and a man of his word. Ward was also a total class act, regaling me with some classic tales from the 1980’s Colts closet of memories.
I’ll keep the contents of our 30-minute conversation private for now, but I didn’t ask Jim Irsay anything that I didn’t ask any of the other people I’ve interviewed for the book. We didn’t talk much about his father but he did make a few references and talked a lot about karma and having good people around him.
I’m not making this pronouncement solely because I sat down with Jim Irsay last week. He didn’t persuade me into anything and quite frankly it was a very professional and upbeat conversation in general.
I’m making this spiritual movement it because I feel like it’s the right thing to do for me. I thought about Jim Irsay on the flight home on Wednesday night as I reviewed the video. I realized that today was the 26th anniversary. I started to think about why I felt the way I have toward the Irsay name and the Colts and Indianapolis over the years and it’s not good to hold a lifelong grudge on people who had nothing to do with the move.
When I sat with Frank Kush a few weeks ago I had a few people intimate on Facebook that he somehow had a hand in the move. (This is a preposterous proposition if there ever was one and if you doubt that just look at last Tuesday’s owner’s vote. Owners own. Coaches coach. Period.)
Here’s Kush talking about the situation:
Let me also get this straight: I’ll never root FOR the Colts. Not any more than I’d root for the Broncos, Chiefs, Jaguars – whatever…
At this point I do root for the Jets or Bengals or Lions or any other team who I obviously have some friendships involved if you know anything about me and my radio show over the years. I can’t feel good about Marvin Lewis or Jim Schwartz or Mike Pettine or Rex Ryan losing. Call me biased, whatever…I just like good people!
Circa 2010, I just want to dislike the Colts for all of the right reasons – Peyton Manning’s facial expressions when they lose, the calls from Merton, their annual domination of our football team, losing big playoff games to them, etc. There are PLENTY of reasons to hate the Colts on the field that have nothing to do with Mayflower vans and Bob Irsay.
Beginning today, I’ll only focus on those and not on Bob Irsay. He’s dead. And so is my anger. And I’m going to do my solemn best to not be so spiritually moved into a bad place at the site of the blue horseshoe and that rare occasion when I see the uniforms and think of my Pop on 33rd Street. I’m going to try to think good thoughts about the present.
A couple of other things pointed me in this direction.
First, the many, many re-circulated pictures of the various Ravens fans pissing on Irsay’s grave literally came through my mind as I sat and talked to Jim Irsay. And I literally thought of Drew’s blog about it last month as I sat elbow-to-elbow with that man’s son and it creeped me out. And it made me sad that somehow I could be linked to that sort of behavior in a real or imagined sense.
I’ve often opined that the folks in Cleveland shouldn’t be so angry with Art Modell given what they’ve seen flourish with a new stadium and their God-given hideous, logo-less dawg suits and history in tact. They spent three years without a 4-12 train wreck of a team and awakened to everything they had before only better and sans Modell, whom they hated and the local government lied to repeatedly.
What I see in Cleveland in regard to Art Modell is mostly despicable and ugly, but all of it was perfected here in Baltimore with the Irsay family name years before.
It’s very real and visceral — let me assure you of that. I had as much anger as anyone. And seeing those pictures of our fans pissing on Irsay made me think about Art and David Modell and their journey through the world the last 15 years as well.
Here’s what Merton’s cousin from Indianapolis had to say about this very conflicted topic:
And if I ever expect the Cleveland people to get over Modell (and I don’t expect the Tony Grossi “drop the sword and Put Art in the Hall of Fame” blog coming any time soon, either, mind you) I should at least set a good personal example with an olive branch to the Irsay family members who have all but acknowledged the past grievances and attempted to right the wrongs as best as can be done once Mayflower vans pack up your franchise and cart it off to the “friendly heart of the midwest” in 1984.
But for today, I’m doing my part to put some charm back into the Charm City.
It’s all over between me and Irsay and Indianapolis.
I’m going to walk on without the anger…forever more!