Josh Katzowitz is a writer for CBS Sports whom I do not know. I see his byline regularly, and he is worth a read.
Today, he is a particularly good read for Colts fans.
Josh rated the 10 best NFL owners he would pick if one could be in charge of his team. Starting from 10-to-three, it read: Pat Bowlen (Denver), Shad Khan (Jacksonville), Bob McNair (Houston), John Mara (New York Giants), Arthur Blank (Atlanta), Packers fans, Rooney family (Pittsburgh) and Steve Bisciotti (Baltimore).
Jim Irsay was ranked number two.
Thanks, Josh, great choice, and here is what he wrote:
2. Jim Irsay: Compared to his father, Bob, who was much maligned by many of the people who knew him, the 53-year-old Jim is an absolute godsend for Colts fans. Even without the shadow of his father, though, Jim Irsay is one of the most fun owners around. He plays around on Twitter, and he gives away free stuff to his followers. Plus, he hires the right kind of personnel — general manager Ryan Grigson so far, coach Tony Dungy and Jim Caldwell (for a time, anyway) — and the organization’s decision to draft Peyton Manning rather than Ryan Leaf in 1998 was obviously a huge difference-maker. But Irsay is an empathetic sort, and the sendoff given to Manning by Irsay and the Colts was representative of the NFL that we’d like to see more often. Not to mention how the team handled Chuck Pagano’s cancer scare last season. Irsay is fun, and his team has been successful since he took over in 1997. What’s not to love?
Josh hit a number of highlights of Jim’s tenure that started in 1997 with the passing of his father (whom I worked under also from 1985-97 and was much, much more pleasant than anyone knew).
Jim’s first year was a little rough on the field with the end of a regime coming, and it marked the start of a new era.
Leading from the front, Jim installed Bill Polian, oversaw the drafting of Peyton Manning and directed while a blueprint put in place led to a wildly successful extended run.
Jim always has known the value of people and leadership, and he has attracted many successful individuals through the years and let them perform (two currently are Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano).
On his watch, Indianapolis has become one of the elite franchises on and off the field.
The team won division titles in 1999, 2003-07, 08-10, played in three AFC Championship games (winning two) and two Super Bowls (winning one).
The franchise’s 115 regular-season wins from 2000-09 is the winningest decade ever. That’s E-V-E-R, but then the NFL only has been around about 90 years.
The team won an NFL-record 23 straight regular-season games from 2008-09.
From November 16, 2003 to December 13, 2009, the Colts were 81-19 in regular-season play, tying the all-time mark for the most wins over 100 games.
Colts fans responded accordingly. As partners, the Colts and their fans have sold out 87 straight games and 121 of the last 122. Full-voiced participants have made this one of the NFL’s toughest stops.
Jeff Saturday recalled recently the team’s 35-34 comeback win over New England in 2009 when the team rallied from a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to win in the final seconds that he remembered lining up for the winning extra point and saw the network camera shaking because of the rocking nature of the fans. (That win was number 18 in a row. New England owned the two longest streaks at 21 and 18 games, so the victory there over a huge foe carried an additional footnote.)
Jim has energized those fans with his product and with a sustained run of excellence. In addition to touring the Lombardi Trophy throughout Indiana (50 stops, 3,130 miles), he even created a challenge that let five fans eventually win authentic Super Bowl rings.
Jim interacts almost daily via Twitter and is just a nose shy of a quarter-million followers. His charitable nature is on frequent display, and one of the most tangible fruits of his labor was Indianapolis hosting Super Bowl XLVI.
I could go on. Suffice to say, Josh, thanks for the recognition. In mentioning Jim with his brethren that also includes Robert Kraft, you made a wise choice.
Lunch is on me the next time you’re in town.
Tags: chuck pagano, Jim Irsay, ryan grigson
Posted in Colts Blog