If you had “Jim Irsay will externalize blame for his inflammatory comments about Peyton Manning” in the office pool, congratulations.
As expected, the Colts owner has reacted to the reaction to his “championships over stats” comments regarding his former franchise quarterback.
“Those expressing negativity about the concept of building well rounded teams around great QBs 2 achieve Championships have negative agendas,” Irsay say early Wednesday morning on Twitter.
In other words, Irsay believes Broncos coach John Fox has a “negative agenda.” Along with anyone else who read Irsay’s comments as being a slap at Peyton Manning.
“We’ve changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these,” Irsay told USA Today, referring to his Super Bowl XLI 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 [championships].”
Reasonable minds can differ on whether those words amount to a shot at Peyton Manning. Interpreting Irsay’s comments to mean that Irsay became “frustrated” by Peyton’s inability to play in the postseason like he plays in the regular season hardly emanates from a “negative agenda.” It’s a fair interpretation of the words that came out of Irsay’s mouth.
“The noise doesn’t bother me,” Irsay adds, one tweet after proving that the noise does indeed bother him. “[T]o quote the most loved Ind Colt of all time ‘I wanted to stay, Jim wanted me to stay, circumstances forced r hand.’”
That’s fine, but why say anything more about the separation than what Peyton said? Irsay gave it a different feel by trying to explain the circumstances as coming in part from a desire to build a team that doesn’t go one-and-done in seven of 11 playoff appearances.
Irsay is making the situation worse by trying to blame the listener and not the speaker for comments that fairly can be construed as being critical of Peyton Manning. And that will make Sunday night’s game even more compelling — unless and until the Broncos are up 38-3 at halftime.