A lot of talking and game is still days away

October, 16, 2013
10/16/13
10:43
AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- Who needs Sunday’s game between the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos?

The sideshow that’s taking place right now may end up being better than the game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Never mind. Let me stop right there. Peyton Manning facing his former team in the city where he spent the first 14 years of his NFL career. You can't beat that. But what’s going on with Colts owner Jim Irsay and others is keeping you occupied until Sunday night.

Here’s a quick recap:

Broncos coach John Fox accused Irsay of taking a “cheap shot” at Manning in a story published by USA Today earlier this week.

Irsay told USA Today that the Colts have changed their model “a little bit” with Andrew Luck as quarterback because Irsay wants “more than one of these [rings]."

“[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these [rings]," Irsay told the newspaper. "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 this [ring]."

Fox defended his quarterback on SiriusXM on Tuesday:

“To me, in my opinion, they were disappointing and inappropriate,” Fox said. “I mean, Peyton would never say anything. He’s too classy to do that. But they sounded a little ungrateful and unappreciative to me for a guy that has set a standard, won a Super Bowl, won division titles, won four MVP awards. I’d be thankful with that one Super Bowl ring because there’s a lot of people that don’t have one.”

Fox’s comments caused Irsay to respond to criticism he’s received on Twitter overnight:
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We're almost finished -- for now.

Former Colts general manager Bill Polian got into the mix when he responded to Irsay’s comments on SiriusXM on Wednesday morning.

"Truthfully, I don't know," he said. "I think [Irsay’s] got some misstatements of fact in there. For one thing, I don't believe that Baltimore had two at the time that we were fired, all of us, Peyton, me and the rest of the staff, [coach] Jim Caldwell at the end of the '11 season. ...

"I really don't know what to make of it to tell you the truth. I do know that he was very upset after the loss in the second Super Bowl and I think it's pretty telling that getting to the Super Bowl in his mind doesn't count. And for anyone who is in the game and who has to make that journey from training camp to the Super Bowl, you know that it's awfully difficult to get there.

"And as John Fox said today, if you have one, you count yourself lucky. I've had teams that have been to six Super Bowls and won one. I'm not ashamed of that record by any means, and I'm certainly not ashamed of what we did in Indianapolis."

It seems like Irsay’s comments were directed more at Polian and how he built the team than they were at Manning.

And just think, there’s still a few more days until the game. Who knows what will be said next.

Mike Wells

ESPN Indianapolis Colts reporter

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