The Colts’ Circus at W. 56th Street

Posted: January 4, 2018 by cschrump in Uncategorized

by Chad Schrump

There is an eerie, almost cult-like fascination by a vocal minority in the city of Indianapolis about whether or not Colts’ owner Jim Irsay should “open or keep shut” the mostly tax funded, Lucas Oil Stadium roof each Sunday Game Day. If you visit Twitter, Irsay’s page is literally flooded with comments, most of which brutally criticize his decision regarding the $100M roof, regardless of whether it stays closed or is painstakingly opened.

Mercifully, the 2017 Colts’ campaign ended last Sunday with a win and at least until next August, we won’t have to debate the roof decision. This column won’t discuss Lucas Oil Stadium and its roof any longer but instead, we should talk about the ‘Big Top’ that’s currently covering the Indianapolis Colts’ complex on W. 56th Street.

Grab the kids and even your neighbors then come on over because over the course of the last week, Irsay’s workplace has become a full-blown circus!

Where to start? Let’s begin with the Colts, last Friday, finally trotting out their $140M franchise quarterback to meet with the media regarding the shoulder that refuses to heal.  Andrew Luck, noticeably bigger and stronger than the last time he met the Indy media, still seemed, to me, like a guy that’s depressed and had absolutely no desire to be meeting with anyone, much less media.

Andrew discussed feeling “like a distraction” and “not truly being part of the team.” Those feelings are to be expected.  I’m not sure how an injured player can feel like he’s part of any sport’s team, much less a football team, where major injuries are the norm – not the exception.  The mantra is “next man up” and is heeded at an entirely different level in the NFL.

What had me scratching my head most about Luck’s long overdue presser, was that he felt he had to go to Europe, specifically the Netherlands, to receive physical therapy. That he “felt like a distraction and was being pulled in different directions.”  What?  You couldn’t have gone to Mobile, Alabama for said treatment?  You couldn’t have gone to Kalamazoo, Michigan?  Phoenix?  You had to go to Europe?  Huh?  I’ve had physical therapy before and felt inconvenienced when I had to drive 15 minutes, three days a week! Can you imagine traveling 4,000 miles and staying in Europe for a couple months to get the necessary PT?  That just seems absurd to me.  Luck says he didn’t have any other procedures done, only therapy.

Okay then. Whatever you say, Andrew.  You have to admit, that’s just really bizarre.

Luck went on to say that he’s not putting a timetable on his rehab but felt like he’d be a full go for all of the off-season workouts, OTA’s, etc. Essentially, that’s putting a timetable on it but I get what he’s saying.  His “gut tells him that he does not need another surgery” so we’ll just have to roll with the limited information we’ve gotten.  Jacoby Brissett is a really nice backup – maybe with time, a damn good starter – but I need Mr. Luck back under center to lead this team into its future.  Not Brissett.  Not some hotshot #1 draft pick.

But damn, when’s he going to throw a football again!?

After Sunday’s unnecessary, but comically expected victory against the Texans, which cost Indy the #2 pick in the upcoming draft, Chuck Pagano was finally put out to pasture. This was a very, very, very long time coming and came with essentially little to no fanfare.  Chuck was presented with a game ball in front of his football team by Irsay and then an hour later, was presented with a pink slip.

Image result for pagano game ball

Bing, bam, boom, done. Should have happened at the end of the 2015 season but at least the deed is done.

The Colts released a statement to the news outlets and through social media accounts but Pagano wasn’t paraded in front of the media to say goodbye and thankfully, Irsay didn’t speak about the termination Sunday. Irsay would speak plenty the following day.

Which brings us to Monday. Just wow.

Colts’ GM Chris Ballard and Irsay met with the media in the late afternoon to discuss the state of the franchise and my oh my, was it something to behold.

Irsay said repeatedly that Ballard would do the “heavy lifting” and present him with a worthy head coaching candidate to hire. He said that he doesn’t remember a time that he didn’t agree with his GM when presented a candidate to make head coach.  That had to be good news to the Colts’ GM – that he could hire “his guy” and not an Irsay-like “splashy” hire, i.e. Jon Gruden, Nick Saban, Jim Harbaugh, etc.  This frees up Ballard to find a man that he can work with, hand in hand and build something special.

The more Chris Ballard talks, the more I realize how much I already trust his decision making. There’s a very real sense of cockiness, and maybe that’s not the right word, when it comes to Ballard.  It feels like he knows that he was born to put a football franchise together.  That he was bred to build a winner.  He’s quietly confident and has an air of superiority about him that seems real and necessary, yet doesn’t overpower the room.  I love listening to him speak and gain more and more confidence in him the more I do but unfortunately for those in attendance Monday afternoon, Jim Irsay and his random thoughts took center stage and engulfed his GM.

Irsay rambled on and on about who knows what and God knows who, seemingly channelling his inner Bill Walton even so much as looking menacingly at a writer that had written some unfavorable things about him in the Indianapolis Star and raising his voice at him.

It was comical.

It was sad.

Image result for luck press conference friday

At one point, the same writer that asked Irsay the question that had previously riled him up – bravely asked another which then prompted a 12-minute soliloquy that made about as much sense as when a dental patient coming out of anaesthesia and being secretly recorded, starts talking gibberish and then the video is posted on social media.  Go to YouTube and watch one of those videos and then listen to Irsay – not much difference between the two.  Just unintelligible ramblings like you can’t even fathom.

Don’t get me started on the fact that this guy says “um” about 15-20 times per minute. That is not an exaggeration.  It’s insane.  He is perhaps the worst speaker I have ever listened to, maybe even worse than Trump.  Now that’s saying something!  Has there ever been such a high profile individual that can’t publicly speak – yet talks incessantly? Insists on talking, even! Once started, there is no shutting off the spigot that controls Jim Irsay’s mouth.  The man can speak for an hour and not tell you a thing.  It’s truly amazing.

And people are listening to this! Potential head coaches are listening and thinking, “Man, what is going on in Indianapolis?  Who is running that show?  Do I want to be part of that?

Yes, my friends, Irsay professes that Chris Ballard is in charge of football operations, which he absolutely needs to be, but it’s pretty easy to see and hear that Irsay is having a difficult time letting him.

It’s painfully obvious that Ballard is going to have a difficult time being ringmaster and running this circus.

You see, unfortunately, a clown keeps stealing the show.




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