There have been many breakups in the NFL between players and organizations as discussed here: Top 10 NFL Breakups; All Good Things Must Come To an End.
At the end of all these relationships between players and owners, 9 out of 10 times it never works out, where they can be civil with one another either through the media or just face-to-face. I think back to Joe Montana leaving San Francisco or Marcus Allen leaving the Raiders and how those cases got ugly.
However, the one out of 10 case showed up today. Jim Irsay is a complete class act. Have you ever seen anyone release a player and hold a press conference just for that? He was very emotional and he showed on his face how hard it was to come to this decision. He wished Manning would finish his career in Indy, but then at the same token spoke on how he wishes instant success for Manning. I thought that was the most classiest moment for Irsay. You looked at the podium, and it was just Jim Irsay, who was instrumental in drafting Manning 14-years ago, and Peyton Manning – the 14-year veteran. There were no coaches, or general manager, just the two guys that have the most respect for each other.
There were many moments when these two guys had to hold back their tears, and I understand why Manning did. To see Jim Irsay hold back the tears; I was very impressed he acted that way.
In all my years as a fan of this league, I have never felt more sorrier for an owner and his fans. It wasn’t the realization of the idea that Manning, the football player, is leaving; it was the sad realization that Manning, the great guy, is leaving the organization.
The city of Indianapolis and the football community will miss #18, and there will never be a guy like Manning to put on a Colts uniform again. The Indianapolis Colts will never be the same after Manning.
Follow me on Twitter @cbbatchelder, or “like” my Facebook page Christopher B. Batchelder-Rant Sports