Fran Tarkenton, the Hall of Fame quarterback and 18-year NFL veteran, slammed Indianapolis Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay for his unappreciative comments regarding Peyton Manning in the run-up to this Sunday's game between the Colts and Denver Broncos – Manning's current team.
Calling the Colts' owner an "embarrassment" to the game, Tarkenton responded to an interview Irsay gave to USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday
in which he displayed his disappointment with the team having won just one Super Bowl during Manning's time with the Colts, despite his having taken the franchise to the playoffs eleven times.
After remarking about how poorly the team was doing prior to Manning's arrival, Tarkenton said, "Peyton Manning comes on the scene and Peyton Manning in the next 13 years, he takes them to the playoffs 11 times."
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"So here's Irsay. . . He gets on television and says, 'ahh his records are ok and his stats are ok but their just stats, what it's about is the Super Bowl ring, getting more Super Bowl rings, and with Peyton here we only got one,' and he's showing off his ring."
"What did Jim Irsay have to do with that ring?" asks a noticeable agitated Tarkenton.
"He never put on a jockstrap in his life. He never coached a team, never did any personnel, never put his hands in the dirt. And he's showing off the ring. Taking credit for it I guess, and he's taking a shot at Peyton Manning," Tarkenton continued.
"You only win one Super Bowl, that’s not a blessing man, you gotta be I guess an owner whose never strapped it on, to understand that," Tarkenton said.
"You are an embarrassment Jim Irsay, to the legacy and history of this league.. . The great founding fathers of this league are rolling over in their grave of 'cause of what you have done," he added. "You're disgracing one of the greatest players to ever play the game and one of the greatest human beings to ever play the game, coming from a great NFL family – Archie, Eli, Peyton – who handle themselves with class. It's something that you have never done in your life, nor did your father. Shame on you!"
In the interview with USA TODAY Sports, Irsay is seen brandishing his single Super Bowl ring while saying, "we've changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these."
"(Tom) Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these," Irsay added. "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," Irsay concluded.
When asked on Wednesday for a reaction to Irsay's comments, Manning told the Indianapolis Star
, "To answer a question like that doesn't serve me well. It's just easier not to answer anything along those lines."
On Sunday, the 37-year-old Manning will have a chance to respond to his old boss on the field when his Broncos play the Colts at 8:30 p.m. EDT at Indiana's Lucas Oil Stadium.
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