When Stanford QB Andrew Luck was told about the whole “suck for luck” concept (i.e. the idea that teams might intentionally lose to get the first pick so that they can draft him) he said, and I quote, it was “stupid.” And last night, with the pitiful Colts beating the hobbled Houston Texans, the commentary got dumber. People were actually getting upset with the Colts for wanting to win.
To any competitor, there’s a simple answer for why the Colts didn’t give up: cause winning is good and losing is bad and no amount of hypothetical benefits to losing makes winning any less fun or desirable. It just doesn’t. There are many Colts who won’t even be on the team next year to play with Andrew Luck (Reggie Wayne? Hello?). Hell, they might not be on any team. But football records are kept forever and a team losing on purpose isn’t something that will be remembered fondly or remembered at all, for that matter. They will simply be remembered as losers…giver-uppers…folks with no heart.
I think one thing people can’t wrap their mind around is the Colts team actually being bad enough to lose as many games as they have without there being some intent behind it. That goes back to the whole “Peyton Manning should be MVP” poppycock that’s been bandied about with simple minded people arguing that the Colts are so bad without Manning and so good WITH him that OBVIOUSLY he’s the most valuable player ever in history.
My biggest issue with this, besides the fact that it’s just dumb to reward a player (and by association a team) for caring nothing about their backup QB situation, run protection or defense, but also that the Colts were, at best, WITH Manning, a 9 win team THIS YEAR. And 9 is thinking positive cause after all this is THE Peyton Manning.
The AFC just ain’t what it used to be. Playing teams like the Cincinnati Bengals or even the Houston Texans isn’t a guaranteed win right now. The Colts got lucky last night with their superfluously terrible second backup QB Orlovsky leading the kind of drive that his lack of pocket awareness and general issues with football sense wouldn’t indicate he could actually do in life ever. But this game could have easily gone the other way even with Manning playing had the Texans not been down to their 8th string QB.
Let’s look at the Colts schedule this year:
Week 1 – Texans
Week 2 – Browns
Week 3 – Steelers
Week 4 – Bucs
Week 5 –Chiefs
Week 6 – Bengals
Week 7 – Saints
Week 8 – Titans
Week 9 – Falcons
Week 10 – Jags
Week 11 – Bye
Week 12 –Panthers
Week 13 – Patriots
Week 14 – Ravens
Week 15 – Titans
Week 16 – Texans
Week 17 – Jaguars
The Colts’ only two wins have come in their last two games against the Titans and Texans. Realistically you could say that the Colts could have counted on beating the Bucs (even though the Bucs started the season well I’m going to give this one to the Colts), the Jags twice, Browns and probably the Panthers given their horrid defense. I’m being generous here !!
Let’s assume they split the four Texans and Titans games. That’s 7 wins at most on the weak end of the schedule which, as the Packers found out against the Chiefs, anything can happen against weak teams on a random football Sunday. But even with all those in their pocket, they would have still had to contend with the Ravens, Steelers, Bengals, Saints, Patriots, Falcons and a dangerous Chiefs team to make more than 7 wins.
Yesterday, Jim Irsay put a further damper on Suck for Luck by saying “if” Manning plays next year it will be for the Colts. We don’t know if Manning will play but it’s obvious he’s doing everything he can to make it back much to my amazement. I’ve kind of accepted that Manning WILL be back (after previously accepting that he definitely wouldn’t, cause I mean who would do that with kids at home?) so now my interest lies in whether Wayne returns next year and what other changes the Colts make to the team to make them competitive. Assuming they’re not still putting all their proverbial eggs in Manning’s basket.
On a separate note, does anyone care what kind of pressure this puts on Luck? Or better yet, the kind of expectations it puts on whatever team drafts him? Admittedly, I’ve only seen Luck play twice. But it’s hard for me to imagine him being heads and tails better than the Panthers’ Cam Newton or even the Bengals Andy Dalton for that matter. And let’s remember, last year around this time we were all supposed to think that Blaine Gabbert was the best of the QB bunch. I think people need to back off with this narrative and begin to let chips fall where they may.
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