INDIANAPOLIS – Marshall Faulk was the second overall choice in the 1994 draft by Indianapolis, and the Hall-of-Fame rusher had five very productive seasons before departing for St. Louis, and Canton, Ohio.
Faulk is a prominent voice on the NFL Network in his post-playing days, and one opinion he has is the manner which Colts Owner and CEO Jim Irsay uses in stewarding his team.
Never shy with expressing himself, Faulk praises Irsay for his style.
"I think Jim had a unique perspective in which he employed and empowered some people to help get the organization headed in the right direction," said Faulk. "It becomes a lot easier when you have a guy like Peyton Manning. At the same time, it becomes more difficult because fans anticipate and expect (good things).
"In Jim, people see ownership and what he did, which was whatever they (football people) needed. Whenever (they) said, 'We need this guy, we need to do this, we do that to win,' Jim was all-in for doing it. As an owner when you have leadership qualities, providing the people you empower with what they need to be successful, yet asking them to give you a return for what you gave them, it's great. I don't know that a lot of people remember, but Jim made the decisions at one point in time with him and his father (Robert). He understands the challenges. In finding a general manager (Ryan Grigson), he found a young, vibrant guy he can work with, who can help him on what he understands is very crucial in the game, and that's player personnel – finding the right personnel to put on the football field. I think collectively they will do a good job."
Faulk had four of his seven 1,000 rushing seasons with the Colts. He had 5,320 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns, along with 297 receptions for 2,804 yards and nine touchdowns. He ranks third in club history in rushing yards, while his 8,124 scrimmage yards rank sixth. Faulk was a three-time Pro Bowler who also was the AP NFL Rookie-of-the-Year as well as Pro Bowl Most Valuable Player.
Faulk was a part of the initial turnaround of the Colts during his time with the club. Indianapolis made the playoffs during 1995 and 1996. As the team went on to post one of the most successful runs in NFL history, Faulk was doing the same in St. Louis before retiring after the 2005 season.
He believes Irsay's deep desire to win and his commitment to doing what it takes to do so is why Irsay is the type of owner for whom players wish to play. That commitment helped re-shape the sports thinking in Faulk's original NFL outpost.
"He is willing to put on the field what is necessary to win," said Faulk. "A lot of owners are in it for the revenue sharing. Jim wants to win. Jim wants to have a winner in Indianapolis. Over the last 12 or 13 years, it's been great around Indianapolis having football be the first sport."
NFL SUPER BOWL NOTES
A total of 162.9 million people watched all or part of Super Bowl XLV, the most-viewed TV program in history. It beat the 153.4 million total of Super Bowl XLIV when the Colts played the Saints. That was the first program that out-drew the viewership total of the last episode of MASH in 1983. A record average of 111 million watched Super Bowl XLV, topping the average of 106.5 for Super Bowl XLIV. The total viewer number for the Colts' victory over Chicago in XLI was 139.8 million.
*Super Bowl XLV had 5,082 accredited media, the most ever and dramatically out-numbered the 338 credentials issued for Super Bowl I.
*A total of 3,512,727 fans have attended Super Bowls, with the largest crowd being 103,985 at Super Bowl XIV at the Rose Bowl.
SUPER BOWL – Quote/Unquote
"With all due respect for baseball, this is really America's sport." – Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice