One Super Bowl ring is never enough

Attention: Tony.

If it makes you feel any better, or any worse, proof has surfaced again this week that your quarterbacking life is a thankless life. That’s the way it’s always been, and that’s the way it always will be.

The payoff is the money. Quarterbacks get rich. Tony is rich.

But for all the negative stuff, and the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately stuff, there is never an escape hatch.

Not for Tony. Not even, as we have learned this week, for Peyton Manning, going back to his glory days in Indianapolis. Bleeping Indy, I tell you, a city that only hit the map because of Peyton.

Well, OK, there’s that car race held once a year. But Peyton once kept Indy in the news year-round.

Romo is also in the news year-round, but it’s because of his title as the most polarizing QB in the NFL.

How do you NOT be the most polarizing QB in the NFL?

Win a Super Bowl, of course. You’ve heard it a million times about Tony. Heard from even Roger and Troy, with their advice to Tony. Got to win a Super Bowl. And then the love happens.

Well, not necessarily.

The marquee NFL game this weekend features Peyton going back to Indy. His Broncos vs. his once Colts.

A big pregame celebration and thank you is planned for Peyton’s return, and the man promoting the celebration and thank you was Jim Irsay, the talkative Colts owner and son of a deceased rich man.

Except Irsay, for unknown reasons, decided this week to publicly say one wasn’t enough. One Super Bowl ring in Indy wasn’t enough from Peyton.

In speaking to the media, Irsay flashed his ring, and apparently wanted it known Peyton had to leave town because “we wanted more than one of these.”

And then he juiced up his comments:

“[Tom] Brady never had consistent numbers, but he has three of these. Pittsburgh has two, the Giants had two, Baltimore had two and we had one. That leaves you frustrated.”

A direct shot, huh?

There was more:

“You make the playoffs 11 times, and you’re out in the first round seven out of 11 times. You love to have the Star Wars numbers from Peyton and Marvin [Harrison] and Reggie [Wayne]. Mostly, you love this [with Irsay pointing again to his ring.]”

Granted, there’s nothing Mr. Irsay said that wasn’t true about Peyton’s years in Indy, but, again, winning that one Super Bowl was supposed to be Manning’s cure-all for the other malfunctions.

I was there in Miami when the Colts beat the Bears for “the ring” and in the postgame locker room I can testify no one was celebrating more than Jim Irsay.

Even in Peyton’s eventual departure from Indy, due to what was considered at the time a possible career-ending injury, Irsay couldn’t have been nicer to his star quarterback.

Plus, good luck allowed the Colts to follow Peyton with Andrew Luck, and the kid is probably a Super Bowl waiting to happen if the team can improve his supporting cast.

But Irsay decided this week of all weeks to declare one from Peyton wasn’t enough, although after the spit hit the fan in Indianapolis and across the country, Irsay was backtracking like crazy at midweek.

Peyton’s current coach in Denver, John Fox, was riled up enough to call the original comments “... a bit of a cheap shot ...disappointing and inappropriate.”

Added Fox: “I’d be thankful for that one Super Bowl ring because a lot of people don’t have one.”

Peyton’s former coach with the Colts, Tony Dungy took on Irsay from another angle: “Without Peyton, there would be no Lucas Oil Stadium [that is a first-class yard in Indy.] This team would be playing in LA right now. I don’t understand Jim saying this.”

Well, coach, that’s what we always say. Just win one. And then the glory of “one” fades in a couple of years, and one is never enough.

Troy Aikman had three, but with many local fans, and certainly on the radio talk show circuit, there was yelping for him to be benched in 2000, which was Aikman’s final season of his career.

And if benched that season, Troy’s replacement would be none other than, yes, Randall Cunningham, who was hanging around in the league as the Valley Ranch backup, hoping to collect Jerry’s $1 million paycheck without having to play.

Imagine that scene in 2000. Many people wanted Randall Cunningham to take over the Cowboys. Instead of Troy.

Then Aikman went out with an injury. Cunningham had to play. His performance was so miserably bad, I remarked to an assistant coach after the game, “It didn’t appear Randall even knew the plays.”

His answer: “I don’t think he’s opened the playbook since he’s been here. He didn’t even know our snap counts.”

That’s the way Troy left us here. Three Super Bowls later, he was booed by the fans, and Randall Cunningham’s chance to play was wildly cheered. At least cheered until he actually took snaps.

So it goes.

Romo does need to win a Super Bowl, not that I’m predicting it will ever happen.

But even if he did, one would not be enough.

To hear an owner in Indy tell it this week, one wasn’t enough for Peyton. In the end, even three weren’t enough locally for Aikman.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram