The past present and future quarterbacks of the Indianapolis Colts will meet Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium and ESPN's NFL Nation spent part of this week asking players if Andrew Luck is the next Peyton Manning. Most of us should agree: There will never be another quarterback with Manning's combination of instincts football intelligence pocket presence and quick release. Let's not bother with that discussion. But can Luck provide the same essential service to the franchise? Will he guide the Colts at a high level through parts of two decades as Manning did from 1998-2010? Luck is off to a good start having won 15 of his first 22 NFL games. Nine of those victories have come via game-winning drives in the fourth quarter a topic we will inspect later this week and he currently is the league's fourth-ranked quarterback via Total QBR. If he continues on that path history tells us the Colts would have accomplished a rare feat in modern NFL history. Following Hall of Fame QBs The chart illustrates the immediate transition from each of the nine Hall of Fame quarterbacks whose careers began after 1980. (We took the liberty of adding Brett Favre eligible in 2016 as a 10th entry. Manning would be No. 11.) Usually these transitions have failed and teams have taken decades to find a true franchise replacement. (Think: Terry Bradshaw to Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh Dan Fouts to Philip Rivers in San Diego and -- yes -- John Elway to Manning in Denver.) In some cases they're still looking. (We're looking at you Miami and Buffalo.) The Green Bay Packers have proved to be the exception. If Aaron Rodgers plays out his seven-year contract the Packers would have achieved 28 consecutive years of elite quarterback play from him and Favre. Can Luck be the Colts' version of Rodgers? Will he add a two-decade career on top of Manning's tenure? Here's what ESPN's NFL Nation found: NFLN Says: Is Andrew Luck the next Peyton Manning? "It's tough to get into comparisons. Peyton is arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time. But I think Andrew has done some really good things so far on a team that's asked a lot of him. So he's done a really good job for them." -- Miami Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin (protected Luck at Stanford) "I think it's too much right now. Peyton is Peyton. You know what he's done he's set himself apart from a lot of people. Andrew Luck is in his second year and yeah he's done some great things but you don't take a second-year guy and compare him to a guy that's done what Peyton's done." -- Oakland Raiders free safety Charles Woodson "I wouldn't call him the next Peyton Manning. He's the next Andrew Luck and there's nothing wrong with that." -- Chicago Bears linebacker Lance Briggs
Can Luck be Manning?
ESPN | Oct 17