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In moving on from Manning, Irsay says he chose championships over stats

Jim Irsay, Peyton Manning

Quarterback Peyton Manning, left, listens as Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay announces that the NFL football team will release quarterback Peyton Manning during a news conference in Indianapolis, Wednesday, March 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


If the Colts end up losing two games in six days, they can thank in part their owner.

For starters, Jim Irsay went public last week with the plans for welcoming Peyton Manning back to town with a “great tribute.” It may have caused some of his players to lose focus on the more pressing challenge of beating the Chargers. (Though the impact on the players is debatable, if he had said nothing before Monday’s game, the chances of Irsay creating a distraction would have been zero.)

Now, Irsay is giving Peyton a little grist for his ever-churning Manning-face mill.

In an interview with Jarret Bell of USA Today, Irsay eventually boils the departure of Peyton down to one fact: Irsay preferred to chase team achievements, not individual ones.

“We’ve changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these,” Irsay said, referring to his Super Bowl XLI ring. "[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these. 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.”

And again, Irsay pointed to the ring.

Though buried under less inflammatory (but possibly specious) notions like “Peyton told me to draft Andrew Luck” and “we couldn’t fit both players under the salary cap,” Peyton will see it. And Peyton will view it as a slap in the face. And Peyton won’t be happy about it.

Then again, Peyton seems to only be happy when he’s not happy about something.

And if/when Peyton hangs 50 on the Colts, he can grab the game ball, cram it into Irsay’s midsection, and tell him to stick this in his trophy case.