Jim Irsay explains his stance on Daniel Snyder situation


At the NFL fall meeting last week, Jim Irsay, who is not one of the more public-facing of the 32 NFL owners, stood in front of the media for 13 minutes at the Conrad Hotel in Manhattan. The words of the Colts’ owner about the well-tarnished owner of the Washington franchise, Daniel Snyder, were well thought out.

“I believe there’s merit to remove him as owner,” Irsay said.

You’ve read much of the rest of it — Irsay saying the NFL stands for an egalitarian workplace and Snyder and his organization had consistently demeaned women, saying he hoped but didn’t know if the required 24 owners would vote to remove him, and Washington firing back with a defensive statement.

Two days later, once the folderol of the first owner to call for Snyder’s removal died down, I asked Irsay why he did it.

“Did you know,” Jim Irsay said, “that George Halas came to my wedding? Did you know that, at one of my first league meetings, Art Rooney welcomed me and gave me a cigar? I’ve learned from Pete Rozelle, from Paul Brown. How fortunate I have been. We are all fortunate to be a part of this great league! And I know, at night, when I open up the door, there’s a mirror, and that’s the person I have to answer to. How do we all want to be remembered by our great-grandchildren?”

Irsay’s dad, Robert, owned the Colts, and Jim took over as Colts GM in 1984, two years out of SMU. He took over ownership at 37 in 1997 after his father died. For 25 years as owner, he has been mostly seen and not heard at league meetings. Until Tuesday, with his savaging of the Washington owner.

“When I got in this business,” Irsay told me in an hour-long phone conversation Thursday, “some of the greatest owners in the history of the league — Wellington Mara [Giants], Dan Rooney [Pittsburgh], Lamar Hunt [Kansas City] — showed a young man learning the game how to behave under pressure, with decency, with integrity, always putting the game first. The [NFL] shield means something. You don’t take every penny. Why did the New York Giants take a revenue-sharing deal for the TV contract way back in the sixties? So all teams would have an equal chance. Because Wellington Mara was for the good of the league. It’s so important, what we stand for as a league.

“When Lamar Hunt died [in 2006], I remember being at his wake. And [former commissioner] Paul Tagliabue turned to me and said, ‘Well Jim, they’re all gone now. It’s your turn.’ And I’ve thought about that.”

There are those who would say Irsay is a flawed person, not the best one to preach the anti-Snyder sermon. He got a six-game league ban by Roger Goodell for a DUI in 2014. There are those who would say Irsay should have said these words to the owners in a closed session and not first to the media. Fair on both counts.

But the overwhelming sentiment I heard from people around the league in the days after Irsay spoke his mind was It’s about time someone spoke up. The serial degradation of women for years inside the Washington organization concerned Irsay, who one day will leave his team to his three daughters, and because the league has been more and more concerned with attracting female fans and club employees. “In the workplace today, the standard that the shield stands for, you have to stand for that and protect that,” he said at the meetings.

Snyder’s fate may be decided by a Congressional investigation, which is ongoing. His fate may be decided by a league investigation into business and harassment practices by the organization and Snyder. It sounded to me like Irsay’s mind is made up: Snyder must go. He was passionate and aggrieved over the phone, even two and a half days later.

“Two things destroy great institutions,” Irsay said. “Being emotional, and rationalization. Rationalization — that’s saying, ‘Oh, it’s not that bad, we can deal with this. You know people are always gonna love the game. They’ll always turn on the TV to watch Mahomes Sunday.’ “

The stewards of the game, and Irsay emerged as one last week, have to be ready to act to be sure Snyder doesn’t continue to chip away at the institution.

Read more in Peter King’s full Football Morning in America column

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings: Zay Flowers, Jaxon Smith-Njigba top list


The 2023 NFL Draft is just around the corner, and across all positions, fans are eagerly tracking the names to know to see what prospects can bolster their team in the upcoming season. A top-quality pass-catcher is on the wish list for more than a few franchises, and ahead of the draft on April 27th, Chris Simms broke down his picks for the top five wide receivers in this year’s draft class, starting with Boston College’s Zay Flowers, who’s been rumored to be of interest for both the Saints and the Patriots. Stay tuned to the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast for the next month as Simms breaks down his rankings for every position group, and read on for the rest of his wide receiver rankings.

RELATED: Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings: C.J. Stroud leads the way, and a tie at No. 5

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receiver Rankings

Tier One

1. Zay Flowers, Boston College

2. Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

Tier Two

3. Quentin Johnston, TCU

4. Michael Wilson, Stanford

Tier Three

5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

Chris Simms Top 5 2023 NFL Draft Wide Receivers

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Simms Breaks Down 2023 Draft WR Rankings

The following are highlights from Simms’ WR draft rankings. For Simms’ in-depth analysis, read below for a breakdown on each prospect and be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

No. 1 Zay Flowers (Boston College)

What Simms Said: “The position versatility – he can play inside or outside. Some of the best releases in the draft are from Zay Flowers. He is pedal to the metal every play, every cut, everything he does. The build, the style of running…I think he looks like Antonio Brown. He is an unbelievable route runner, along with the explosive athlete. You’re really getting a three-in-one here with speed burner on the outside, speed burner on the inside, and slot receiver inside. I wrote Jaylen Waddle, that’s a guy he reminds me of…(He) plays bigger than his measurables say. To me, he’s a top-20 pick.”

No. 2 Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Ohio State

What Simms Said: “The speed is not blazing…but what’s off the charts good is the guy’s quickness and route running. His ability to come off the ball and be going 70% and almost jump in the air at the six-yard mark…it’s like Allen Iverson with an unbelievable crossover dribble. He’s got this unbelievable ability to change direction and then accelerate in a hurry. His ability after the catch…the first guy never tackles him…He reminds me of Jarvis Landry, to a greater version. This guy is about as high level of a route runner as you’re going to see in college.”

No. 3 Quentin Johnson, TCU

What Simms Said: “Tee Higgins-ish with more explosive ability than Higgins had coming out. He can catch the six-yard shallow cross and run 80 yards for a touchdown. His ability to jump – it’s a 40.5 inch vertical – plus he’s 6’3” and his arms look like they’re ridiculously long. He’s Drake London-ish from last year, except he doesn’t have the route running but has more of the straight speed…He’s one of the most physically impressive wide receivers in recent memory. You don’t see a lot of the route variety…but he shows the ability to change direction with the ball in his hands. He has better feet, quickness, and suddenness than most people with his size.”

No. 4 Michael Wilson, Stanford

What Simms Said: “This is where we’re going to go a little unconventional…But if you watch the film, you go, ‘There’s no doubt this is one of the best three or four receivers in this draft.’ There’s nothing he doesn’t do that’s top-notch…He ran a 4.58 at the Combine in the 40, (but) he plays way faster than that…The physical specimen is real, let alone the refined things you like to see in a receiver are real too. He can be another guy who could be inside or outside because he’s got the pure size and strength and speed to beat you outside but has the route running and it looks like the smarts to be that slot guy that catches your eye as well.”

No. 5 Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee 

What Simms Said: “If you like speed, then you like Jaylin Hyatt…This is a track start, straight-liner, DeSean Jackson-, Will Fuller-ish type of receiver. So, there’s going to be things about him that you love, there’s going to be some things about him that I’m not crazy about. He’s not a great route runner…I truly question whether he can do it, unlike the other guys where I try to piece things together. You can watch a bunch of catches and he never makes anybody miss, that’s not his game…If there’s a seam straight away, watch out…If he gets a free release or gets off the line of scrimmage the right way and you have a safety that doesn’t get back instantly, see ya. It’s going to be a 60-yard post for a touchdown. That’s where he’s special.”

For more preview content of the 2023 NFL Draft, stay tuned to Chris Simms UnbuttonedProFootballTalk and NBC Sports EDGE for all the latest updates, player analysis and mock drafts.

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings: The top QBs, WRs, RBs, and more ahead of draft weekend


The 2023 NFL Draft takes place on Thursday, April 27 through Saturday, April 29 in Kansas City, Missouri. Click here for the full first-round draft order to find out when your team is picking.

Ahead of this year’s draft, Chris Simms has already started analyzing the top prospects by position on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast. So far, Simms has revealed his highly anticipated list of the top 5 quarterback prospects and wide receivers. See below to find out who made the top 5 names for each position and be sure to check back for updates!

Be sure to subscribe to Chris Simms Unbuttoned for more on the 2023 NFL Draft as well as an unfiltered look at the NFL, featuring player access, unabashed opinion, X&O film breakdown, and stories from a life in and around football.

RELATED: When is the 2023 NFL Draft? Date, start time, location, Round 1 order

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft Position Rankings:

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft QB Rankings:

  1. C.J. Stroud, Ohio State
  2. Bryce Young, Alabama
  3. Hendon Hooker, Tennessee
  4. Anthony Richardson, Florida
  5. Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA and Will Levis, Kentucky

Chris Simms’ 2023 NFL Draft WR Rankings:

  1. Zay Flowers, Boston College
  2. Jaxon Smith-Njibga, Ohio State
  3. Quentin Jonston, TCU
  4. Michael Wilson, Stanford
  5. Jalin Hyatt, Tennessee

How can I watch the 2023 NFL Draft live?

ESPN, ABC, and NFL Network will air all seven rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft.

What time does the NFL Draft start?

The first round of the 2023 NFL Draft will get underway on Thursday at 8 p.m. ET. Rounds two and three will commence Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Saturday’s final rounds at 12 p.m.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2023 NFL Season and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!