Last year was a tough year to be a fan of the Indianapolis Colts.
I mean, it's always tough when your team loses, but when your star quarterback picks up a season-ending injury and takes your playoff chances with him, it's even harder.
For many Colts fans, the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft was the only good thing to come out of a 2-14 season that saw them finish last in the league.
And whilst I'm not going to suggest that Andrew Luck is not worth it—for I truly believe that he is—the No. 1 pick in the draft was also one of the worst things the Colts could have got.
The whole Manning-Luck dilemma played out for weeks upon weeks until it became official that Peyton Manning would no longer be donning the No. 18 jersey for Indy any more, and that Andrew Luck would be the new starting quarterback.
It seems, for now, to be all resolved.
But imagine for just one minute what would have happened if the Indianapolis Colts had won one more match in the season gone by.
They lost six games by a single score or less and many of those could have easily gone the other way.
That would have given them the second overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and they would have been in a much more comfortable position surrounding Peyton Manning.
Think about it.
With the No. 2 pick, Peyton Manning could have stayed in Indianapolis and the Colts would receive the same multitude of draft picks for their pick as the St. Louis Rams did.
Both the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Browns would have made a play for the No. 1 pick in Andrew Luck—if the Rams decided not to take him—meaning that the other team would make a huge play for Robert Griffin III.
And for that, they'd have to go to the Indianapolis Colts, who would then become the beneficiary of first-round picks for years to come, as well as more picks in this year's draft.
They could strengthen the defense, the secondary, whatever they like really.
They could nearly be a championship contender again, led by the brilliant arm of Peyton Manning.
Yes it's idealistic, and yes it's not the real world, but it could have very nearly come to be.
I'm not hoping that Andrew Luck falters in Indy, and I'm not hoping that Peyton Manning leads his new team to a championship to rub it in the faces of Colts fans.
I am hoping that both play their best football and find success as a result of that.
But it is interesting to speculate as to what could have happened if the Colts had won just one more game.
Peyton Manning would still be theirs; they'd have draft picks coming out of their pockets, and they might just have made some noises come playoff time.
However, the No. 1 pick is what it is, and for Indy, Luck it is and Manning it is not.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!