Comparing Andrew Luck's & Peyton Manning's Rookie Years at the Midseason Mark

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Comparing Andrew Luck's & Peyton Manning's Rookie Years at the Midseason Mark

Six games into his young career, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is attempting to lead his 3-3 team into the AFC playoff picture after a win over the Cleveland Browns.

Since the day that Indianapolis drafted Luck, the quarterback has drawn comparisons to ex-Colt Peyton Manning.

Manning, now a 36-year old signal caller for the Denver Broncos, has been fantastic this season. With 14 touchdowns, four interceptions and 1,808 yards passing on 154 completions (227 attempts), this field general is an early dark horse candidate for the MVP award.

Fifteen years ago, however, Manning was a fresh-faced rookie trying to find his way in the NFL.

After viewing just his first six games, Colts fans could have written off this No. 1 draft pick as a definite bust.

In terms of both his win-loss record and his statistics through six contests, Manning was awful. Having completed just 113 of his 210 passes for 1,364 yards, six touchdowns and a whopping 14 interceptions, the quarterback was 1-5 and struggling to assimilate to the league.

Manning didn't really find success until his second year when he led the Colts to a playoff berth.

Compared to Luck, Manning had a terrible start to his career.

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Indianapolis should be excited about the way their young quarterback is throwing the ball this season.

Analysts are too quick to compare Luck to the 2012 NFL draft's No. 2 overall pick, Robert Griffin III. These two quarterbacks will be forever linked by the fact that Luck was the first overall pick and Griffin was the second.

The comparisons are unwarranted and unfair, considering the two quarterbacks run completely different styles of offense. While Robert Griffin III runs an option-type attack out of the pistol formation in Washington (albeit successfully), Luck is running a much more traditional system in Indianapolis and his numbers don't look as flashy.

Instead of trying to compare Luck and Griffin with no context, which would be trying to extrapolate a spread quarterback's numbers into a pro-style offense (the figurative 'round peg in a square hole'), consider the inevitable comparison between Luck and Manning.

Through their first six contests, Luck has out-gained Manning in terms of passing yardage (1,674 to 1,364), completions (134 to 113), touchdowns (10 total to six total) and has been much more efficient in terms of protecting the football (seven interceptions to 14 interceptions).

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Also keep in mind that this season's Colts are 3-3 through six games while Manning's team was 1-5.

From Griffin III to Manning, it's easy to compare Luck to another quarterback. Upon further review, though, it seems as though this signal caller is just fine standing alone. The 3-3 Colts aren't a playoff-caliber team yet, but they've already won as many games as Manning's 1998 squad.

That would be another comparison.

For Luck and the Colts, an encouraging start ensures that this quarterback is here to stay.

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