Man has searched for treasure ever since he crawled out of the proverbial primordial ooze.
The Holy Grail. The Maltese Falcon. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and Curly’s Gold.
And now, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.
Luck very well could have been the first pick overall instead of Sam Bradford two seasons ago if he had been allowed to enter the NFL draft after his redshirt freshman year. He definitely would have been the first pick overall last season, but he decided to stay in school and continue to study architecture, just like Costanza always wanted to do.
Last season, Luck completed 70.7 percent of 372 passes for 3,338 yards, with 32 touchdowns to eight interceptions. He also had 453 rushing yards, including this impressive run. If that run didn’t impress you, then watch this absurd hit.
This year, provided he opts to grab that cash with both hands and make a stash, he will be the most coveted collegiate quarterback since Peyton Manning. Which leads one to think that some team is going to tank this season for Luck, if not several teams.
Quarterbacks like Luck can keep a team as a contender for a decade—just look at Manning, or Tom Brady or Philip Rivers. Obviously Luck isn’t at their level right now—but, coming out of college, no quarterback (save Manning, maybe) has had a higher grade than Luck.
“He is the best prospect I’ve studied, period,” says Jon Gruden.
According to cbssports.com’s Rob Rang, “A number of scouts over the long weekend made it clear that the comparison to some of the all-time greats aren’t merely media hype —the scouts are drawing parallels, too. Luck’s size, arm strength and surprising speed earn high grades from scouts. His accuracy, ability to read defenses and poise are earning even more exemplary marks.”
And later, “He’s the best quarterback AND elite prospect – including LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Hutchinson, Calvin Johnson Ndamukong Suh — I’ve scouted, including every Senior Bowl, since 2001.”
The modern comparison for Luck would probably be Aaron Rodgers (smart, athletic and an accurate big arm). But a little bigger: Luck is 6’4’’, 235 and Rodgers is 6’2”, 223.
Luck can save jobs and a franchise, and team head-honchos know this.
Now, no team is going to out-and-out quit from the get-go; this is still a league scarier than a meth-house in Topeka, with deranged psychotics so obsessed with W’s they’d probably offer their first-born to Rumpelstiltskin for just a division victory.
But starting in Week 4, maybe Week 5, you’ll start to see some teams with one or zero wins start to do some strange, inexplicable things: playing with only seven players, punting on third down, signing and starting Jeff George, hiring Jerry Glanville as interim head coach and instituting a strict “No Steroids” policy – the greatest sign a team is purposely trying to lose.
But who will those teams be? Let’s take a guess.
For starters, Chad Henne and Matt Moore are their quarterbacks. So the incentive is there.
Secondly, they plan on making Reggie Bush a focal point of the offense. Didn’t the Saints just spend five seasons realizing that couldn’t happen?
Thirdly, Miami already tried to replace head coach Tony Sparano. So, an early losing streak would probably be the impetus for the Dolphins front office to finally fire him. Then, they go to the assistants and say, “whichever one of you is on-board with getting Luck will be the interim coach and on the staff next season.”
But, then again, the Dolphins did have the sixth-best defense last season. Maybe Brandon Marshall and Bush both harness their god-given ability, Henne plays like the quarterback that showed promise in 2009, and Miami wins just enough games to lose the Luck sweepstakes.
Mike Shanahan is going into this season more than satisfied with either John Beck or Rex Grossman at quarterback.
Are we sure he’s trying to win games?
With those two at quarterback, the second-worst defense in the league last season and clearly the worst team in their division, the Redskins are looking at a long season. Perhaps that was the plan.
However, Washington should be able to run the ball well this season (both Tim Hightower and Roy Helu have looked very good in the preseason), and that should open things up for either Beck or Grossman.
How Washington does in the first half of the season (featuring games against Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, St. Louis and San Francisco) will determine their position for the Luck lottery.
A winning record would be disastrous.
There is some chatter in the ether that Pete Carroll wants to get USC quarterback Matt Barkley in the next draft. But Carroll saw Andrew Luck up close in 2009 when Luck led the Stanford Cardinal to a 55-21 beatdown over Carroll’s Trojans.
Luck has only improved since then and there is no reason to think Carroll wouldn’t be immune to Luck’s charms.
Throw in that Carroll signed Tarvaris Jackson to be his starting quarterback this season and I’d almost guarantee the tanking plan is already afoot.
John Elway is the new Denver Broncos personnel man, the last (and only) great Broncos’ quarterback and the last great Stanford Cardinal quarterback to boot. In addition, the Broncos’ long-term quarterback situation is murky and confidence in last year’s first-round pick Tim Tebow is waning by the hour.
Don't think he'd like to get Andrew Luck on board?
The defense, which was the worst in the league last season, doesn’t expect to be much better this season. New head coach John Fox won’t be fired after one season, so maybe he decides, "Screw it."
But, some nagging feeling in the back of my mind says Fox would sooner eat a cyanide pill than purposely lose a game.
It just makes too much sense.
Jim Harbaugh, Luck’s former Stanford head coach, is the new head coach of the 49ers.
Harbaugh also made it a point to bring back quarterback Alex Smith, to every San Francisco fan’s chagrin.
It’s too obvious.