Quite frankly, it's not even close.
Don't get me wrong, it's still been a successful year for Luck and the Colts in 2013. They've already gone 10-5, have had the AFC South title locked up for the past couple of weeks and Luck has improved as a passer. But when comparing him to arguably the greatest quarterback of the modern era, he hasn't reached that level, at least not yet.
Let's start by looking at the traditional stats, and you can see that Manning has the edge here, leading him in all major categories. In order to compare the stats more accurately, let's use Luck's stats through 15 games and project them for a full 16-game season.
|Second Season Stats: Andrew Luck vs. Peyton Manning|
|*=Projected 2013 Stats|
Perhaps the best news for Luck is that's he's already done a much better job of limiting his turnovers compared to Manning in their first two seasons. While Luck currently has just nine interceptions this season and 27 over his career, Manning threw 43 in his first two years, including 28 in his rookie season.
Also keep in mind that Luck has six fewer interceptions currently this season compared to Manning's second year even though the second-year QB has thrown exactly as many passes as Peyton did back in 1999.
Perhaps the better way to compare the two quarterbacks is by their improvement from their first to second years. When looking at this, you do notice that although there is a difference in yards, the two players improved nearly the same amount during their first two seasons.
|Improvement from First to Second Year: Luck vs. Manning|
|*=Projected 2013 Stats|
From an advanced statistic outlook, however, it appears that Manning had the significant edge. Consider the fact that before 2000, the pass-heavy league that we were so used to didn't really exist, with teams focusing on more balanced offensive attacks. But Manning brought a change, and according to Football Outsiders, he was the second-best quarterback in 1999 in terms of defense-adjusted value over average, or DVOA.
The No. 1 quarterback back then? Kurt Warner.
Of course, we have to take into account the team around the two players.
In 1999, the Colts gave up just 14 sacks, as opposed to the 31 sacks allowed so far this season. Luck has been without future Hall of Fame receiver Reggie Wayne along with promising tight end Dwayne Allen, not to mention the mess in the backfield. For Peyton, he had the likes of Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and Marcus Pollard around him, giving him a very solid team to work with.
While Luck is off to a great start to his career, it's simply not fair to compare him to one of the greatest quarterbacks ever. They're two different players that had completely different teams around them. The potential for Luck is off the charts, and he should be a great quarterback for a very long time, but comparing any young quarterback to Manning this early in their career just isn't fair.
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