INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Irsay did his own politicking Monday.
"When I was asked about Peyton, I was going to say why don't you ask Mitch (Daniels) about his presidential run? Any comments, Mitch?" Irsay said drawing laughter as he turned to the Indiana governor.
Irsay's diversionary tactic didn't work.
With the Manning-Irsay spat still dominating talk around town, Irsay tried to deflect attention away from this week's biggest distraction and put the focus squarely back on the Super Bowl matching the New York Giants against the New England Patriots.
"I'm not talking about Peyton this week," Irsay said as more than a dozen reporters followed him through the media center's hallways. "When Peyton and I talked (last week), we both thought the focus should be on the Super Bowl. We want to focus on the Super Bowl."
Yes, getting the game in Indy was a major coup for Irsay, who pushed the city to bid twice and lobbied fellow owners to give his home city its first Super Bowl. But Super Bowl week just happens to come at the most tumultuous time in Indy's ongoing soap opera.
Since finishing 2-14 and earning the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Irsay has fired vice chairman Bill Polian, general manager Chris Polian, coach Jim Caldwell and most of the coaching staff. He's hired 39-year-old Ryan Grigson as the new general manager and former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as his new coach.
Last week, after Manning went public with his complaints about the dour atmosphere at the team's complex, Irsay retorted with his own public rant -- calling Manning a "politician" and contending he had been "campaigning."
The two tried to put an end to the spat Friday by issuing a joint statement that essentially said they had spoken and reconciled.
Irsay contends there's time to discuss everything -- after the Super Bowl.
"Peyton is everything you dream about as an owner, getting that type of player," Irsay said. "I have just been so blessed with all that he's done for this franchise."
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press