Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is excited about new general manager Chris Ballard. In fact, Irsay feels that Ballard is the best general manager candidate in the nearly two full decades of the 21st century.
Irsay on new Colts GM Chris Ballard: "I really feel that Chris is the best candidate for GM that’s come about so far in the 21st century."
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) January 30, 2017
Clearly, Irsay likes his guy. In fact, the Colts’ owner added that Ballard was chosen over a group of incredibly qualified candidates.
Irsay is very complimentary of the group of candidates. Says at least 4 of 6 will be GMs within 5 years. #Colts
— George Bremer (@gmbremer) January 30, 2017
If only he stopped there. Roughly one day after Ballard was hired, well before he’s had time to do anything with the roster, Irsay stated that he thinks his team is better than it was before.
Jim Irsay on Chris Ballard: "I know the Colts are a much better football team today."
— Stephen Holder (@HolderStephen) January 30, 2017
For the record, there’s nothing wrong with having confidence in your guy. Indianapolis fans and players certainly wouldn’t want to hear the owner second guessing himself so quickly after making such an important hire.
Of course, there’s a problem with being so bold.
These comments don’t go away.
Shortly after Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers “mutually parted ways,” team CEO Jed York said the compared the transition from Harbaugh to then new coach Jim Tomsula to the one that the Golden State Warriors had made from Mark Jackson to Steve Kerr. You can read about the whole thing here.
Those comments were made after the Warriors went 67-15 and won an NBA title and right before they went 73-9 and made a return trip to the final. Tomsula, meanwhile, went 5-11 lasted one year, and was replaced by Chip Kelly, who went 2-14 in his only year on the San Francisco sideline.
People haven’t forgotten those comments.
If Ballard doesn’t work out, people won’t let Irsay forget about these comments, either. Conversely, very little praise will be heaped upon Irsay if the move does pan out. It just doesn’t happen that way with owners.
Ballard is an experienced NFL executive, but has never been a general manager before. He may end up as good as Irsay says. For Irsay’s sake, he better. If that doesn’t happen, Irsay will be dealing with a restless fan base that won’t let these comments be forgotten.