Who Should Play Quarterback For The Indianapolis Colts Next Year: Peyton Manning Or Andrew Luck?
We’re only eight weeks through the 2011-12 NFL season. Yet, one team already has two eyes firmly set on next year. We’re talking about the Indianapolis Colts, of course, who are currently 0-8 and easily the worst team in the NFL. Most years, that wouldn’t be a good thing. It’d result in a frustrated fan base, a bunch of pissed-off players, and, in some cases, a total destroy-and-rebuild process at the end of the season. However, this year is different. Very different.
It’s different, because current Stanford University quarterback/Heisman Trophy favorite Andrew Luck is coming to town. Assuming the Colts finish with a worse record than the NFL’s other winless team, the Miami Dolphins—and, for the record, we think they will—the Colts will have the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and will have the chance to select the rights to Luck, the guy that has every NFL fan salivating like, well, like back in 1998 when the Colts current quarterback Peyton Manning was drafted No. 1 overall. Funny how that worked out, huh?
There’s only one problem for the Colts: Manning is still technically their quarterback! He has a neck injury that’s kept him out all season thus far and there’s a good chance he won’t play until at least December, if at all, so the Colts need to make a decision. Should they try and trade or release Manning in the offseason and pick up Luck in the draft or should they pass on Luck or trade their top pick and stick with Manning for a few more years? That’s a tough one. To try and help them sort things out, we looked at both sides of the issue to figure out how we would approach this dilemma. Because if there’s one thing for sure about the Colts right now, it’s that they picked a baaaaaaad time to be so bad.
Why The Colts Should Stick With Peyton Manning:
During his decade-plus run in Indy, Peyton Manning has pretty much been the Colts. Without him, they’re not one of the top teams in the NFL. They haven’t had a very good defense in years, yet Manning has still been able to will them to the playoffs—and the Super Bowl!—without one. Likewise, Manning has been featured in TV commercials wearing his Colts jersey. He’s gotten the Colts countless Sunday night and Monday night football games. He’s kept them on TV almost every week and he’s literally helped this become one of the elite franchises in the NFL. How do you turn your back on a guy like that? And, best of all, he still gives the Colts the best chance to win now. Luck will need a learning curve and time to find his way around an NFL football field. If healthy, Manning doesn’t need either. Just give him the ball and watch him go.
Why The Colts Should Get Rid Of Peyton Manning And Draft Andrew Luck:
Peyton Manning isn’t getting any younger. At best, the Colts will get four or five good years out of him before he starts to decline. At worst, his lingering neck issues will creep up next season and put him back on the bench—possibly for the rest of his career. In Luck, the Colts are getting as close to a can’t-miss prospect as they’ll ever see (outside of Manning back in ’98, of course!). Most people think Luck will be legendary. At worst, he’ll be a formidable QB who can succeed with the talented Colts wide receivers. Like Manning, Luck will also have a very high profile coming out of college and we bet that he’ll immediately get the Colts put right back on Sunday and Monday nights. He’ll also probably pick up a few endorsement deals along the way. He doesn’t have the experience Manning has, but he’s got the poise in the pocket to be every bit as good as Manning has been one day.
So, What Should The Colts Do?
For now, take their time and not rush into anything. They still have six months to make a decision. However, they need to find out where Manning is as a player before the end of the year. Even though the games won’t mean anything, they need to try and get him back on the field in December. Manning seems open to doing that, and if they want to see what he has left in the tank, that’s the only way to do it.
That said, if we’re running the Colts, we do not pass up on the chance to take Luck. Instead, we sit down with Manning and try and come up with a clear-cut plan that allows us to draft Luck but to play Manning for the foreseeable future. Then, we come up with a crystal-clear plan for Luck’s eventualy takeover and talk to Manning about how he plans to leave the game of football.
Sound impossible? It could be. There’s a chance that Manning asks for his release from the team. In that case, we have to let him walk. There’s no guarantee his health issues won’t creep up on him again. And, if Luck is as good as everyone says he is, we don’t want to be sitting here in five years with no quarterback while Luck is dominating for the Dolphins, who are sure to scoop Luck up with the second pick in the NFL Draft if we don’t take him.
Bottom line: Either Manning works with the Colts to bring Luck onto the team…or Manning takes his talents elsewhere. It’s been a good run for Manning and the Colts. But there’s a new sheriff in town—and his name is Andrew Luck. Good luck, young fella. You’re gonna need it, because you’ve certainly got some really BIG shoes to fill.