The Colts went a pitiful 2-14 last season in the wake of Peyton Manning's career-threatening injury, but if Luck plays up to his potential, the horrendous 2011 season will be something that Colts fans will be able to laugh about.
The fact that the record netted them the first overall pick is definitely a blessing in disguise.
Many years the No. 1 pick is a curse. The forced decision to hand an unproven player a hefty contract and the keys to the franchise can oftentimes do more harm than good (see JaMarcus Russell), but the Colts were very fortunate that the year the team fell apart just so happened to be the season that the most Peyton Manningesque prospect in years declared for the draft.
With Luck at the helm, the Colts have everything they need in place to have a quick turnaround and be contending for the playoffs by 2013—possibly even 2012.
Future star quarterback? Check.
Division with only one true contender (Houston)? Check.
Defensive-minded head coach? Check.
If you're doubting that the Colts can be playoff contenders by 2013, it's understandable. The team wasn't even competitive most of the time last season and looked like an utter mess without Manning leading the offense.
However, it's important to consider the beginning of the Peyton Manning era when projecting the potential of the Colts franchise.
When Manning took over starter his rookie season as the No. 1 selection in the draft the Colts had been in shambles for years. Throwing Manning in the fire was the only option for the Colts and the results were ugly. The Colts won just three games and Manning threw 28 interceptions.
Manning's debut season wasn't all bad, though—he also threw 26 touchdown passes and over 3,700 yards.
What Colts fans can really take solace in is that Manning's sophomore season saw him cut down his interceptions by nearly half en route to a 13-win season and 4,000 passing yards.
As Luck enters his rookie season, he's sure to have bumps along the way. The Colts have been forced to rebuild the roster from top to bottom and it will take time for all of the new talent and schemes to gel. The 2012 season will have its lows.
However, if the past is any indication, the Colts won't be down for long because Andrew Luck has what it takes to be the next Manning—spearheading a revival in Indianapolis.
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