Peyton Manning vs. Jim Irsay: Whose Place is It?

COMMENTARY | The recent social and news media combat between Peyton Manning and Jim Irsay has been a distraction to this week’s big event, the Super Bowl. A disproportionate amount of sporting news this week has focused on the quotes of these two.

As interesting as the Super Bowl matchup is, it is far juicier to gossip and chat about the verbal jabs between Manning and Irsay in the media. There are so many storylines here, the biggest being will Peyton Manning collect the $28 million roster bonus due on March 8? Manning did not play all of the 2011 regular season due to neck surgery. Today, ESPN announced that Manning has been cleared to play again. The other consideration is that Jim Irsay as the owner of the Indianapolis Colts team, has the first pick of the 2012 draft due to their dreadful 2011 season without Manning.

At stake with this draft pick is no other than a proclaimed “once in a generation” quarterback in Stanford’s Andrew Luck. So the Colts and Irsay are facing a Prisoner’s Dilemma. Do you part ways with face of the franchise and go with the sure thing rookie or keep the veteran and keep the rookie? Of course, there is that matter of the $28 million roster bonus. That is a lot of money, but then again Manning has made perhaps 10 times that in revenues. Of course Peyton Manning is an enormously popular athlete, not just in Indianapolis, but in the entire United States. So what is a owner to do?

This is a lot like a major NASCAR driver changing owners and sponsors. You have to take off all the decals and repaint the car. The fans pay good money to see that driver in that car! What if the new driver is a total wash and all the fans abandon your product?

There is a lot at stake here.

So why is Jim Irsay acting like a rich, pompous jerk by constantly going on social media to knock Manning for his comments? This sounds like a guy who cannot make up his mind. Or maybe he has, and is only trying to state his case to the fans.

That is what makes this scenario so interesting. Which golden goose is going to lay the richest eggs? But for Peyton Manning, all he has to do is wait and see who will sign his next paycheck.

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