Got luck, Andrew will need it to replace an NFL icon

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Andrew LuckAndrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts has all eyes on him by the fans, organization and critics. The pressure of being the first pick in the draft is immense. Some will watch in support, others to critique and criticize.  Now imagine you’re the first pick and a quarterback.  The target on your back just increased tenfold as now you will touch the ball nearly every offensive play.  But why stop there?  Let’s take it a step further.  What if you are the No. 1 overall draft pick, a quarterback, and the replacement of an NFL icon?  All of a sudden the weight of the world is on your shoulders because now not only must you contend with expectations but you will also always draw comparisons to your predecessor.  And in this case, it’s none other than Mr. Quarterback himself, Peyton Manning.

Manning was the Colts’ starting quarterback and the undeniable face of the franchise for the past 14 seasons.  Yes, he on played 13 of those but even in his absence he was talked more about than his hapless team that went 2-14 without him.  All that Manning has accomplished during his tenure as a Colt is to amass 54,828 passing yards, a 64.9 completion percentage, 399 touchdown passes, and a career QB rating of 94.9.  Not to mention two Super Bowl appearances with one win, four league MVP’s and 11 Pro Bowls.  Those numbers are staggering and will be staring Luck in the face right alongside opposing NFL defenses.  Talk about intimidation.

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If you look at NFL history Luck will need more than just Luck to replace Peyton Manning.  He’ll need the right pieces in place around him.  Not having those pieces is why the Dolphins have never replaced Dan Marino, the Broncos John Elway, or the Cowboys Troy Aikman.  Each of those quarterbacks was great, but let’s not forget that there was talent around them to compliment their respective skill sets.  The same is true for Manning who had guys like Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison and Dallas Clark on offense.  And even with that, it wasn’t until the Colts put an emphasis on defense that they finally got over the hump and won a Super Bowl.

So can Luck successfully replace an NFL icon?  Yes, but it will be an uphill battle from day one.  Don’t look at the model put in place by the Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers’ replacement of Brett Favre.  Rodgers had the luxury of sitting behind Favre for three seasons before taking the reins of a team that had just gone to the NFC Championship.  A quick step back after the insertion of Rodgers and the Packers were ready to contend again.  In the case of Indianapolis, the team is a mess and still has questions to answer as to who their head coach will be and the future status of Manning.

After that, all eyes and hopes for the future of the franchise will turn towards a not so lucky QB out of Stanford; Andrew Luck.  Good luck!

Aaron Moon is the CEO for The Sports Blitz.  He can be followed on Facebook and Twitter @Da_Bear_Truth.

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