Jim Irsay, the owner of the National Football League’s prestigious team, is not like other owners.
Irsay, the Indianapolis Colts owner, had his head coach replaced by a former player with no coaching experience. leading a high school team. Irsay was published a few weeks before. called for a scandal-plagued owner to be removedHe continued to do so, despite his very public problems. He continues to use Twitter to grieve the passing of football stars and to post videos of himself singing classic Bob Dylan songs in his raspy smoker’s voice.
Irsay’s hobby also speaks to his singularity. Irsay spent $100 million to build a collection that included music, sports, and other memorabilia. While others spend their money on art, beachfront properties, and European soccer teams in Europe, Irsay isn’t like them. The property was purchased by Irsay for $4.9 million. guitar Kurt Cobain used in the music video for “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” He acquired one of Ringo Starr’s vintage drum sets for more than $4 million. He also paid $6.5million for the set this summer. one of Muhammad Ali’s championship belts.
Instead of stuffing these items in museums or mansions, Irsay, who is 63, displays them at free events across the country. He is accompanied by an all star rock band. His collection has been to seven cities, including Nashville, Austin and Los Angeles, since September 2021. This Saturday, a sampling of his 1,000-plus-piece collection will make its way to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, where some of the items will lean into the city’s role in rock history and the blues legend Buddy Guy will be joined onstage by Ann Wilson, John Fogerty and Stephen Stills.
“For me, I’d rather do this than be floating around on a $200 million yacht,” Irsay said before one of his shows this summer in Chicago. “If I float on that, I’m going to say, ‘I’m bored. Why am I here? Like, what am I doing here?’”
Irsay’s passion project is an unusually personal form of philanthropy and even therapy. These artifacts not only reflect his love for music, sports, and history, but also the turmoil of his life, such as the loss of his younger sister and the alcoholism experienced by his father and grandfather. Irsay has also had to deal with substance abuse. He was also a victim of substance abuse. suspended for six games by the N.F.L. in 2014After pleading guilty to driving under the influence of painkillers, he was sentenced.
Irsay’s willingness to embrace his foibles make him something of an oddity in one of the country’s most exclusive clubs. He openedly discusses his addiction struggles and founded a charity to raise awareness about mental health disorders. After being injured while playing college football, he began competitive power lifting and weighed 725 pounds. He then lost 55 pounds and began running marathons. Despite having had 20 operations, Irsay still goes to the gym.
Plenty of sports team owners are philanthropic, and some even live out their rock ‘n’ roll fantasies. Take, for example: Paul G. Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle Seahawks who died in 2018, built a museum in SeattleJames L. Dolan, owner of the New York Knicks, and New York Rangers, to store his guitar collection. performs as the frontman with his blues band, J.D. and the Straight Shot. Irsay, unlike other famously private collectors, has kept his private life and collection completely unguarded.
“Jim is sui generis, a one-off with no duplicate,” said Douglas Brinkley, who teaches history at Rice University and advises Irsay on his purchases. “He marches to the beat of his own drum and honors his own passions and believes there’s an audience for it.”
Irsay got his first love for baseball cards when he was just a kid. But, he had less than altruistic motivations. He grew up in Chicago’s north shore and rode his bike to the local drugstore every Monday morning. There he bought complete boxes of baseball cards, before any other boys could. He made the purchase by selling bubblegum at a profit at school.
“I guess I was an illegitimate dealer in grade school,” he joked.
Irsay claimed that he wanted a career in collecting after college. But Robert, his father, used the fortune he made from the air conditioning business to buy Colts. He paid Irsay a salary of $100,000. He said that he couldn’t afford to buy prized objects because he had a mortgage and his three children.
But that was 25 years ago when Irsay inherited the teamHe also acquired the ability to buy top-of-the-line items. His 2001 first foray into collectibles was his. paid $2.4 million for the 120-foot-long scroll that contained the original manuscript of Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road.” It was the only time Irsay showed up, paddle in hand, to bid for an item.
“I’ve always been mostly attracted to great writers,” he said. “The scroll became a writer’s Holy Grail.”
Irsay enjoys the thrill of collecting at this level. Irsay consults Brinkley, other experts, as well as Larry Hall, his curator. Larry is available to Irsay at all times via text and phone to discuss items he wants. He will relay his bids by phone, which he did from Hawaii when Cobain’s guitar was auctioned. Hall was offered $2.2 million and he then dropped out after the auction reached $2.4million. On a hunch he raised his top offer to $3.6million before going to bed. He woke up to find that he had almost reached his maximum price for the guitar. (With taxes and fees, the total cost was $4.9million.
Irsay’s interests range across American and film history as well. He has one oldest item in his collection: a 1765 lottery ticket that was sold to raise money at Faneuil Hall, Boston. This ticket was signed John Hancock. The purchase cost him nearly $600,000. rocking chair John F. Kennedy usedIn the White House and an additional $550,000 one of Abraham Lincoln’s pocket knifes. Sylvester Stallone’s original, handwritten script for the movie, “Rocky,”Cost Irsay $500,000.
Despite the growth of the memorabilia industry in recent years Irsay has never sold items from his collection. He has considered the possibility of building a museum to display his collection, but for now he wants to take them on tour.
“He gets so attached to the items because he knows the joy they bring when he shows them,” Hall is responsible for ensuring the quality of Irsay’s items. “That’s why he never charges a penny to share his collection.”
Irsay explained that the rush of purchasing these items and planning how to present them can mirror the adrenaline rush football teams experience when getting ready for games. He said that sometimes his football brain can take over at events.
“I admit it’s a little bit of a different hat,” Irsay said. “When it comes to professional football, the intensity above the goals of winning and all those sorts of things, sometimes that comes out in organizing this thing. So all of a sudden you find yourself talking like the general manager or head coach, and people onstage are like, what?”
Irsay was the focus of attention in Chicago, where his collection was displayed at the AON Grand Ballroom. Fans and friends stopped him so often that Irsay was late for his own news conference to open the event. Standing between Muhammad Ali’s title belt and the founding document of Alcoholics Anonymous, known to adherents as the “Big Book,” Irsay introduced Jim Brown, the former Cleveland Browns star and Hollywood actor whom Irsay flew in from California.
“It’s an eclectic collection, but really it’s about spirituality, it’s about human beings being as great as they can, and changing the world with love and strength,” Irsay said.
“I want the best of the best,” Irsay added when describing why he bought Neil Armstrong’s items from the Apollo 11 mission. “Nothing against Buzz Aldrin,” referring to the second man to walk on the moon.
Irsay then returned to the greenroom, where he sipped Hawaiian Punch and waved goodbye to his minders trying keep him on time. Buddy Guy walked in and Irsay was distracted all over again, peppering him with questions about Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and other blues greats.
The two-hour concert began around 8:30 p.m. with Irsay sitting onstage and singing Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns and Money.” After Irsay left, the band, led by Mike Mills of R.E.M., ripped through blues and rock classics. Guy — a hometown favorite — came on to a big ovation, as did Ann Wilson from Heart.
The line between concert and collection was sometimes blurred at times. Irsay returned to the stage with Edgerrin, the former Colts runningback, midway through the show. He threw twelve signed footballs into crowd. Fans wandered between the stage and the back of the venue to look at the artifacts, including the guitar Dylan used when he “went electric” at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, Hunter S. Thompson’s Chevrolet Caprice convertible (known as the “Red Shark”), or the hat that Harry S. Truman wore at his inauguration.
Irsay returned to sing the last three songs — “Hurt” by Nine Inch Nails, “Hey Hey, My My (Into the Black)” by Neil Young and “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones — before the lights popped on. The crowd was led out by several Colts cheerleaders wearing white costumes and blue pompoms. Irsay turned his life’s threads into a shared spectacle for another night. It helps him keep the demons in check.
“Many a man has tried to manage the opiates, you know, for millenniums, whether it’s Jerry Garcia or Tom Petty or Prince or Elvis,” Irsay said. “The pursuit can get really bungled and mismanaged. So, it’s really a thrill in life as we get older to try to have more experience and know what’s always the light and not the dark, because sometimes the shadows can fool you.”
[Denial of responsibility! smye-holland.com is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – at smye-holland.com The content will be deleted within 24 hours.]
Leave a Reply