After the 2011 NFL season, the Indianapolis Colts faced a very interesting decision: whether to keep their hall of fame quarterback Peyton Manning or to use their number one overall pick in the NFL Draft to take the best-projected player in the draft, quarterback Andrew Luck. Luck was considered not only the best player in the draft, but also the best quarterback, so the Colts had to ask themselves, do we keep Peyton Manning for four to five more years and have a great shot at making a run at the Super Bowl? Or do we get rid of Peyton Manning and draft Andrew Luck who has a lot of upside and could be the quarterback of the future for the franchise.
This has been a topic of discussion in the sports world recently just because this season, Andrew Luck has really struggled. He has been a turnover machine this year with 12 interceptions, two lost fumbles, and has only thrown 15 touchdown passes. Luck had high expectations this season after his 40 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last year. The Colts are also only 4-5 this season, but lucky enough for them, that has them in first place in the very weak AFC South. News also came out this week that Luck is expected to miss at least a month due to a kidney/abdominal injury. Peyton’s Broncos on the other hand, are enjoying another extremely successful regular season as they have one of the best records in the NFL at 7-1. To be fair, though, this has been in large part to Denver’s defense. Peyton hasn’t had a very good season individually with only nine touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The question I want to ask is, did the Colts make the right decision in drafting Luck instead of keeping Manning?
The short answer is yes. When the Colts made this decision a few years ago, Peyton Manning was coming off another neck surgery, and they weren’t sure he was going to be able to play at a really high level ever again. Peyton missed all of the 2011 season, and the Colts finished with the worst record in the league, giving them the first overall pick in the draft. They saw an opportunity to take a potential star quarterback in Andrew Luck, and they took him. Although Peyton Manning has enjoyed a lot of success with his time in Denver, they have yet to win a Super Bowl. Peyton did lead Denver to the Super Bowl in 2013 against the Seattle Seahawks, but the game was over before it started and resulted in one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history, losing 43-8 to Seattle. In 2012 and 2014, Denver had a first round bye and were heavily favored in both playoff games, but Peyton Manning couldn’t get it done, and they lost in their first playoff game both times. Sure enough, the 2014 game was against Andrew Luck and the Colts. The game was in Denver no less so a very impressive win for Luck.
Andrew Luck actually has more playoff wins than Manning since this “swap” took place. Luck has three playoff wins and Manning has two. Luck got the best of Manning in the 2014 playoffs, and Luck also beat Manning just recently in a regular season game in Indianapolis.
The point I am trying to make is that the Colts made the right decision in getting rid of Peyton Manning because they now have probably at least 15 years of Andrew Luck at quarterback, and he has the potential to be one of the all-time greats. Sure, he has struggled this season and hasn’t delivered a Super Bowl quite yet, but he has made the playoffs in every year since he has been in the league, and he is well on his way to a very successful NFL career.
One other thing to point out is that Andrew Luck already has an early advantage over Peyton. In Luck’s first three years, he has a record of 3-3 in the playoffs, compared to Manning’s first three years, where he went 0-3. Even though Peyton Manning might go down as the greatest regular season quarterback of all-time, it was the right decision for the Colts to move in a different direction.
Ryan Colon is a third-year student majoring in communications with a minor in journalism. He can be reawched at RC759426@wcupa.edu.