The Indianapolis Colts finally cashed in on their bet on Andrew Luck. Even if the team stalls in New England and does not go on to win the Super Bowl, Indianapolis gambled on the future of Andrew Luck over that of Peyton Manning years ago when drafting the Stanford prospect and releasing their longtime, beloved veteran. Luck still has a long way to go to surpass Manning in any of Indianapolis’ record books or lore, but he proved that his short-term payoff would carry the franchise until the long-term benefits appear.
It was obvious from his rookie season that Andrew Luck, barring injury, would be a solid quarterback in the National Football League for years, but everything that Luck had done in his first two seasons were still overshadowed by what Manning was doing in Denver. When Indianapolis knocked off the Broncos on the road in the Divisional Round, the torch was officially transferred from Colts’ past to Colts’ future.
Why has it taken this long for this to be recognized?
Even if Manning had gone on to win the Super Bowl in any of his three stellar seasons in Denver, it was blatantly obvious to anyone watching Andrew Luck play that he is well on his way to greatness. Maybe his teams won’t ever win the Super Bowl, but his talent, undeniable from the beginning, has only grown. Still, it seems as if Luck is being approached with a ‘not yet’ mentality.
In addition to leading the league in touchdown passes, Luck ranked in the top-ten of nearly every statistical category this year, including the third-most passing yards per game and sixth-most completions. All that while compiling eleven regular season and two playoff wins in 18 games played.
Andrew Luck is a great quarterback. He will need the Super Bowl ring – or, at least, the continued excellence that mirrors someone like Dan Marino for an extended period of time – to be considered historically great, but the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts is, right now, a great passer.
Imagine if he does, indeed, win the big game this year.
Aaron Rodgers was in a nearly identical position as Andrew Luck when he won his ring, supplanting a franchise icon and with undeniable talent. Still, it took a championship to fully open everyone’s eyes. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t present all along. Just because something is not publicly announced or universally accepted doesn’t mean it is nonexistent.
Let’s not be fooled again. Let’s not wait until the obvious is presented in the form of a championship. It may take rings to solidify a legacy, but it shouldn’t be a requirement for acknowledgement during the obvious rise of a career.
Win, and Andrew Luck begins to craft his legacy.
Lose, and he still remains one of the league’s great quarterbacks.