The 2011 college football regular season has come to an end and bowl season is just about to get underway. Before then the 2011 Heisman Trophy will be handed, with Andrew Luck moving from favorite to modest underdog behind Robert Griffin III and Trent Richardson. Of course, come April, the odds are still high for Luck to go to the Indianapolis Colts with the number one overall pick.
Andrew Luck has been declared the most pro-ready quarterback since Peyton Manning was drafted out of Tennessee. This truly is the height of irony given how this situation is now developing. Within a few weeks of the start of the 2011 NFL season, it became abundantly clear that the Indianapolis Colts were the worst team in the league and the front-runners for the heavy favorite to go number one, Andrew Luck.
Given the Colts struggles, the discussion has switched from who will be number one and who will they take to how will this impact Peyton Manning's situation in Indianapolis. When you draft a quarterback whose pro-readiness is compared to Peyton Manning, you are selecting a guy who is ready to take over from day one. And when you are talking about the number one overall pick in the draft, you do not exactly bide your time throwing them to the wolves.
If history is any indicator, the Colts would be expecting Andrew Luck to take starter snaps at some point in his rookie year. And if he is considered more pro-ready than Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan, Eli Manning or a host of other NFL quarterbacks to come along since Peyton Manning, it only makes sense to get him out there from the get-go. The only comparable of a player sitting his entire first year is Carson Palmer, who was the number one overall pick and did not touch the field in a regular season game his first year. Jon Kitna started and Palmer took over in year two.
Although the situation is really between Peyton Manning and the Colts, that has not stopped Manning's father Archie from joining in the discussion. Considering his involvement in getting his son traded from the San Diego Chargers to the New York Giants, it should not surprise anybody that he has landed in the middle of this situation.
Archie Manning was on FOX Sports radio the other day and initially said he did not think having both Manning and Luck on the roster together was a particularly good situation. He said that he thought Luck could come right in and play and that he "doubt[s] if either one wants to play on the same team."
A day later, Archie said in a phone interview that he thought they could work together just fine and he basically meant that he did not think Luck was the type of talent that should sit his rookie season. He meant that Luck should be able to come right in and start, and if Peyton was healthy enough to play at that point, it would make sense for him to go elsewhere, where he might have another chance to start.
The folks at Stampede Blue are fairly certain Peyton Manning will be leaving town this coming offseason. Given the chatter surrounding Andrew Luck, it does make sense for the Colts to cut ties with Peyton Manning.
This would not be the first instance of a franchise cutting ties with one of its most well known players. In 1993, the San Francisco 49ers traded Joe Montana to the Kansas City Chiefs. Montana had dealt with a variety of injuries and the franchise felt it was time to move full-force into the Steve Young era. It is not quite the same given that Andrew Luck is a rookie, but teams cut ties with franchise stars fairly frequently in the NFL.
As Colts fans hope and pray for this season to end as soon as possible, the three months following the Super Bowl leading up to the 2012 NFL Draft could prove to be incredibly interesting. If the Colts decide to go all in with Andrew Luck, the quarterback position could look a lot different in free agency and shape a lot of strategies for both free agency and the draft.
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