Bob Kravitz says that although it appears Peyton Manning’s time in Indianapolis is over placing blame on either owner Jim Irsay or the future Hall of Famer would be inappropriate. In fact when it’s all over very little will have changed between the two:
Surely, the relationship between Irsay and Manning has taken a hit and been strained. Manning had some issues with the way Irsay handled his business in recent months. Irsay was upset with some of the things Manning said to me in a story in The Star and was flabbergasted by the recent Manning-throwing video.
In the end, though, the relationship will endure and re-strengthen once the divorce proceedings are complete. These two men have done too many remarkable things together, taken too fantastic a journey, for it all to fall apart now. When the two profess their love and admiration for one another this afternoon, do not cynically dismiss it as a bunch of empty happy talk. It is real. It is very real.
Once you get past the nostalgia and wistfulness today’s presser will surely bring there are few parties that share in the blame including both Manning and Irsay. You can make the case that Bill Polian’s decision to not have a veteran or reliable QB on the roster behind Manning is to blame. You can blame Jim Caldwell for not winning more games in 2012. You can blame Gregg Williams and his ruthless bounty system. You can even blame Tony Dungy for retiring when we all felt he had gas in the tank. It’s all pointless and in some cases misplaced blame however: the cold reality is that this is a business decision and nothing more.
This has little to do with emotion and much to do with finances and the perceived best interests of the team. Peyton Manning will be appreciated, lionized and possibly even hated should his post-Colts career take a Brett Favre dramatic turn. He’ll be knighted in some circles, reviled in others. None of that changes the fact that Jim Irsay felt that paying $28 million for a thirty-six year old quarterback who is recovering from four neck procedures in nineteen months was not in the best interest of the team. Emotions will be high but the bottom line is that this decision was all about the bottom line.
Perhaps the realization that this is strictly a business decision is the most disheartening part of this long saga.