How does a “professional” sports franchise set its self up so that the entire team’s fate rests on one man’s shoulders? Regardless of who wins the NFL’s MVP award this season, Indianapolis Colts fans will be painfully aware that the true most valuable player never took a snap. With “field general” and quarterback Payton Manning at the helm, the Colts won a league-record 115 regular-season games from 2000 to 2009, tied the league record with nine straight playoff appearances, won two AFC titles and a Super Bowl crown. Then Manning underwent 3 neck surgeries in 19 months to repair a damaged nerve. In the absence of one of footballs greatest all time passers; the team’s performance has been dismal at best. In the NFL, winning is the only option, so one would think that sitting at a frigid 0-10 on the season would have management and fans calling for someone’s head. However, the Colts are in first place in one category that is making the winless season seem a little sunnier. It’s billed as “the Andrew Luck sweepstakes,” and its giving everyone in Indy their very own pair of rose colored glasses. Last place mean 1st pick on draft day and Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is the front runner to take the stage in the big apple and shake hands with Colts owner Jim Irsay.
While Luck looks to be as sure a thing at quarterback as we’ve seen coming from the collegiate ranks in recent years, you just never know. The NFL is a different beast and predicting who can handle it has been notoriously tenuous. From an outsider’s perspective, I say the Colts should come up with a plan B should (a.) Payton not return to glory, and (b.) Luck be just one more wasted first pick to add to a sprawling list. With an offense that has talented players (Wayne, Clark, Garcon, Addai, etc…), just maybe they could benefit from not having to rely solely on the guy under center for everything to work. Plan B should be game plan B, because when Manning went down the Indianapolis Colts lost not just a quarterback but their offensive coordinator, head coach, and meal ticket.