The Indianapolis Colts had a down season in 2019 after the shocking retirement of Andrew Luck. However, in the last two decades, the Colts have been one of the more successful teams in the entire NFL. From Manning, Marvin Harrison, and Reggie Wayne to Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton, the Colts have had some great players over the years. The man in charge of it all, though, is owner Jim Irsay who is one of the 400 wealthiest people in all of America.
Jim Irsay inherited the Colts from his father
In 1972, Robert Irsay traded his stake in the Los Angeles Rams for the Baltimore Colts, according to the New York Times. Yeah, that sounds weird. Who knew that there have been blockbuster trades involving entire ownerships of NFL franchises?
The Baltimore Colts did not have a ton of success under Robert Irsay. They went to the playoffs three times and lost in the Divisional Round each time. However, in 1984 Robert made an enemy out of Baltimore fans. On March 29 of that year, Robert moved the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis. He did so to avoid the city seizing ownership of the team by eminent domain, according to Sports Illustrated.
The Indianapolis Colts still did not have great success under Robert. They went to the playoffs three times from 1984 through 1996. Robert then died in 1997 and Jim Irsay inherited the team.
Helping the Colts become dominant
The Indianapolis Colts drafted their franchise quarterback that next year. They selected Peyton Manning with the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL draft. Manning then led Irsay and the Colts to some great success.
Starting in 1999, the Colts ultimately made the playoffs 11 of the next 12 seasons, including nine straight trips from 2002 through 2010. They also went to two Super Bowls during that time, winning one during the 2006 season.
Drafting Manning changed the fortunes of the franchise completely. He ultimately threw for 54,828 yards with the Colts to go with 399 touchdowns. Manning went on to throw for 71,940 yards in his career and 539 total touchdowns after spending four seasons with the Denver Broncos at the end of his career.
Irsay and the Colts then selected Andrew Luck with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft. After three straight playoff trips with Luck, which made it 14 playoff trips in 16 seasons from 1999 through 2014, the Colts have now only made the playoffs once in the last five seasons. This has been a result of injuries to Luck and then his early retirement before the 2019 season.
However, Irsay’s hiring of general manager Chris Ballard in 2017 and head coach Frank Reich in 2018 have helped the Colts have one of the best rosters in the NFL. The team just had bad quarterback play in 2019 with Luck’s retirement.
Irsay is worth a lot of money
Forbes released its list of 400 wealthiest Americans in October 2019. Jim Irsay came in at No. 287 on that list as his net worth is $3 billion. Believe it or not, 21 of the 32 NFL teams are worth less than Irsay. Additionally, the Denver Broncos’ have the same exact worth at $3 billion, according to Forbes. Irsay’s own team has a lesser value than he does as the Colts are worth $2.65 billion.
The 10 teams worth more than Irsay are the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, New England Patriots, and Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys are the highest-valued NFL team as they are worth $5.5 billion.
Irsay could have recently made bank on the Colts. The Indy Star reported in 2019 that he was offered $3.2 billion for the team. That is more than Irsay’s worth and definitely more than the Colts’ worth. A team spokesperson said that the team is not for sale, though.
The Indianapolis Colts signed quarterback Phillip Rivers to a deal this offseason. If he and the Colts can have some success, maybe Irsay and the Colts’ can both increase their values in 2020. If they struggle, though, Irsay will still be just fine.