Colts Calamity: What Could’ve Happened if Irsay Listened to Thompson
A recent report came out that Hunter S. Thompson offered Jim Irsay a large amount of money if he would have drafted Ryan Leaf back in 1998. What would have happened if Irsay had listened?
Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf will always be intertwined in history. The two quarterbacks were touted as can’t miss prospects. There were hotly contested debates on who the Colts should take at number one overall. Everyone had their own opinion.
Apparently Hunter S. Thompson had a very strong one. In a recent report by ESPN’s Mike Wells, Thompson apparently wrote Colts Owner Jim Irsay a letter urging him to draft Leaf. If he did so, Thompson would give Irsay a $30 million loan. Thompson was a wealthy journalist and author.
Irsay obviously decided against that move, drafting Manning number one overall. The rest is history. Manning is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, while Leaf flamed out after just three seasons. But what would have happened if the Colts decided to draft Leaf instead?
The Colts certainly wouldn’t of had as much success as they had with Manning. But Leaf might have had a slightly better career. In Indianapolis, Leaf wouldn’t have been allowed to act like he did. The organization would have put better people around him to help him succeed.
How much good that would have done is up to debate. Leaf has said he was arrogant and stupid back in his playing days. What can be said is that there is no denying that Irsay made the right decision, and seems to have done the same in drafting Andrew Luck over Robert Griffin III.
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$30 million is a lot of money to turn down. But when you’re Jim Irsay and already a multi-millionaire, you can afford to turn down money like that to do what you think is right. And that’s what he did.