Last Spring, the Indianapolis Colts faced one of the most difficult decision a team in the National Football League has ever had to make. Their decision to let Peyton Manning, the recovering all-time great quarterback, depart and enter free agency in favor of drafting and starting the prodigious Andrew Luck was praised by some and criticized by others. Some believed that the decision was for the best as the Colts were not built for the short term and needed to start over. Others said that they should have traded the pick and used those assets to rebuild around Manning. There was also the option of keeping both quarterbacks and letting Manning tutor Luck (unlike Favre did for Rodgers) in the hopes that Luck could take over the franchise one day and be a star from day one (similar to Favre/Rodgers).
Entering the twelfth week of the NFL season, sports fans can begin to see the consequences and rewards of the decision made in Indianapolis. We can now see what the Colts could not have possibly known at the end of last season: they could not have chosen incorrectly. It was a win-win situation. In fact, after Robert Griffin III’s tremendous show on Thanksgiving, we can see now that it was a win-win-win.
After twelve weeks, the Colts are in the playoff hunt after entering the season as one of the worst teams on paper. In fact, apart from Andrew Luck, they have arguably a worse roster than last year’s two-win team. In spite of this, Andrew Luck has made a strong case for Offensive Rookie of the Year as he goes above and beyond Cam Newton’s incredible rookie campaign of a year ago. He is somehow already one of the top 15 quarterbacks in the league, and he is only going to get better. Forget the future; the Colts are winning now. With a few smart personnel decision, Indianapolis could remain a contender for another complete decade as Andrew Luck continues what looks to be a tremendous career.
If this outcome was offered to Indianapolis last year, there is no doubt they would have taken it without a second thought. Andrew Luck has lived up to the hype. However, what if you told them the other option was a fully recovered Peyton Manning playing at his usual MVP level? If it was not amazing enough that Andrew Luck is already this good, Peyton Manning is playing about as well as he ever has (with a new team and new receivers). Manning’s Broncos are legitimate contenders, and not many players have more worthy MVP credentials this year than he does. What could Manning have done with the Colts if the franchise had traded the number one draft pick (one of the most highly coveted of all-time) for established players to fill any gaps in the Colts roster? Additionally, the exodus of Colts greats like Dallas Clark and Jeff Saturday may not have taken place. Instead of Super Bowls in five years, they could be contending now.
Then this situation gets unreal in comedic levels when you consider this: maybe the best decision of all would have been to take a third quarterback. Robert Griffin III is, in the opinion of many, better than Andrew Luck. He has worked himself into the MVP discussion. Perhaps the Colts would have been even better off had they taken him first in the draft and put the hopes of their franchise on him.
This state of play is one of the rarest luxuries a sports franchise can have. The Colts could not have made a wrong decision. Manning, Luck, and Griffin III have all far exceeded expectations. Personally, as an Indianapolis Colts fan, I initially thought that the team should have stayed win Manning and traded the pick. Now, after twelve weeks of the season, I can only see how bright Andrew Luck’s future is. Watching Manning torch defenses can make one think of what could have been, but what the Colts ended up with is more than I could have possibly hoped for. As for RG3, I still prefer Luck, as I believe RG3 will be as injury prone as Michael Vick, the quarterback most comparable to him.
Sometimes quarterback transitions do not work out, and other times the team makes the best possible decision. Other times, like the Favre/Rodgers decision and this most recent quarterback phenomenon, they just get lucky.
What do you think? What should the Colts have done? Like, comment, subscribe/follow, post to Facebook and Twitter, email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for reading!
Soli Deo Gloria