Today's NFL fans are always looking for the next great rivalry. For the last decade we have been treated to classic duels between Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. These two have battled it out for both AFC supremacy and the title of best QB in the NFL.
However, their time is closer to the end than the beginning and it is time to prepare for the next wave of great QB matchups. Week 9 presented us with a clash between Andrew Luck and Ryan Tannehill, a clash that showcased the immense talent and potential of both players.
Now, the Luck/RGIII rivalry may seem like the biggest moving forward, but playing in different conferences will severely limit the amount of times those two actually get on the field together. Luck/Tannehill on the other hand, could happen nearly every season.
Obviously these two are not ready to take the over the reins from Brady/Manning, but look at the great game they just put on. Luck's Indianapolis Colts edged out Tannehill's Miami Dolphins in a classic 23-20 thriller.
The contest came down to the fourth quarter and both QBs demonstrated why the future is bright for their respective franchises. Just like both Brady and Manning, Luck is already making a name for himself in the fourth quarter.
Andrew Luck now has 4 game-winning drives in 4th qtr/OT.. the other rookie starting QBs (Tannehill, Wilson, RG3, Weeden) have 4 total
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2012
It is these types of battles that can build a long-term rivalry that people care about. Manning and Brady have faced off countless times and always seem to deliver memorable performances. Luck and Tannehill both did just that on Sunday.
Luck set a rookie record with 433 yards passing and Tannehill did his best to keep up with 290 passing yards and two touchdowns. Neither player threw an interception and neither player ever relented in their pursuit of victory,
Are Luck and Tannehill already on the level of Brady and Manning?
Clearly not, but that is not the question being asked. The fact is that these two have laid the groundwork for a tremendous rivalry moving forward. The Dolphins and Colts are both organizations that are quickly gaining traction.
Indianapolis has exceeded any and all expectations with its 5-3 start while Miami is firmly in the middle of the AFC playoff race at 4-4. What we saw in Week 9 was hopefully only a preview of many great battles to come.
Reaching the levels of Manning vs. Brady will take many years and numerous Super Bowl titles, but Luck and Tannehill have given us a fantastic glimpse into the potential of their budding rivalry.