Originally posted on The Sports Rocker  |  Last updated 1/6/12
At one point early in this past Sunday's loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Indianapolis Colts defense was backed up on its own one yard line. Third-and-goal from the one, the Jaguars would surely get in. But for once, the Colts D held its ground. For some bizarre reason, the Jags (perhaps thinking points would be at a premium) decided to go for it on fourth down only to get, for some even more bizarre reason, stuffed again. As the ball turned over on downs, I thought, the Colts just lost Luck.

I was wrong, of course. The Colts would move the ball barely five yards before punting; the Jags would score all of 90 seconds later and never look back. Even the final score was deceptive, after halftime it was never in doubt: the Jags would win, the Colts lose and, with it, secure the overall number one pick in the upcoming 2012 NFL Draft.

In hindsight it seems almost unreal, this team (at one point in the season 0-13) was literally one errant score from not ending up with the worst record. To their credit, the St. Louis Rams did their part by losing seven straight to finish the season, included the season-ender to the Niners. Applaud the Rams who really looked like they were trying to lose, as opposed to the Colts who screwed around so much they nearly lost the chance at Andrew Luck.

Appropriately enough, Andrew Luck's career at Stanford ended with a whimper as well. After losing the Heisman race in 2010, Luck decided to return to school for his senior season to conceivably win the Heisman and win the national championship. In the end, he got neither. Robert Griffin III of Baylor snuck in late (a debate of its own) to steal the Heisman trophy; a loss in the regular season killed his chance at the national title game. (The Fiesta Bowl loss to Oklahoma State was like salt on the wound.) With that, Luck's stellar college career came to a sad close, where he'll be remembered as much for his inability to capture any significant titles as he will be for his amazing talent.

In a way, though, that's kind of like the plight of the Colts the past few years. For all the talent and ability in Peyton's throwing arm and brain, through 14 years of dedicated service from one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game (a debate we'll save for if/when he retires), the Colts managed only one Superbowl win. Am I being hard on Peyton? Maybe. But consider, if his career ends tomorrow, he'll have just as many titles as Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson. Ouch. Why didn't the Colts win more? After Edge left they never had a stud RB, they struggled to replace Marvin Harrison and complement Reggie Wayne, they didn't built a solid defense beyond Freeney and Sanders: all of these are faults that originate at the top of the organization.

Earlier this week, the Colts fired Bill Polian, architect of the past decade of success. It was only fitting then, after such a dreadful season, that Polian admitted he was likely fired for failing to find an adequate backup for Peyton. Ironic since the Colts are now, due to Polian's lack of forethought, in a perfect position to draft Peyton's successor.
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