The story: according to Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning told his in December 2012 to take Andrew Luck in the draft. Bronco's coach John Fox saw that as Irsay taking a dig at Manning; in other words, "Please draft Luck, so I can finally leave Indy." The story, in brief, is here.
"Peyton would never say anything. He's too classy to do that. They sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me. For a guy who has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won four MVP awards … be thankful of that one Super Bowl ring, because a lot of people don't have one."
Whether it was Manning's idea or not, the Colts did indeed use the first overall pick that April on Luck. Manning returns to Indianapolis Sunday with the team he chose later that summer, the Denver Broncos. Luck is the opposing quarterback, with a 16-8 career regular-season and postseason record after Monday night’s loss in San Diego
First of all, Manning might have said that because he's pretty bloody smart, as we've established. After watching how everyone performed after last year's draft, the clear #1 best rookie was Andrew Luck. The NFL is finally starting to appreciate that, thankfully.
Also, while Manning is one of the classiest NFL players I've ever seen, his comments – if true – were hardly asking for Indy to let him go. If anything, they were honest. Period. It's not a cheap shot; Irsay's just trying to tell the media that Peyton believed in Andrew Luck before the draft.
Because the media eats that sort of thing up.
Finally, as a side note … Indy, despite its success, would have been a mediocre team without Manning. Their run defense has been terrible for years. Without Manning, Indy went 2-14. Guys like Dallas Clark and Pierre Garcon, turned into stars by Manning, haven't accrued nearly the same success outside (specifically Clark). What I'm trying to say is this: Manning does not resent Indy, and is not unappreciative … but if he were, I would kinda understand.