A superstar is growing right under the noses of the 49ers. Like the perfect son, he eats his vegetables, does his homework, mows the lawn without being asked and even helps the neighborhood grandma cross the street. Like a proud parent, we watch his growth and maturity every week, as he puts all of his hard work to use and does exactly what we expect him to do. And that is winning football games.
“Winning” might be an understatement—he dominates.
But this wonderful son of ours is one year away from that day that many parents dread. He’s growing up and it’s time to move out. No matter how much we wish him to stay, the I’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, the cars fueled up and the bags are almost packed. It’s time to go.
As he gets into the car and begins to drive away, you will know he’s going to be successful, you will know he’s going to be OK but you also know he’s going to be gone. The sad realization hits as you turn around to walk away.
You look around and notice the grass is long and you see grandma looking aimlessly across the street waiting for the help that she had grown so accustomed to—it’s back to the old.
As the 49ers enter into the second half of their once potential filled season, the damage has been done and the dirt has been thrown. A 2-6 record has brought anything but happiness to the City by the Bay; instead it’s brought the feeling of motion sickness that a child gets on a carousel after a lunch of a funnel cakes, corn dogs and dippin’ dots. Hopefully it stops soon or there’s going to be a real mess to clean up.
The quarterback battle has again reared its ugly head in San Francisco, but for most, there is little hope as the up and comer is being looked at as nothing more than a band aid on an amputee. The Naysayers may be wrong, and who knows, the new Smith—Troy Smith—may be the savior of this team. But if that is not the case, there is someone special who is getting a lot of attention these days.
Just down the street in Palo Alto Stanford sophomore quarterback Andrew Luck has continued to build on his already immaculate reputation.
As a high school quarterback, Luck threw for 7,139 yards and 53 touchdowns while also rushing for 2,085 more. Not only a star on the field, Luck also graduated top of his class as a co-valedictorian. With a pedigree that reeks of Stanford athlete, one can only imagine his admission to Stanford was an easy ride.
After a year as a red shirt freshman, apparently time spent wisely (Luck has gained 30 pounds since arriving at Stanford), it was Andrew Lucks time to take the reins, and he has never let go.
With an offense bolstered by the “should be” 2009 Heisman Trophy winning running back Toby Gerhart, the young quarterbacks arm was not so heavily relied on. Yet Luck managed to put up impressive numbers by any standards and record numbers against past Stanford freshman quarterbacks.
2010 has brought with it a Stanford football team that has little changed outside of the elephant in the room that was Toby Gerhart. With the work horse gone, the team has jumped on the back of their second year quarterback and rode to an impressive and, if not for a loss to the nation’s number one ranked team Oregon, nearly perfect season.
With three regular season games yet to play, Luck is racking up banner numbers, completing nearly 68 percent of his passes for 2,213 yards and 22 touchdowns while tossing only 6 interceptions giving him a quarterback rating of 162.4. Comparable to the QB rating of Steve Young’s best year at BYU of 166.5 and over 14 points better than Young’s college average.
To go with the great arm, brains and instinct, Luck shares another valuable trait with the Hall of Famer, the ability to scramble and make something out of nothing. In the first nine games of the 2010 season the spry quarterback has already managed 370 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground while averaging nearly 9 yards per carry.
The guy is good! He is going to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. I know it, he knows it, there are few out there that doubt it, but this young gentleman has not allowed this fame and promise of fortune get to his head.
While many doubt he will hold off the NFL long enough to walk with his fellow graduates and obtain his degree in architectural design, Luck still holds steady to the fact that a degree is firstly important to himself and his parents—football will have to wait.
While Andrew Luck continues to hit the books, wide receivers, and unlucky USC corner backs, 49er fans will continue to keep one eye on this growing star and the other on the mess that is the 49ers organization.
Unfortunately, chances are that we spend the next two years pointing fingers and throwing blame at quarterbacks and coaches and owners over whose fault the 49ers woes should be slapped on. Meanwhile, Luck will continue to mature into the star that he is destined to be, making a career for himself and his coach Jim Harbaugh.
All the while, the Niners will manage to win just enough games over the next couple of years to keep all 6'4" inches, 235 pounds of pure quarterback goodness just out of their reach. We will watch as some down and out team turns their fate and adds a little bit of ‘Luck’ with a very early first round pick. Hopefully next time, they won’t be in our division (stay away Arizona!).
The 49er Faithful will look on like that parent who watches that child drive away, down the streets of Palo Alto, unto a successful life and career—somewhere else. We will turn around as his car disappears to see the grass is still long and grandmas still waiting on the sidewalk. Nothing will have changed.
Man…I hope I’m wrong.