Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay hold up the Lombardi Trophy, behind him, Peyton Manning (18) applauds. (UPI Photo/Mark Cowan) | License Photo
(UPI) -- Jim Irsay didn't mean to take what some are calling a cheap shot at Peyton Manning's career with the Colts.
The Colts owner, who has taken a fair amount of heat for intimating the team dumped Manning for Stanford draftee Andrew Luck because Luck would better lead the team to a Super Bowl win denied that interpretation.
"My comments meant if we gave Peyton better [special teams and defense], we would have won more than [one Super Bowl], instead of asking Peyton [to do] too much," Irsay tweeted Wednesday morning.
"It's hard [to see] how any individual could understand them any other way, but [controversy] sells so I understand the games: 'Let's get something started'."
He went on to call Manning his vote for greatest quarterback of his era.
Part of Irsay's reasoning, Super Bowl pursuit or no, was the big $28 million bonus the team would have owed Manning if he'd stayed with the team. Luck, with a salary limited by a rookie cap, earns just $5.025 million this year.
But it's hard to interpret Irsay's comment in the generous light he's now claiming they were made.
"We've changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these," he said, holding up his hand, on it his Super Bowl XLI championship ring. "[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has two of these. Pittsurgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and he 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," Irsay said. "You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]."
Then he held up his ring-adorned hand again: "Mostly, you love this."