By: Tom Ciampoli, Sports Editor
The Indianapolis Colts just stumbled through a 2-14 season in 2012, so it may seem a little weird when I call them the luckiest and most fortunate team in the National Football League right now. The last time the Colts had a season like this was in 1997, after which they drafted a senior quarterback from the University of Tennessee with the first overall pick of the 1998 draft named Peyton Manning. Like his father, Archie, Peyton, proved to be a natural signal-caller. Unlike his father, however, the younger Manning was known more for making plays with his eye pre-snap and his rocket arm post-snap, rather thank his agility and quick feet, which was his old man’s claim to fame. Indianapolis enjoyed an impressive run under Manning’s reign, reaching three AFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls. In 2007, Manning and the Colts defeated the Chicago Bears, 29-17, for the team’s first Super Bowl win since moving to Indy from their city of origin, Baltimore, Md.
Now, almost 15 years later, when the Colts need another franchise-leading quarterback to rescue their team after letting Manning go, they plan on drafting… Manning 2.0. Stanford’s junior quarterback Andrew Luck is considered one of the biggest sure-thing, can’t-miss prospects in draft history, along the lines of fellow Stanford alum John Elway in the notoriously QB-heavy draft class of 1983. He could have been the first overall selection had he left school last year, but Luck decided to stay in school for an extra year, taking the opportunity to lead his team to a BCS game and take runner-up in the Heisman Trophy race for the second consecutive season. Some think the Colts may regret not taking Baylor’s dynamic Robert Griffin III instead of Luck. Griffin, who won the Heisman this season, is a player along the lines of Michael Vick or Aaron Rodgers, a playmaker who teams and fans alike can’t take their eyes off of when they possess the ball in their hands. For most critics, however, potential matchups this season against Tom Brady of the New England Patriots and Matt Schaub of the Houston Texans (should Luck officially be drafted by the Colts in primetime on April 26) are already being analyzed and scrutinized.
Luck sure looks like a surefire ticket to multiple playoff appearances and maybe even conference championships barring injury or another major unforeseen setback. They say the rich just get richer, and the Colts, one of the best-run organizations in both football and all of professional sports, just got a little bit Luck-ier.