Jim Irsay Compares Matt Ryan to a Navy SEAL on ‘Pat McAfee Show’

Jim Irsay

Getty Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay compared quarterback Matt Ryan to a Navy SEAL while appearing on "The Pat McAfee Show."

Just about everyone who’s ever played with or coached quarterback Matt Ryan during his 14-year NFL career has complimented him on his leadership. But on May 2, Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay raved about Ryan’s leadership using a unique comparison.

“This is a Navy SEAL. This is an astronaut that’s going to Mars,” Irsay said on the May 2 episode of “The Pat McAfee Show.” “This is the right stuff guy. Special.

“He’s the type of guy that if you’re landing on an aircraft carrier, you want him to be the pilot. I mean special, guys.”

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Irsay Also Compared Ryan to Peyton Manning

Irsay, who has owned the Colts since 1997, told McAfee that Ryan reminded him of Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, the longtime Colts star.

“Matt is such a perfect mix here, and it really is exciting,” Irsay said. “Like I said, you look in the eyes of [head coach] Frank Reich or [general manager] Chris Ballard, people in the organization, they just turn into a big smile.

“I haven’t really experienced this since Peyton’s days having a guy like this.”

Since Manning last appeared in a Colts uniform in 2010 after 13 seasons with the team, the Colts have averaged a quarterback per season over the past 11 years. So it’s not surprising that Irsay sounded pleased that the organization has at least temporarily stopped its quarterback carousel.

But to say Ryan, who won the league MVP in 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons, is the best fit behind center for the Colts since Manning is quite a statement. Indianapolis had Andrew Luck for seven years, four of which he led the Colts to the playoffs. And eight-time Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers played one season (2020) for the Colts, too.


Jim Irsay Tries to Save Face Talking About Carson Wentz

Irsay has been critical of the most recent Colts quarterback, Carson Wentz, calling his acquisition “a mistake” at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting on March 29.

But Irsay did not bash Wentz, who is now with the Washington Commanders, while raving about Ryan on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

“Carson did his best to bring [leadership and consistency]. He worked so hard,” Irsay said. “He came in just trying to bring everything that he could bring. I give him credit for that.

“It wasn’t his lack of trying or something that didn’t get us there, but it just wasn’t the right mix for us or him.”

The Colts traded Wentz to the Commanders on March 9. In addition to swapping second-round picks this year, the Colts acquired Washington’s 2022 third-round pick and a conditional 2023 third-rounder for Wentz.

Less than two weeks later, the Colts dealt their third-round pick to the Atlanta Falcons for Ryan.

Turning 37 on May 17, Ryan is eight years older than Wentz. But Ryan has put together a Hall of Fame-like resume during his 14-year career while Wentz has only one stellar NFL campaign in his six seasons.

As far as how long Ryan could be with the Colts, Irsay said on May 1 that he viewed Ryan as “very possibly a three-year thing.”

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