Thursday, the 8th of November 2012 is an important date. Some may have had it circled on their calendar months ago, while others may still over look the significance of Andrew Luck’s debut on prime time. It should be must see TV, as the kid out of Stanford, current first overall draft pick, and potentially the best rookie quarterback ever, jumps up on stage in the latest installment of Thursday Night Football. All the world’s a stage, but tomorrow night there is but one player. This is posited with sincere apologies to Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis, and Dwight Freeney, but surely they are enjoying this season and Luck’s emergence into super stardom as much as anyone.
This story really begins around this time last season, when the winless Colts sat at 0-8, while Luck was leading the Standford Cardinals, who were sitting pretty with a 9-0 record. Of course, perennial Pro Bowler Peyton Manning was sidelined with a neck injury and Luck was already being considered the heir apparent behind center in Indianapolis. Thankfully, it never played out quite that simply, and similar to everything that is great about football, the drama played on and the plot thickened. It began with the emergence of Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III, an award almost guaranteed to be Luck’s, and then the situation was further complicated by Manning’s improved health, a 28 million dollar bonus, and the Colts’ first overall draft position. The Colts released Manning, selected Luck with the first overall pick, and the Redskins went all in and traded up to the two slot to select Robert Griffin III. Since then, Luck has constantly been compared and analyzed alongside the other two and it seems that this is going to continue for years, played out in if onlys and what ifs.
So why not continue to roll into it head on? The Manning vs Luck comparison is well documented at this point. The two have thrown for the exact same number of passing yards this season, while leading their team’s to identical records of 5-3. Only Tom Brady and Drew Brees are throwing for more yards per game. Last season the Broncos made the playoffs, and even upset the Steelers in an AFC Wildcard Game, whereas the Colts finished dead last in the NFL. The Colts quarterback situation certainly influenced that last place finish, and most would argue only an elite passer could have won with that group – enter Andrew Luck. Meanwhile, Peyton entered a nice situation in Denver, and the Broncos instantly entered the AFC Championship Game conversation, and Manning has been fantastic, outside of his slip up against the undefeated Falcons. Now, back to Mr. Andrew Luck, who has been every bit as good as the seasoned veteran, and with an arguably weaker supporting cast. Andrew Luck may rewrite the rookie passing history book, and right now he is performing on par with the elite quarterbacks in the league. So just how long before he enters that elite and highly debated tier of the best quarterbacks in the NFL?
But what about Robert Griffin III? Who is the most exciting fantasy football player since LaDainian Tomlinson (who was even throwing touchdown passes in his prime), but Griffin III hasn’t had the same fortune of winning that Luck has had. Griffin III is coming off of two of his worst professional games, and the Redskins are 3-6. The Redskins are rebuilding, and everyone knows it, but the Colts rebuild season looks like it could result in a realistic push for the playoffs already, and that alone showcases the talents of Andrew Luck. Griffin III may have been the first to be a fantasy football superstar, but in the NFL, I heard you play to win the game. But, enough with the comparisons, the reason that tomorrow night’s game is must see TV is that there will be no distractions, there are no other games to switch over to, and for some, it will be the first opportunity to see Luck for a full 4 quarters. It is time to see what this kid is all about, so tune in and enjoy, he is a special talent and the Colts will be looking from the inside out with a 6-3 record through Week 10.