Apparently, Colts owner Jim Irsay appreciates those Star Wars numbers, after all.
“Few have left their marks on a sport as Peyton Manning has,” Irsay said in a statement issued Sunday afternoon. “Simply put, he revolutionized NFL football. Peyton energized it as had no one before him, he made it more fun for our fans, and made the game better.
“Off the field, Peyton has been a tremendous ambassador for the game and the epitome of someone who gives back to the community. He is the most recognizable face in the history of the NFL, and perhaps its most popular.
“I will miss seeing #18 on the field on Sundays and I am proud and thankful for all he’s done for the Colts, our community, and the NFL. On behalf of Colts and NFL fans worldwide, I thank Peyton and congratulate him on an incredible career.”
Irsay may not be thrilled about the last four years of Manning’s career, especially since it was clear four years ago that Irsay hoped Manning would do then what Manning is doing now. Since being cut by the Colts, Manning’s Broncos have accomplished considerably more than Irsay’s Colts. Now that Manning is finally retiring, Irsay no longer will have to worry about his current team being compared to Manning’s.