ESPN's Manning reference insulting to Indianapolis

November 3, 2011
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For three days ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and a host of other TV commentators have been screaming that without Peyton Manning there is no Lucas Oil Stadium and there is no Indianapolis Colts.

And therefore there is no 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis.

Greenberg, who apparently is quite the Indianapolis and NFL historian, insists that without No. 18, the team owned by Jim Irsay would now be the Los Angeles Colts.

I guess Greenberg and his colleagues forgot that Indianapolis leaders long ago pegged a growth strategy on sports, and that the RCA Dome was built even before the city had secured an NFL franchise.

Apparently it slipped Greenberg’s mind that Indianapolis took a run at the 1992 Super Bowl and if not for a late political play by Minneapolis and NFL officials, likely would have landed that game.

Or maybe Greenberg and his posse know better than I. I’ve only lived here for 45 years. What do I know?

Maybe Manning and his magical powers somehow helped attract the National Sports Festival here in 1982 or the Pan Am Games to Indianapolis in 1987. Maybe as a child, Manning called local leaders and told them to build one of the finest swimming facilities in the U.S. and one of the world’s fastest running tracks on the IUPUI campus, both of which have attracted myriad national and world-class events.

For all I know, Manning was front and center in helping Indianapolis land the 2002 World Basketball Championships or negotiating the move of the NCAA headquarters to the Circle City in 1999.

I’m dead certain Manning was responsible for helping the city land a cadre of national governing bodies like USA Gymnastics and USA Track & Field. He must have been. How else could little old Indianapolis have accomplished such a thing?

I guess Manning too must be responsible for the growth of the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association and the strategy to transform this city into a convention town rivaling the likes of Atlanta and Chicago. No, wait. That strategy pre-dates Manning’s birth.

Someone might tell Greenberg and his colleagues that part of the plan for a new football stadium here had a lot to do with the need for more room for an expanded convention center.

I'm not even going to go into the complexities of the L.A. market. But someone might remind Greenberg that even after years of trying, the City of Angels still doesn't have a suitable NFL venue. And the fan base there is fickle at best.

Did Manning help the Colts go through an unprecedented period of growth? Yes. Was he instrumental in the Colts winning the 2007 Super Bowl? No doubt. This year has made that more clear than ever.

Did his leading the Colts to a decade of triumph help make the Lucas Oil Stadium and Indiana Convention Center expansion plan more publicly palatable? I’m quite certain of that.

But to insinuate that local leaders couldn't have found some creative way of keeping the Colts here—and continue on the path that started more than three decades ago—without Manning is pretty insulting to everyone who calls this city home.  

To quote Greenberg’s broadcast partner, Mike Golic, “Stop it! Just stop it!”

  • What?!?
    This is perhaps the worst example of “journalism” I have read in the past year. This is the IBJ not the Indy Star please present facts not opinions. We deserve better than this.
  • Greenberg
    Mr Greenberg has no clue about Indianapolis, what an idiot
  • Greenberg is no journalist
    Mike Greenberg may have gone to Northwestern to get his degree, but he would have never cut it as a reporter. He is a television/radio personality and not anyone who goes out and reports on sports news. If he wasn't paired with Mike Golic, we'd probably wouldn't see him in Indy because he'd be working full-time as a shrill for his beloved Jets.
  • This Article Is Awful
    This article is awful.

    The sports you highlight as "wins" for the city are for the most part not pro-sports and events you have to go 20+ years back to find. Manning saved this franchise, delivered a new stadium, enabled us to host a SuperBowl, and gave Indy a consistent winning pro-team (sorry Pacers, but you're streaky at best). -- Dominic Rhodes won the SuperBowl for the Colts btw, not Manning.

    Greenberg is right, without Manning, the Colts would not be in Indianapolis. They'd be in L.A. or elsewhere and there wouldn't be a new stadium downtown.

    The Colts did the right thing and gave him a big payday this year (which you could argue the city gave him, since the city, aka we the taxpayers, built the stadium and not Colts ownership).

    You also missed two big points: Big Ten basketball tourney and the NCAA Men's basketball events held at RCA dome in the past. Why wouldn't you highlight those to try and make your argument. I mean you've been in the city for 45 years!
    • Anthony's Worst Article
      You have written some really bad articles, but this may be the worst. The Greenman was stating a pretty obvious point, that without Manning, say taking Leaf there instead, the Colts would have taken LA up on there offer, because we would have been a losing franchise the past decade. You seem to completely turn around everything that Mike was saying, just to right an article. Is it so slow in the newsroom that you have to look to ESPN radio to write your blog?
    • Greenberg may have a point
      He may have a point. What if we chose Ryan Leaf instead of the Franchise? What if we were stuck with average quarterbacks from 1998 until now. What if we made the playoffs only once or twice, early last decade? We, the Colts, may have been in LA by now.

      As much as I try to think that the Colts are multifaceted, they are not. Manning makes average offensive p;ayers look good. He helps keep our defenses rested with ball control and the special teams are not needed as much (Pat McAfee is having to work HARD this year and he is having issues with good punts). Sorry but Manning IS the Colts.
      • Two Dave in Indy's
        Oh no, there are two "Dave in Indy's!" I wrote the "good" comment, Lol! Maybe IBJ needs a registration process.... ;)
      • u r n idiot
        If these articles are so terrible, why do you continue to read them. Keep speaking the truth AS!
      • Thanks Anthony
        Great article -- true and factual. Well done Anthony.
        • GREAT ARTICLE!!!!!!!!!
          I totally agree with you, Manning is not the Colts, they were here long before Peyton and will be here long after. All these negative comments you are getting are not justified they just like to complain!
        • Don't know what would've happened
          Yes Manning has been great for the Colts and the city. But you can't know what would've happened if the Colts drafted Leaf instead. The Colts might've been bad for another year or two and perhaps they would have drafted another franchise quarterback and still been successful. For example, Drew Brees was drafted in 2001 by San Diego. So you can't say that if the Colts didn't get Manning they would have been awful for ever after.
        • Just think
          If Mark Patrick's tryout at the four-letter radio empire had gone well then he'd be in Bristol, not Greenberg.
        • Don't be silly . . .
          We all know that Indy fans are fair weather fans. They don't show up when the Colts are losing, or even not winning handily and they don't show up when the Pacers are losing. Without Manning, the Colts probably don't make the playoffs a million years in a row and RCA's attendance would have topped out around 80%. Take away that constant community support and the Colts either move or don't get their new digs. This isn't Buffalo or Washington. Indy fans (and I'm a season ticket holder) don't support their teams unconditionally.
        • Great Article
          Great article written with passion and backed up with facts and yes, opinion. That's why it's an opinion column.
        • The Guy's a Mook

          Consider this guy:
          1) He got himself in hot water with his "Martin Luther Coon" gaffe,
          2) He reportedly owned a cat named "Mr. Fluffypants" when he was in college, and
          3) We wrote a book called "Why My Wife Thinks I'm An Idiot".

          He IS an idiot. Now his wife AND Indianapolis think he's an idiot.

          'Nuff said. Moving on...
        • New York, New York
          To Mr. Greenberg, there are two significant areas on planet Earth.

          The first is New York City, epicenter of the Universe.

          The second is everything else, which is by definition of no interest.
        • Weak Argument
          While I think it's a noble thought to use our city's proud sports history to make your argument, it's completely irrelevant to the point.

          All of those accomplishments are things that we should be proud of, but they matter not when it comes to building a new stadium and subsequently getting a Super Bowl.

          Let's say that the Colts did indeed draft Leaf instead of Peyton, and just for fun they also drafted Ricky Williams instead Edgerrin James. A mediocre team and playoff appearance or two over the last 15 years would be BEST case.

          Forget the theory about the Colts moving to L.A. during that period, how does the city of Indianapolis agree to foot the bill for the operating and maintenance bill on a new stadium? Don't forget that Lucas Oil isn't the "House that Irsay Built", it's the "House that Indianapolis Built". The likelihood of that deal happening to support a team that would have been on par with the Detroit Lions every year seems pretty slim to me.

          Irsay wasn't going to foot the bill on his own, so it's not hard to imagine that another city could have made a very tempting offer. This same scenario may happen to Minneapolis if they don't get a new stadium, and they have a much more storied NFL history than Indianapolis ever had.
        • Greenberg is correct
          Greenberg is CORRECT.
          Without Manning, the Dolts are TOTALLY DEFEATED.
          If you can't see that, just watch the game this Sunday.
          It's easy to root for a winner, it's a lot less fun when your team is a loser.
          A great leader inspires greatness in others, Without great leadership, the Colts are doomed to fail.
          Caldwell is NO Dungy, I don't think Caldwell could coach his way out of a brown paper bag.
        • Greenie is correct
          Public support was sky high for the Colts and, therefore, for the new stadium. That support was crucial for financing LOS - 1% food and beverage tax increase on Marion and surrounding counties would have been a very difficult, if not impossible, without Colts success. When the Colts were a middling team in the 1980s, the circumstances were very different.

          Wasn’t it Chris Morentsen from ESPN that said the Colts were moving to LA? While he’s probably the most respected one of that bunch, who knows if it was true.

          As far as the National Sports Festival and the Pan Am games, those are summer events from long ago. Comparing those to the Super Bowl is apples to oranges. And do we really want to talk about the World Basketball Championships? That event was such a failure that it forced the Indiana Sports Corporation to liquidate assets to stay afloat.
          Regarding the convention center expansion, perhaps that simply doesn’t get done. It’s not the end of the world. Perhaps it expands south of the Dome. Perhaps it expands across Maryland Street and ruins the remainder of the Capital Commons area that Simon pilfered from the city.
        • LA team?
          If everyone is so certain the Colts would have moved to LA without Manning. Then why isn't a team in LA already? You make it seem like LA received a team in that time period. If it was such a great choice to go to LA there would be a team there by now. The Colts and LA rumors were just that. Without Peyton the Colts would still be in Indy and we would have a new stadium. Super Bowls aren't about the teams. I.E. Detroit, Miami, New Orleans, Arizona. All Places that the teams havent been consistantly good.
        • Swallow your pride
          You hoosiers are being naive. I moved to Indy in 2003. Back then you could go to Marsh on a Sunday, an hour before a game, and buy decent tickets. Some games were blacked out. Barely anyone I knew was willing to spend 100 bucks on Colts jerseys. Because of Peyton Manning making everyone around him play better, games started selling out consistently. You can't get tickets at face value anymore. The winning and the popularity of the Colts led to a new stadium. Would they have moved to LA? No one can know that. But if not for Peyton, they'd still be playing in the RCA dome and the Super Bowl would be in a warm weather city. Keep bringing up conventions, final fours, etc. None of them take place in 10 degree weather.
        • Get used to it
          This is just the opening salvo from the sports dolts. They are going to have a lot to say about Indianapolis now that it is hosting a Superbowl. Ask Jacksonville if they wished that they had never had even heard of the Superbowl.

          Get ready Indianapolis, it might not be pretty.
        • Why did you stop learning English in 2nd grade?
          Dave in Indy,
          Next time you plan to submit a comment about the quality of an article, please, for all educated people, go back to school, learn proper grammar, usage, and spelling. Then, you can come back to submit slightly better comments. Sorry to go off topic, but your command of the English language is as good as my 19 month-old daughter's. By the way, Mike Greenberg has his opinions, but Anthony is right: the Colts would never have moved to LA because the Coliseum is the only possible location they could play, and it is a dilapidated, crumbling, outdated facility. It made the RCA Dome look like a world-class venue. Good article, Anthony!
        • Put on your thick skin suit
          This is probably too late to be relevent, but
          this boob has already said he doesn't like cold weather venues for this, because it takes away his company sponsored warm weather vacation/golf outing. I would venture to say that many players would also
          agree with this. However, spreading the game around may be the only way to keep the stadium building machine running. If he doesn't like this one, just wait til the
          2014 frozen swamp bowl comes around. Sure there's plenty to do in NYC, but you're an hour away from the venue. Is the NFL experience going to be in Midtown Manhattan?
          BTW, saying the Colts would have moved to
          LA overstates the divide between the team and
          the city. A new stadium was necessary not only for the Colts, but to facilitate the
          expansion of the Convention Center. The city
          was losing, or not able to attract, many events because of space limitations. Losing the Colts wouldn't have been part of the equation to keep growing this business.

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        1. You are correct that Obamacare requires health insurance policies to include richer benefits and protects patients who get sick. That's what I was getting at when I wrote above, "That’s because Obamacare required insurers to take all customers, regardless of their health status, and also established a floor on how skimpy the benefits paid for by health plans could be." I think it's vital to know exactly how much the essential health benefits are costing over previous policies. Unless we know the cost of the law, we can't do a cost-benefit analysis. Taxes were raised in order to offset a 31% rise in health insurance premiums, an increase that paid for richer benefits. Are those richer benefits worth that much or not? That's the question we need to answer. This study at least gets us started on doing so.

        2. *5 employees per floor. Either way its ridiculous.

        3. Jim, thanks for always ready my stuff and providing thoughtful comments. I am sure that someone more familiar with research design and methods could take issue with Kowalski's study. I thought it was of considerable value, however, because so far we have been crediting Obamacare for all the gains in coverage and all price increases, neither of which is entirely fair. This is at least a rigorous attempt to sort things out. Maybe a quixotic attempt, but it's one of the first ones I've seen try to do it in a sophisticated way.

        4. In addition to rewriting history, the paper (or at least your summary of it) ignores that Obamacare policies now must provide "essential health benefits". Maybe Mr Wall has always been insured in a group plan but even group plans had holes you could drive a truck through, like the Colts defensive line last night. Individual plans were even worse. So, when you come up with a study that factors that in, let me know, otherwise the numbers are garbage.

        5. You guys are absolutely right: Cummins should build a massive 80-story high rise, and give each employee 5 floors. Or, I suppose they could always rent out the top floors if they wanted, since downtown office space is bursting at the seams (