In a phone interview Tuesday with Mike Chappell of Fox59 and Bob Kravitz of The Athletic, Irsay vehemently denied the notion that the Colts are tanking the 2022 season in order to grab a better slot in the 2023 NFL draft.
“It’s the most absurd thing in the world that we would be tanking games,’’ Irsay said. “You think we’re going to (expletive) tank games? That’s (BS).”
Irsay was particularly animated during Monday night’s press conference introducing Jeff Saturday as the interim head coach. Between droning on about his nostalgia for the franchise from the 2000s and comparing Chris Ballard to Michael Jordan, Irsay made the press conference about himself.
Tanking is an extremely taboo subject in the NFL. Teams would never admit to doing it, especially because of the harsh punishments that would come from doing so.
“We’re in this thing; 9-7-1 gets in (the postseason). We just have to look at the Raiders game and get back on track. We’ve always felt we’re in things,” Irsay said.
While Irsay’s aspirations of making the playoffs are still high, the odds of them missing out are higher. At 3-5-1, the Colts have no direction on the offensive side of the ball and as great of a player Jeff Saturday was, he’s still extremely inexperienced as a head coach.
We would never know if the Colts—or any team—are actively tanking. Irsay is certainly a proud man and owner so it makes sense he would vehemently be against tanking.
But in the end, it may not matter because the Colts are likely heading toward a premium draft slot regardless.