Many times it is hard to quantify just how much credit or blame an owner deserves for the success or failures of a team. So with that in mind, how much does Jim Irsay deserve?
The Colts have been a good franchise for most of their tenure in Indianapolis. The success of the last decade plus has out-weighed the failure of the 80s and early 90s. But how much of that falls on owner Jim Irsay’s shoulders?
If you know anything about the history of the Colts, you know that Irsay was a young GM under his dad Bob. Irsay has experiencing managing a team. He was named GM in 1984, just after the team got to Indy. Much of the 80s falls onto his shoulders. The Colts only made the playoffs three times before he became an owner in 1997.
As an owner, Irsay has had much more success. That aligns with the team drafting Peyton Manning. Many people have said that that move’s success belongs to GM Bill Polian. While that is true, Irsay was also the man who hire Polian. Polian polished his Hall of Fame resume in Indy.
Irsay has also allowed his personnel to make their own football decisions without too much meddling. Plenty of former staffers have come out to talk about how great it was to work for Irsay because he allowed them to do their jobs without breathing down their neck.
Irsay has had faults of his own. His personal issues with prescription drug and alcohol abuse has clouded his tenure. He served a six game suspension in 2014 for his drug abuse problems that led to an OWI conviction.
In terms of football success, Irsay deserves a decent amount of credit. He has hired the right people around the football team over his time. Some of them eventually didn’t work out, but they all developed players fairly well. But he also deserves blame as well. Hiring Ryan Grigson as GM was a train wreck, and never should have happened.
All in all, Irsay’s legacy as an owner has mixed reviews. But still being relatively young, he has time to improve it for years to come.