This was supposed to be the year the Colts broke through again. I live in Indianapolis, and ever since it was announced that Lucas oil Stadium was hosting Super Bowl XLVI the goal for the entire city was to be the first team ever to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium. Most people agreed it would be one of the last chances for Peyton Manning to win another championship, so what better way for the local hero to wind down his career than to win a Super Bowl at home.
Then the 2011 NFL season happened, where the Colts lost Manning for the entire season and stumbled to a 2-14 season. Their two victories were more a result of the other team screwing up than the Colts doing anything positive. Instead of playing a pair of playoff games at home before the Super bowl itself, the Colts are waiting with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft. Now the question is what should they do with it?
Andrew Luck is sitting there, of course. He is a virtual sure thing if you listen to the draftniks, but the problem with drafting rookie quarterbacks is that you must invest almost three years before you know exactly what you’re getting. Manning himself struggled as a rookie before turning it on his second season. Drew Brees, one of the best to ever play the position, was considered a bust by San Diego after three seasons before he really came into his own. Aaron Rodgers sat behind Brett Favre for several years before blossoming into an MVP candidate.
That is why the Colts shoul both go after Luck and keep Manning. At best, Manning has four more seasons before he can seriously think about retirement. he might even have less considering his injury issues this season. If you draft Luck, you have the luxury of letting him develop for the future without putting the immediate pressure on him of asking him to save the franchise from day one. Manning was the rare exception of a No. 1 overall quarterback that worked out for a championship. Carson Palmer, Davis Carr, and JaMarcus Russell are three examples of what usually happens when you pick a quarterback No. 1 overall. You get someone who has an enormous amount of pressure on him to deliver immediately.
Yes, the Colts should be cognizant of Manning’s feelings, but the NFL is a business. You almost never have a chance to replace a Hall of Famer with another Hall of Famer at the same position. Luck belongs in Indianapolis even if he sits the bench for three years because of that steep learning curve.