It is hard to just forget about what Peyton Manning did for the Indianapolis Colts organization. And perhaps there is no reason to forget about him completely, but the Colts certainly are not missing Manning on the field.
Rookie superstar Andrew Luck has lived up to and possibly exceeded the expectations placed on him when he came out of Stanford. He was considered the best QB prospect in a decade, the best QB prospect since, well, Peyton Manning.
It may be cold and it may be cynical, but by moving on from the Manning era, the Colts have asserted themselves at quarterback for the next 12-15 years and ensured that there will be no controversy or drama at their most important position.
Indianapolis was in an extremely difficult position a season ago, with Manning sidelined and everyone from Kerry Collins to Curtis Painter to Dan Orlovsky taking cracks at the QB job. The Colts managed only two wins, and many pundits referred to 2011 as the "Suck for Luck" campaign.
However, despite losing a future Hall of Fame player and one of the best QBs ever to wear a jersey, is it possible to argue that the Colts are not actually in a better position now?
Luck has thrown for over 300 yards in three of his four starts. The Colts are at a surprising 2-2 on the season, and Luck engineered a fourth-quarter win over the Green Bay Packers and reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers.
Yes, nostalgia can be a wonderful thing, and it is impossible to truly replace Manning, but look at his numbers this season. He has played one more game than Luck and has just 291 more passing yards and two fewer interceptions.
Luck's numbers are right on par with Manning's and there are questions about Manning's arm strength and ability to throw a good deep ball, and the unfortunate truth is that he is a 36-year-old signal-caller with a limited future.
Is he still one of the best QBs the NFL has to offer?
Absolutely, and any arguments to the contrary would be ill-informed. However, the Colts are better off without him. Indianapolis has re-ignited a fanbase that was forced to sit through a futile 2-14 season. A fanbase that had to watch a defense forget how to play football and an offense that could not score points.
Luck was the most coveted prospect in a decade because of the bright future he would undoubtedly bring to any franchise he joined. When the Indianapolis organization landed the first overall pick it put personal feelings aside and made the best possible business decision for the franchise.
That decision was Luck.
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