Before I begin this little write-up, I’d like to make something known. I realize that a lot of our fan base has grown tired of the Peyton Manning-Andrew Luck comparisons but I truly think people don’t realize just how similar they really are. This will be a 2-3 part series. I say this because I am not sure how much I will include in the next one. So without further ado, I give you a Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck comparison that may have you realize just how lucky of a franchise (no pun intended) the Colts are.
4 MVP’s. Multiple passing records. Countless comeback wins and a Super Bowl championship. Peyton Manning will go down in history as arguably the greatest QB to ever play the game. But before all the MVP’s and passing records, there was this young, promising Quarterback that played for the Tennessee Volunteers. During Manning’s college career at Tennessee, he set numerous marks. Winning 39 of 45 career starts, he owns the SEC record for career wins and is the school’s all-time passing leader. However, Manning’s one mark that people had over him in college was that he couldn’t win the big game and beat rival Florida. This is the first place Luck and Manning’s college career paths intersect. Andrew Luck was also a terrific college Quarterback that owns nearly all of his school’s passing records, surpassing another great Stanford QB by the name of John Elway. Also like Manning however he held the mantra of not being able to win the big game. Twice Andrew Luck and the Stanford Cardinal fell to Oregon over his tenure and like Manning, lost his final bowl game. Both QB’s were both Heisman front-runners at the start of their respective last year’s in college. Manning was eventually beat out by standout defensive back Charles Woodson while Luck watched a late-surging Robert Griffin III take home college football’s most coveted individual achievement. But history has shown us that the Heisman winner doesn’t always have success in the NFL. Barry Sanders, Charles Woodson and Desmond Howard are the only three players out of the most recent era who have won the award and achieved a level of success in the NFL. It can be inferred that “losing” the Heisman could be viewed as the blessing to the curse associated with winning it.
I’m a firm believer in the theory that history repeats itself. In the past, we have seen great civilizations reach their peak; only to fall soon thereafter. Football is little different in this respect. Great teams have their time of dominance before crumbling in the wake of age and injury. And every 10-15 years or so, great players come along that resemble great players from the previous era. When Peyton Manning came out of college, the cross-comparisons between him and Miami Dolphin great Dan Marino were endless. Peyton stated numerous times that he tried emulate his game after Dan Marino. Tom Brady in a lot of ways is viewed as the modern-day Joe Montana. Their similarities range from their Super Bowl successes to the littlest of nuances in their throwing motions. Today, that same cross-comparison can be made between Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck. In college, Luck displayed the ability to have 3 plays “called” in to him from the sideline and was allowed to pick which one would help his team the most. Peyton Manning has done this in the NFL for years and is commonly viewed as the master of this form of the No-Huddle. Manning would have 3 plays called into him by Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore and be in charge of choosing the right one for that down. The fact that Luck is already using this technique in college not only shows another similarity but his pure intelligence as well.
Pedigree is defined as “A chart of an individual's ancestors used in human genetics to analyze Mendelian inheritance of certain traits.” Both Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck have the “pedigree” to be an NFL Quarterback. Peyton’s father, Archie Manning, was an NFL QB who started for a number of years on the Saints. Andrew’s father, Oliver, was also an NFL QB and even played with Archie Manning for a few seasons. The familial connection between Peyton and Andrew doesn’t stop there however. Andrew was a camp counselor at Peyton’s passing academy, a yearly event held to help strengthen and polish the skill of up and coming passers. Both of these Quarterback’s having the same “Pedigree” show another striking similarity that cannot be overlooked.