible."
Also, your comments on Andrew Luck show a complete lack of understanding reality.
@omahacolt@Peyton for President Well then, in the interest of being honest and "critical," your opinions are worthless. To suggest that Irsay should not feel obligated to treat someone with respect--anyone with respect--is nonsense. Manning is a human being, and a valuable part of the community in Indianapolis. As such, he deserves to be treated with respect in a situation that is not ideal and will not end happily.
Secondly, any suggestion that we know anything about Luck, is misguided. Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Alex Smith, Chris Wienke, and Ryan Leaf were all dubbed "great franchise QB's" by draft gurus. Cam Newton was panned last year. The experts know nothing (neither do we), which is why you treat the legend with respect, and treat the potential guy with caution.
Please, in the future, learn to include thinking in your posts.
@Peyton for President i wasnt implying that he isnt a real colts fan. i was implying that he is more of a manning fan. i really felt the article was horrible. i dont know of a better way to say that. its not really insulting. it is critical.
@omahacolt You really don't think you were rude? You don't think you could have criticized the article without calling it horrible and implying he wasn't a real Colts fan?
@GregC well goeland, i am not going to pretend to know the future
@GregC wait a second, how do you know that luck isnt a franchise qb? as you stated many times, for no reason, he hasnt even taken a snap yet. luck may be 10 times better than manning. you dont know but you criticize me for making an educated guess on his ability at the next level. hypocrite much?
damn near every expert or scout says that luck is good and has the ability to be a franchise qb. are they wrong too? how do you know this and they dont?
manning has always been treated with respect. no reason to state otherwise
the colts owe manning nothing but a decision on if they will keep him or cut him. thats it. manning got paid this year. he needs to keep his mouth shut and go to work until a decision is made about his future. its that simple
Very well said Goeland. Omaha you need to go read Kuharsky's article. He is saying the exact same thing as Greg, just not as detailed or as well. And Greg, quit trying to defend yourself against this guy. He clearly is biased against Manning and you clearly said nothing that needs defending.
@GregC@omahacolt When someone like Kuharsky, who has followed the AFC South for years, but is mainly a follower of the Titans, and who is known for his even-keeled approach to most aspects of football criticizes the Colts for the way they´re handling this transition period and Peyton´s situation, it means the problem is not that rabid Manning fans can´t deal with reality. So it´s too hard for the Colts to tell Manning in private they´ve already decided to move on, but it´s not too hard for them to build in a matter of days a whole public organizational demeanor that excludes him? Give me a break.
@omahacolt I don't dislike Luck, at all. You should probably ask yourself why you're unable to read someone's words without assigning unspoken values to them.
I think Manning should be treated with respect, I layout how that could happen. I specifically say he shouldn't be consulted on moves or be assured a spot on the roster. You say I'm "worshiping" him.
You say that Luck is a franchise QB. I question saying that about someone that has never been voted the best player in college football (a fact) nor has ever taken a snap in the NFL (also a fact). You take that to mean I hate Andrew Luck.
I have no biases. I want the Colts to succeed, but respecting Manning doesn't have to get in the way of success. If the Colts have no intention of keeping Manning, tell him now. It may be hard, it may be painful, but it's the respectful thing to do.
I want the Colts to succeed, but Andrew Luck is no guarantee. And if you think so, if you think he's as good as Manning, or that he's a franchise QB, flatly, you're wrong.
@GregC wow. he has the ability to be a franchise qb. what is so hard about that? why do you dislike luck so much? manning will probably never play again
@omahacolt *best player in college, sorry
@omahacolt A 22-year old Franchise NFL QB that has never taken a snap in the NFL and wasn't, according to voters, the best player in the NFL.
How many QBs, exactly, have been "Franchise" QBs at 22? Even if they've taken a snap in the NFL?
@GregC you are putting words in my mouth. i never said anything about being a hall of fame quarterback with luck. i do believe he is a franchise qb. i do believe he will be a good qb and he is the best player in college football.
@omahacolt See, you didn't read the article. I don't worship him either.
I did, however, read your post history. You have a thing for demeaning or diminishing Manning, that's cool.
Every other vet on the roster that has been asked about, by name, has been mentioned, by name, in the press conferences/interviews. That they are going out of their way to not even say Manning's name is insulting and foolish.
And once again, I read your post history. Andrew Luck is a franchise, hall of fame quarterback. Without being the best player in college football or taking a snap in the NFL.
@GregC i disagree with your post here. i dont deman manning. i understand that he is a football player and not a hero. i dont worship the guy. to say that the guy deserves more when he has been paid handsomely for his work in indy is just foolish to me.
all i say about andrew luck is that we should draft him. which we should