Jim Irsay recently sat down with Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star to discuss “The Decision” to trade football superstar Peyton Manning. During their interview, Irsay revealed that former Colts GM, Bill Polian, wanted to trade Manning in 2004 in order to get “a bunch of defensive players.” Irsay’s response to Polian was simple: “Understand something, Bill. We are not trading Peyton Manning, period.”
Manning stayed with the Colts, signing a seven year, $99.2 million contract in March of 2004. He and the Colts went on to win a Super Bowl XLI in 2007 and to play in a second Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. Manning also won several MVP awards during his time with the Colts, including one in 2004. Clearly, the decision to keep Manning was a wise one.
Unfortunately, Manning’s 14 years with the Colts came to an end in 2012. His release from the team was an emotional one for all involved, particularly Irsay. Irsay said he “knew it had ended,” after the Colts’ 2011 season-ending loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He said that on his “way to the airport, there were tears rolling down my face.”
The backlash Irsay received for The Decision was intense, and the public’s response, especially on Twitter, was highly negative. While “The Decision” was a difficult one for all involved, it seems that Irsay made the right choice, especially after the Colts’ 11-5 season; and Manning is playing for a team that earned the No. 1 spot in the AFC Playoffs. The situation turned out to be a win-win and Irsay said that he’d “make all the same decisions if [he] had to make them all over again. [He doesn’t] have any doubts about that.”