Joe Knows

Now that the NFL season has ended and another close Super Bowl is in the books, analysts have almost unanimously turned the page to the offseason, where the Peyton Manning saga appears imminent.

(And we know it must be serious if they’re already calling it a saga).

By most accounts, the Indianapolis Colts appear willing to cut ties with Manning after the soon-to-be 36-year-old missed all of the season following neck surgery.

Assuming that the Colts draft Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck—whose bust in Canton is being carved as we speak—Indianapolis will no longer have use for the four-time league MVP.

But my question is what’s the rush in Indy?

While many teams will undoubtedly jump at the chance to ink Manning, I can’t wrap my head around why the Colts want so desperately to dump the future Hall of Famer.

If the Colts, led by eccentric owner Jim Irsay, really do believe Luck gives them the best chance to win immediately, it makes little difference—the aging, ineffectual team has decided otherwise.

It’s not as if this team finds itself in a win-now mode while dealing with a closing window of opportunity—the Colts went 2-14 in 2011 and didn’t appear to have much of a team around any of the journeymen positioned under center.

So if the picture I’ve painted is accurate, wouldn’t it make sense to wait until the traffic clears before taking your sparkly new Ferrari to Peach Street?

If history is any indication of the future, starting a rookie quarterback on a team that can’t surround him with adequate talent is about as beneficial to an NFL team as having Danny DeVito as a tight end.

Ask any Browns fan their opinion on throwing a rookie quarterback to the wolves, and they’ll tell you it’s setting him up for failure.

Instead, the Colts should have done the sensible thing and given Luck the reigns to the baseball cap, clipboard and the goofy earpiece that you only see backup quarterbacks use.

A similar situation worked for Aaron Rodgers. Why not Luck?

Plus, in the event that Luck flops, you didn’t just throw someone with 400 touchdown passes to the curb.

I know what you’re thinking: ‘but he’s can’t-miss.’ Don’t buy it. To me, “can’t-miss” is about as useful a phrase as legacy (see Jan. 25 issue).

I’m not saying Luck isn’t going to be a star—he probably is. But to crown someone a Hall of Famer before he’s even taken a snap could be very dangerous.

Even more dangerous, however, would be hastily disposing of a true Hall of Famer.


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