The Peyton Manning homecoming party has been more than a year in the making.
"I think it's perfect," Irsay says. "What's happened is what Peyton and I hoped would happen. The desire was for him to get well and get to a team that has a chance to win another Super Bowl before his career ended. And our desire was to be able to transition to Andrew (Luck). To be so good so soon is stunning."
Irsay said Manning encouraged him to go with Luck.
"He said, 'You've got to take Andrew,'" Irsay said. "'You have to. You're crazy if you don't.'"
The logic was sound -- moving to a younger, less expensive franchise quarterback as opposed to an expensive All-Pro QB coming off neck surgery -- but the explanation Irsay gave to Bell was less flattering to Manning.
"We've changed our model a little bit, because we wanted more than one of these," Irsay said while showing his Super Bowl XLI championship ring.
"(Tom) Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these," Irsay continued. "Pittsburgh had two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated.
"You make the playoffs 11 times, and you're out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the 'Star Wars' numbers from Peyton and Marvin (Harrison) and Reggie (Wayne). Mostly, you love this," Irsay said, again flashing his SB ring.
It sounds like Irsay is insinuating that the Colts had zero chance of chasing another Super Bowl with Manning. What absolutely is true is that Manning's release led to an incredibly quick turnaround by general manager Ryan Grigson. A turnaround that could not have occurred with the veteran quarterback still on the roster.
To quote Michael Scott, the Manning-Indy separation was "win-win-win."