It has been called "disrespectful". Just short of blasphemy. How could anyone have the audacity to criticize Peyton Manning ?
Truth of the matter is, Irsay's comments should really be viewed in the same vain as "The emperor's new clothes". Put under a microscope, Peyton Manning may not appear naked, but definitely not wearing much more than a raggedy pair of briefs.
Irsay brought up the fact that Manning-led Colts team were one and done 7 times in 11 playoff seasons. He also dared to bring up the fact that Manning only has one Super Bowl ring.
Manning averaged 11 wins per season while QB of the Indianapolis Colts. 7 out of 11 seasons, the team was one and done in the playoffs. Never before has there been a supposedly "One of the best of all time" QB's who's had such a dropoff from regular season to postseason performance. Even in the year they did win the Super Bowl, Manning threw more INT's than TD passes in that postseason (3TD's, 7 INT's) - He became the first QB ever to win a Super Bowl in the same postseason in which he threw more INT's than TD passes. Throw that out as a trivia question in a sports bar, watch the looks of disbelief, and then watch everyone start a google-search on their smartphones. Good thing he was opposite Rex Grossman in that Super Bowl.
Manning only has a career playoff record of 9-11. The worst career playoff winning percentage for any QB possessing a Super Bowl ring.
He threw the most egregious interception in Super Bowl history, vs New Orleans but somehow he is given a free pass.
He threw a pick6 and an interception in OT in last season's playoff loss to Baltimore, but all anyone talks about is Rahim Moore's blown coverage on Jacoby Jones.
I could go on, but you get the point. Oh yeah, he also lost a playoff game to a Jets' team led by Mark Sanchez.
In the NFL, the combination which results in multiple rings, is a great QB on a great team. All others are one-hit wonders. Dan Marino is always held accountable for not ever having won a Super Bowl. Bottom line is that Marino simply never had the team around him. The one year he did have a team (though flawed), they went 14-2 and went to the Super Bowl. Other than that year, Marino was really the lone bright light on an otherwise mediocre team. He had a career playoff record of 8-10, not that much different from Manning, but the disparity in regular season winning percentage is the difference. Regular season record indicates Manning had enough weapons around him, whereas Marino did not. Had Marino had the regular season success of Manning, I would consider him to be a "playoff choker" as well.
All the great QB's got multiple Super Bowl rings, during the years in which they were fortunate enough to be on great teams. Terry Bradshaw, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese, Bart Starr, Joe Montana, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Tom Brady, even Eli Manning deserves to be on the fringes of the list because Eli took advantage when his team was playing well and had some of the best clutch moments in Super Bowl history.
The often overlooked Jim Plunkett got two rings while with the Oakland Raiders, and is the only retired QB to have won multiple Super Bowls, and not be elected to the Pro Football Hall of fame..
Peyton Manning has not translated the great regular season record/numbers into playoff success, he simply hasn't. Even when individual accomplishments are examined, the dropoff is apparent. 112 career TD receptions between the QB/WR duo of Manning/Marvin Harrison. Career Playoff TD receptions between Manning and Harrison ? Only TWO. Go ahead, look it up.
Perhaps Irsay's comments might be considered ill-timed, given that the Manning-led Denver Broncos are playing the now Andrew Luck-led Colts this Sunday night, but sometimes the truth is not always delivered at the most convenient time.
Some may consider his comments to be a bit mean-spirited.
Some may think that Irsay should never have said what he said, but he did hit the nail on the head.
One more stat - Only ONE game winning drive in his playoff career (2006, when the New England Patriots inexplicably took their foot of the gas in fourth quarter of the AFC title game).
That is all.
* I apologize in advance, to all of you whom now cannot listen to any "Peyton Manning is the best QB of all-time" discussions without flashing a scowl of derision.