With the recent 5-0 start of the Denver Broncos and the unthinkable start of arguably the greatest quarterback of all time (...Brady), Peyton Manning, many are questioning whether the Colts decision to let the quarterback go and opt to draft Andrew Luck of Stanford two Aprils ago was the right decision. Some are saying the Colts should regret their decision. I say these people are crazy, I mean, one of them is Skip Bayless.
Peyton Manning was a 35 year old coming off his fourth neck surgery. He was going to enter the second year of a five year $90 million dollar contract, in which he missed the entire first season of the deal. Reports circulated that Manning had lost some "zip" on the football, and struggled to throw the ball to the right side of the field with throws over ten yards. The Colts were set to select number one and have the opportunity to select the highest touted quarterback prospect in years, or the other guy who had happened to win a Heisman that season. We can argue why Luck was the clear choice over RG3 later, but the Colts made the right call to drop Manning.
Manning was a liability at the time. It is obvious that he can still play at a high level and looks like he'll win a record 5th NFL MVP award this season, but it shouldn't matter. Manning is currently 37 years old and who knows how long he can continue to play. He has a quick release and limits the hits he takes, so he could potentially play another five season, but would you trade those five years for 15+ with Luck?
Luck was as close to a sure thing as you can be coming out of college. He has all the physical tools to be great. He has underrated athleticism, a strong arm, ability to extend the field, a quick release, and exceptional football and academic acumen. Of course it is a risk to select a rookie and hand him the keys to the car that is your franchise, but this is like handing your keys to a UPS driver. Sure he could get in an accident, but it's more than likely he'll get the job done, quickly and efficiently. Luck is the best college prospect I can personally remember watching.
Luck has an overall record as a starter of 15-7 as a starter, including the playoffs, and took a two wins team, to 11 wins in his first season. The team wasn't riddled with depth or talent either, as Vick Ballard lead the team in rushing and the number two receiver was Donnie Avery, who had shown flashes with the Rams, but isn't lighting the world on fire. The defense, which is now very tough, had been suspect in the past, but Luck continued to help his team win. Though he threw 18 interceptions, his yards per attempt were among lead leader, as he constantly stretched the field and made plays.
Luck and the Colts are now 4-1 after beating Seattle today, and look like contenders in the AFC, though Denver is the obvious favorite. With Luck, the Colts are built for success over the next 15 years barring injuries and awful management. Sure, Manning could have been great another five years, but the unknowns outweigh the benefits of Luck. My guess is Luck will be great enough to bring the Colts a Lombardi trophy during his career, he's that talented. Manning had brought them one title in 14 seasons, so I'll take my chances with Luck. The Colts should have no regrets, not even a second thought, as they made the right choice.