Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 9/17/13
The Indianapolis Colts dish out 10-win seasons as if it is an easy thing to do in the NFL. During the Peyton Manning Era (1998-2010), Indy racked up 11 seasons with 10 wins or better, failing to reach the 10-win mark in Manning’s rookie season and 2001. Even after Manning signed with the Denver Broncos following the 2011 season, Manning’s popularity in Indiana remained sky-high, and even in 2013 blue Manning jerseys are popular. The Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital still operates under the same name even though Manning is no longer a Colt. One of the most difficult tasks a person can have is figuring out how to replace a legend. When Indy selected Andrew Luck as the 1st pick overall in the 2012 Draft, Luck was forced to do just that.When Andrew Luck played at Stanford, he was considered one of the best QB prospects since John Elway. Luck was a big QB as well as one of the most intelligent players in all of college football. Although Robert Griffin III (RG3) impressed many scouts coming out of college, Luck was a no-brainer first pick for the Indianapolis Colts.  Even though Luck seemed to be the most qualified candidate for the QB job, replacing Peyton Manning would be no easy task.Luck was named the starting QB for Week 1, just as Manning was in 1998, vs. the Chicago Bears; Colts fans were ready to see what the future would hold. I remember watching Luck struggle throughout the game, and I began to wonder if RG3 would have been a better selection. Although Indy lost that game, Luck swayed my opinion by leading the Colts to a 10-6 season that earned Indy a playoff berth, compared to Manning’s 3-13 rookie season. One of the things that I noticed about Luck throughout the season is that he never looked like a rookie. He would still throw interceptions at times, but that may be because he took more hits than any other QB in the league last season. Luck led the Colts to 8 wins on game-winning drives...8 wins! This is an astonishing number considering Luck was a rookie playing with a lot of rookies on offense.Luck’s speed helps him out on occasion, something that Manning never possessed. In his rookie season, Luck threw for 4,374 yards (a rookie record), 23 TD and 18 INT. Manning threw for fewer yards (3,739) and more interceptions (28) than Luck did his rookie year.Peyton Manning’s on the field play, charitable ways, and comical commercials are legendary; all of which earned him a permanent spot in the hearts of Colts fans. My first football jersey ever was a Peyton Manning jersey. I also have had a Manning bobble-head since I was a little kid. I’ll never forget the successful regular seasons or the Super Bowl XLI victory, but I’m excited to see what the future will bring with Andrew Luck. When it’s all said and done, “Andrew Luck” may be a more common name around Indiana than “Peyton Manning” ever was.
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