INDIANAPOLIS – Jim Irsay has nurtured his love for the Colts for 40 of his 52 years.
For 28 of those years, he has grown his beloved product in Indiana, and it has been a rich environment for the team to prosper.
During many of those 28 years, Irsay has served on the NFL's Super Bowl Committee that has located the championship to different cities. Now, the Super Bowl is in his city, and he believes all the focus should be on the game.
Irsay's team has been in the headlines recently with the hiring of a new general manager in Ryan Grigson and a new head coach in Chuck Pagano. Additionally, there has been discussion about the health of quarterback Peyton Manning, his recuperation from neck surgeries and the approach to the 2012 season.
On Monday, Irsay was questioned about the matter of Manning, and he said this week is about focusing on the Super Bowl.
"I'm not going to talk about Peyton," said Irsay. "When Peyton and I both talked (previously), we (both) have the focus on the Super Bowl this week. We want to focus on Patriots-Giants and what it means to the city. I really don't have anything more to add right now."
Irsay acknowledged Manning will be around Indianapolis this week. Six days from now will find his younger brother, Eli, vying for a World Championship when the New York Giants play New England.
"He's (Peyton) going to be around," said Irsay. "He's coming to my party on Thursday night. Mostly, he's going to be with family and be in the area. He'll be playing his roles, but also enjoying it with his family. I think that's his focus as well."
Super Bowl XLVI will be played in Lucas Oil Stadium, the club's home since 2008. Irsay claimed Manning played a role in the team getting a new facility, and that this is an exciting time.
"He played a tremendous role," said Irsay. "What he's meant to the franchise and the things he's done, the greatness and success we've had for more than a decade he played a huge role in that. That's obvious. There's no question that it's the sort of thing that's fulfilling for him as well. It's exciting for him to have Eli in (the game) as well."
The Super Bowl being played locally is big for the franchise, the city, the state. Irsay played a role in getting it along with many others. His work on the project came during a time when his team was on an outstanding run of success that included participation in Super Bowls XLI and XLIV. The resurgence of the club started in 1998 when Manning was drafted. His efforts and the exploits of many others helped transform the franchise. There were many occurrences that played a part in the team's accomplishments.
"So many things have to happen to have greatness," said Irsay. "It's not as if you can ever have just one decision go your way. It's not as easy as picking a general manager, a head coach and a franchise quarterback and saying, 'Thank God, we picked the right guy,' and you just put your feet up and count the wins.
"We've seen what's happened when the whole package isn't there. It's a team game and it takes a lot to win. I think those are the things you really appreciate because you have to get a lot of things right in order to have greatness. You think about so many people through the years – Tony Dungy, Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, so many guys through the years, players and coaches, who have meant so much to the franchise."