First and Forever: Is Andrew Luck Really Special?
Another year for the Indianapolis Colts begin with questions about their quarterback’s health. This is now the fourth straight year that Andrew Luck has had injury concerns. This is in stark contrast to his predecessor Peyton Manning, who went and incredible 16 consecutive years without missing a start. National media throw up signs for concern when discussing the idea of Luck missing games. They make statements like, “The team has been built around Luck.”
My question is why?
What is so special about Andrew Luck?
When Luck entered the draft in 2012, he was heralded as one of the greatest quarterback prospects ever! His size, speed, arm strength, intelligence, poise under pressure, and leadership ability was supposed to make him a hybrid of Cam Newton and Peyton Manning. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. said that Luck was, “The best player I’ve ever graded. He is expected to win multiple Super Bowls. He is expected to be a Hall of Famer.”
That is high praise for a guy who couldn’t lift his team to a Pac-12 championship.
The truth of the matter is that Luck has not lived up to the hype thrown his way by Kiper or any other scout that heaped unearned adulation on him. In fact, Stanford won PAC-12 championships in three out of the next four post-Luck seasons. Even digging back into his high school career at Stratford High School, his sophomore season was the only one that produced a state championship. And he was not the focal point of that team. The two seasons when he was the focus, they failed to win the chip.
Is Luck that much different than a QB who faces far more scrutiny in Jameis Winston?
Winston has been scrutinized for being seemingly jittery in the pocket at times; so has Luck. He has been criticized for throwing untimely interceptions; so has Luck. In Luck’s first four seasons, he accounted for 101 passing touchdowns, 12 rushing touchdowns, 55 interceptions, and 32 fumbles on a team that was ready to win immediately. Winston tallied 88 passing touchdowns, nine rushing touchdowns, 58 interceptions and 38 fumbles on a team that was in full rebuild mode. Both seem to be turnover prone, but Luck has always been afforded time and excuses.
If we’re being completely honest and unbiased here, Luck has not even been the best quarterback in the class of 2012. That distinction goes to Russell Wilson, who has not only won a Superbowl, but lead his team to another Super Bowl appearance. He also boasts a higher completion percentage and 20 less interceptions, despite playing a full season more than Luck. WIlson has never enjoyed the shine of Luck, he has been constantly questioned throughout his career, even when it came time to pay him. The Colts just dropped a bag of money in Luck’s lap without giving it a second thought.
Probably the biggest indictment of Luck, is how completely normal he becomes in the games that matter the most.
In eight playoff games, he has only completed 56.4% of his passes and has more interceptions (13) than touchdowns (12). Those types of numbers would have many other cities looking for an upgrade at quarterback, not looking to double down.
“Is this your king?” Is this the golden child touched by the football gods? Or is this just another good, not great quarterback compiling regular season stats? What makes him different than Matt Stafford, Andy Dalton, Alex Smith, or a slew of other quarterbacks to come through the NFL and do nothing more than be ‘good’ in the regular season, build up their team’s hopes, collect large sums of money, and let them all come crashing down upon
the discovery that he is not enough?
There’s no doubt that Luck has talent, but there are many talented quarterbacks.
Everyone told us that Luck would be special. When presented with the history, we should have known better than to believe them. How many times have we been fed the same lines about quarterbacks? Forever! You think we would have learned our lesson by now. The Colts will more than likely back the Brinks truck up again and drop another truckload of money on Luck’s doorstep.
And that is what’s special about Luck.