The Indianapolis Colts are expected to take Andrew Luck with the first pick in the upcoming NFL draft. This will go down in history as one of the biggest “misses” of all time because Luck is doomed to fail.
“Doomed” may be too strong a word. It might be more accurate to say that if he succeeds it will be miraculous.
His impending failure has nothing to do with his abilities as a quarterback. He had a stellar college career that showed him to be accurate and intelligent. For an NFL QB, he has great athleticism even though he does not possess the same gifts as Robert Griffin III, the player that is likely to be picked right after Luck. As a matter of fact, all reports I have seen say that Luck even has those elusive “intangibles” that make a great QB, which include a knack for winning and leadership.
So why am I saying that he is doomed to fail?
First, he is replacing a legend. Peyton Manning was the single most valuable player in franchise history (going back only to when they moved from Baltimore to Indy) and one of the best QB's to ever play the game. Without Manning, the Colts went from being a playoff caliber team that had a shot at the SuperBowl to being the worst team in the entire league.
Those are huge shoes to fill. I know...other quarterbacks have done well when forced to follow living legends. Aaron Rodgers replaced Brett Favre and won a SupoerBowl. Steve Young replaced Joe Montana and won multiple SuperBowls while compiling the best QB rating ever. But, let us remember that Rodgers sat behind Favre for a couple years and learned. Young sat behind Montana too and, before that, he had been a starter in NFL with Tampa and in the USFL.
Those other replacements had more maturity that one could reasonably expect from a kid just coming out of college. They also had years of experience on NFL sidelines (Steve Young also passed the bar exam...). Andrew Luck will go from big-time college football to center stage in the NFL in a matter of months. He is bound to stumble at some point and none of us know how he will react.
Secondly, first draft picks usually fail in the NFL. Luck might be the best prospect since John Elway, but we have seen other such prospects fail. Some fail spectacularly and others just never live up to the hype. Luck will have to play well early, often, and for many years to not be considered a bust.
That is not fair, but it is reality.
Thirdly, the Colts are not a good team. Several starters on offense are gone or still unsigned. The Head Coach was fired after the 2011 season. The General Manager was fired. Everyone will be learning a new system, including Luck. The Colts are like an expansion team and we all know how poorly quarterbacks do with expansion teams.
Lastly, and this ties into the last point, Jim Irsay is exerting his influence over the team. This cannot be good for Andrew Luck...just ask any Cowboy or Redskins fan how it works out when an owner takes charge.
No one is saying that Jim Irsay is a drunken liar like his father was reported to be: S.I. Article on Bob Irsay . As a matter of fact, reports say that in his younger years, Jim Irsay was sometimes found apologizing for his father's words and actions. But, there are similarities between father and son.
A few years ago, Jim Irsay “threatened” to move the team out of Indianapolis unless he got a new stadium and generous lease deal. Baltimore Colts fans will recognize the tactic because it was similar to what father Bob Irsay used when he moved the Colts to Indianapolis.
The Colts are now clearly Jim Irsay's team in more than just ownership. The same thing occurred with the Baltimore Colts under his father's reign.
( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4l-MltYGzk )
As a matter of fact, Colt legend Johnny Unitas was unceremoniously disposed of during Robert Irsay's early tenure. After that, the senior Irsay set about firing coaches and general managers as he took over more and more of the football operations. This will sound familiar to anyone who followed the Colts 2012 off-season. Jim Irsay did not bungle the ditching of a legend quite as poorly as his father did, but it was a close thing. Aside from the Manning fiasco, Jim Irsay also ousted Bill Polian who was widely considered to have been a great judge of talent and a large of part the Colt's success in the Manning era.
It is clear, to me at least, that Jim Irsay is becoming the face of his franchise much as his dad became in Baltimore. Other notable owners who have taken an active role in their team's talent searches include Daniel Snyder and Jimmy Jones. Here again, Cowboys and Redskins fans will attest to the glaring lack of success each franchise has had over the past decade.
It looks like the apple, in some ways at least, does not fall far from the tree.
Andrew Luck will not only be fighting his inexperience, his team's lack of talent, and the legend of Peyton Manning, he will also be trying to coexist with an owner who takes to Twitter to defend himself or comment on the state of the franchise.
Luck is a very talented athlete that has a tough road ahead of him.
As much as I also like Robert Griffin III, if the Colts fool everyone and take him instead of Luck, I doubt he could fare any better with the Colts. The low probability of success for the new QB of the Colts has little to do with their talent and much to do with the circumstances they are entering.
Sorry, Colts fan. My guess is that you are headed for a number of years of mediocrity bordering on hopelessness.