James Irsay (born June 13, 1959 in Lincolnwood, Illinois) is the owner of the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League. The son of a Jewish father (Robert Irsay) and a Polish mother, he attended high school at Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois, a suburb just north of Chicago, Illinois. Irsay graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1982.
Raised as a Catholic, Jim Irsay was 12 years old when his father Robert Irsay purchased the Baltimore Colts. After graduating from SMU, he began working for the Colts in 1982. He started by working at the ticket counter and then later in the team's public relations department. Jim was named general manager in 1984, one month after the Colts made their controversial move to Indianapolis. After his father suffered a stroke in 1995, Jim assumed day-to-day management of the team. When his father died in 1997, Jim had a legal battle with his stepmother but later became the youngest NFL team owner at that time. He was 37. He controls 100% of the franchise.
Irsay has a habit of quoting rock music. It is rumored that he brings his guitar on Colts road trips and will play until 2 or 3 in the morning. In 2001, Irsay purchased the original manuscript of On The Road, or "the scroll": a continuous, one hundred twenty-foot scroll of tracing paper sheets that Jack Kerouac cut to size and taped together, for $2.43 million. Also, Irsay is a big fan of British rock band The Who. Irsay has also acquired guitars originally owned by Elvis Presley, George Harrison, and Jerry Garcia.