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Andrew Luck Retiring from NFL

According to Adam Schefter, he's "mentally worn down" from fighting injuries and "ready to walk away." According to Darren Rovell, he's giving up $58.1 million in future earnings. We knew he wasn't healthy and might not start in Week 1, but I don't think anyone pictured him walking away. I'm not sure if I can remember a more shocking, out of nowhere retirement announcement in the NFL. I suppose he could come back in a year after he mentally and physically resets himself? Meanwhile, Jacoby Brissett is now the starting quarterback of the Colts and the Colts are no longer the favorites to win the AFC South. (By our numbers, it's probably now Tennessee.)

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167 comments, Last at 30 Aug 2019, 3:20pm

1 Whoa

I guess this means the scramble for the ball AFC south predictions need to be redone???

7 Fortunately, Andrew and I…

In reply to by vrao81

Fortunately, Andrew and I put those off until the last moment.  We might have a thing or two to say about this.

2 "I'm not sure if I can…

"I'm not sure if I can remember a more shocking, out of nowhere retirement announcement in the NFL."

Barry Sanders was definitely more shocking. I think Calvin Johnson and Sterling Sharpe were comparable.

3 Patrick Willis?

I'd say Patrick Willis is the most similar. Absolutely, unquestionably elite at his peak, but worn down by injuries at the end. Retired young before he did too much damage to his body. Both Luck and Willis carried their units, elevating everyone around them, and their retirements turned the 49ers D/Colts O from at worst a top 15 unit to the bottom third of the league at best.

13 I was too young to have an…

I was too young to have an opinion at the time, but Sanders was 31 at the time he retired, and was a running back. I can't imagine a 31-year old RB retiring is as shocking as a 29-year old QB. 31 is old for a RB.

26 I'd push back on that

Running backs were viewed differently at the time, and 31 wasn't particularly old, especially for a good one. And Sanders, specifically, was still considered to be near the top of the peak. He had rushed for 1400 yards the year before, and he was only one year removed from his 2000 yard, MVP season. As a personal note, I had the version of Madden that year and IIRC he was still a 99 rating. He was still considered a franchise cornerstone.

Knowing what we know now about RB career curves, a retirement at age 31 doesn't seem as surprising. But at the time, it was definitely thought that he had left a lot of All-Pro quality seasons on the table.

47 re sanders

Sanders was also within 1 great or 1.5 good seasons of breaking Payton's record. I think Sanders was more shocking because, unlike Luck, Sanders had no history of nagging injuries. He was beloved and one of the most popular players in the league in the 90s (possibly the most). But like Luck, he screwed his team over by retiring after the draft and free agency. That said the 99 Lions made the playoffs, and would have in 2000 as well if not for a crazy Paul Edinger Bears fg in the finale. 


58 I think the timing makes…

In reply to by Jetspete

I think the timing makes Luck more surprising.  If Luck had retired between February and June, it wouldn't have been shocking - knowing his injury history.  But to pull the plug 2 weeks before the season starts makes it more shocking to me than Sanders was.

52 Less so at the time, and…

Less so at the time, and Sanders retired earlier than his healthy contemporaries (Thomas, 34; Smith, 35; Bettis, 36). The guys who retired at his age did so because they broke down (Davis, 28; Martin, 32; George, 31).

It's remarkable that Sanders had 500 fewer career carries than Curtis Martin, and 1000 fewer than Smith.

But some of the shock was the manner. Barry literally phoned the Lions from a payphone in Detroit Metro Airport and told them he was retired just before he boarded a plane to France to marry a newscaster no one knew he was dating. It's amazing he kept either of those things secret, lot alone dropping both bombshells at once!

9 They tried, they just had…

They tried, they just had the wrong people in charge, though Grigson and Pagano seemed like good hires at the time.

Luck retiring just as the colts landed a renaissance in terms of the draft hurts. They will be too talented to bottom out to draft a pick like Lawrence or Tua the way they did when Peyton was gone.

A sad moment and a definite what could have been. I selfishly hope he changes his mind. At his peak, he is an elite qb imo

59 If the old guys (Brees,…

If the old guys (Brees, Brady, Rivers, Roethlisberger and I guess Rodgers) all stick around for next season, there may not be many teams in the market for a QB in the 2020 draft.  Maybe just Miami and Tennessee?  Maybe there would be a little musical chairs with guys like Dalton and Flacco.  It might not be too hard for Indianapolis to find a competent QB for 2020.  Though he may already be on the roster in Brissett.

5 Tank for Tua? Languish for…

Tank for Tua?
Languish for Lawrence?

But seriously, all the best to Luck. It’s good to see a player have the guts to just walk away when they’re not feeling it anymore and/or have had their fill of injuries. I will miss @CaptAndrewLuck though. :)

(Apparently Brady’s Dorian Grey picture in his basement somewhere has offensive capabilities.)

6 Wow. As a colts fan....deep…

Wow. As a colts fan....deep sigh.

Oh well, good for him if it makes him happier. But just a tough pill to swallow for the rest of us.

23 I think the team is too…

I think the team is too talented now to do that though one should never underestimate the potential damage a bad quarterback can do.


With average quarterback play ( which I don't think they will get) they top out as an Andy Dalton red Bengals team. 

10 I'm not even an AFC fan,…

I'm not even an AFC fan, much less a Colts fan, but, man, I really have a pronounced dislike (as much as one can really dislike a total stranger) of Ryan Grigson and Jimmy 'Effin Irsay. Ugh and Doubleugh.

Ultimately, however, Luck's a smart guy, and should have seen the trainwreck looming. He should have refused to work for the Colts any longer when there was still a year left on his rookie deal. Really wish he had.

11 The people blame Irsay, but…

The people want to blame Irsay, but I honestly don't get it. As always you have to judge these things in real time. By the time Peyton Manning had his injury the colts had collapsed and it was clear to everybody that the colts had hit rock bottom and had no talent and that that falls at the feet of Bill polian. The cleaning house made a lot of sense. It seems like people want to blame him for hanging onto Pagaon and Grigson for too long. While that makes a lot of sense in hindsight, we can't also simultaneously blame the browns for firing a coach every year. the colts have been to two AFC championship games and lost to the one team that everybody loses to. There is a balance between showing patience and being impetuous and Jim tried to do the right thing, he gave his coaches and GM's enough of a tenure to see their vision through. it didn't work but that's the risk of doing that. Andrew luck quitting football is sad but I don't know how you can blame that on irsay. In the end, sometimes you hit Peyton Manning sometimes you hit Andrew luck and sometimes you hit and Ryan leaf.

14 Yes, a good businessman…

Yes, a good businessman could easily have hired Grigson, but the point is that it was has been quite obvious for a very long time that Irsay is a terrible businessman, and his management of Grigson and Pagano was evidence of that. Jim Irsay has zero track record of management success, unless you think that it took great insight to hire Polian, or to have the worst record when Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck were available. 

My larger point is that if you are a generational talent, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, you need to seize control of your professional environment, and the first step in doing that is picking which owner and gm you partner with. Peyton, no doubt with dad's advice, rightly thought Polian made Irsay acceptable. Eli, in contrast, wanted no part of Alex Spanos and A.J. Smith, so he made it impossible for the Chargers to draft him. Eli, a far lesser talent than either his brother or Rivers, may well have earned an extra hundred million dollars by forcing his way to a franchise with a track record of competency. It ought to be noted that John Elway had the same foresight, oddly enough with Jimmy Irsay's criminal father being the owner to be avoided.

High end NFL qbs really do have power approaching that of elite NBA superstars, and they really need to start managing their careers like those elite NBA superstars, especially given how much more physically dangerous the NFL is.




17 But what mistake did Irsay…

But what mistake did Irsay make? He hired Grigson and Pagano and they improved every year until they didn't. He let them have a two year stint before they were let go. That doesn't strike me as vastly different from most owners. 

Im not arguing Irsay is a good owner, but who exactly is he demonstrably worse than? The Texans by comparison have had less success with a better owner. Does that matter?

19 It was obvious the Grigson…

It was obvious the Grigson and Pagano partnership wasn't viable well before Irsay dissolved it. More importantly, you don't need to have a brilliant football mind as an owner to grasp that Luck's future was the Colt's future, and that a plan to keep him from getting the feces stomped out of him was paramount. If there was such a plan, I didn't see it.

I didn't write Irsay was a terrible owner. I wrote he was a terrible businessman. Who would have been better? Let me put it this way. Imagine you are a young entrepreneur, with a business plan with  three or four hundred million dollars in potential profits over the next 15 to 20 years, if you have the right billionaire partner. Who are you going to pick? The guy who became a billionaire because his dad stole the equivalent of a hundred million dollar, back when the equivalent of a 100 million was the price of entry into this cartel which prints money?The guy who then, as a billionaire, was arrested for driving around intoxicated with a brief case full of cash and illegally obtained prescriptions? Or, I dunno, one of the billionaires who gained that status from outsmarting, as a young entrepreneur himself, the largest corporations in the world, and then having a two decade plus track record of competency? Or the guy who inherited the business like Irsay, but then successfully managed it through multiple cycles that are nearly inevitable due to random luck, without ever hitting rock bottom? I think it was pretty knowable that there were better partners than Irsay. 

I don't mean to be too hard on Luck. I think LeBron James, as good an athlete entrepreneur as there is, likely made an error in choosing to partner with Jeannie Buss instead of Steve Ballmer. At least their was a process involved, however, and James really did think he was partnering with Magic Johnson as well. James may have picked wrong, but he knew he was picking and that it was a huge choice.

I strongly suspect Luck has had very little awareness, comparatively, of the inherent power he had to choose his partners, and that with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, it was a choice demanding a thoroughly analytical and somewhat ruthless approach. This surprises me, because I think Luck is pretty smart, and he has a father who knows the industry, much like the Manning brothers. I just wish Luck had seized the reins with more authority.




20 I'm not sure a good owner *would* have hired Grigson

I'm a 'Hawks fan, but I live in northern Indiana (the only times I've seen them play in person the last decade have been their two losses at Lucas Oil).  A while back, I was grousing to a co-worker about Grigson's idiocy in handling Luck and what it had cost the Colts, and he surprised me by responding, "Well, he was an idiot in high school, too."  He had a couple stories to tell which justified his comment.  Sure, we're all idiots to some degree in high school, but it sounded to me like he was an idiot by comparison--enough to make me think that someone who was good at personnel would have hired someone else.

28 Interesting, but..... As you…

Interesting, but..... As you state, Andrew Luck has a father who knows the industry.  I think it more likely that the Lucks are smart but did not think the risk of playing for Indianapolis was so great as to require counter-action, as distinguished from not assessing the risk at all.  In other words, they just came to a different decision than you.

The Lucks could not have had any basis to assess the Grigson-Pagano partnership as of the time your exemplar QBs Eli Manning and John Elway made their moves:  the draft.  Grigson and Pagano were hired after the 2-14 season that gave the Colts the first draft pick, the one used to select Luck.  Neither had a track record, nor was there solid information on how they would work together, at the time of the Luck draft. 

Thus, any criticism of the Lucks' decision-making as of that important point in time arising from the two executives' relationship is based in hindsight.  And while Jim Irsay had been the owner with a public record as of the time of the draft, that record did not suggest problems with star quarterbacks or coaches.  To the contrary, Peyton Manning had flourished -- and, by the way, by many accounts had garnered considerable decision-making power as well (over the offense).  You hold up the Mannings as shrewd decision-makers (I don't disagree), yet one of the Mannings had just concluded a positive experience with Jim Irsay's Indianapolis Colts.  On what purported basis were Andrew and Oliver Luck supposed to come to a different conclusion?  Surely you're not suggesting that Mr. Irsay should have been tagged with the record of his father (who, by the way, never was convicted of any crime and may never have been charged with any crime--there is no mention of that in his Wikipedia biography).

OK, so the Colts drafted Luck.  They picked up Luck's fifth year option for 2015.  Luck could have decided not to re-sign with the Colts -- at the highest salary in the league -- in 2016.  Perhaps the Lucks should have thought otherwise, as by this time Luck had the kidney injury in 2015 that in hindsight had not been managed properly and Irsay also had experienced legal issues arising from drug addiction. 

That being said, the evidence at the time was mixed.  With the exception of the 2015 season marred by the kidney injury, the Pagano-Grigson Colts had made the playoffs each year.  The team also had hired Pep Hamilton, Luck's OC at Stanford, in 2013, albeit they fired him after the 2015 season.   ESPN has published a transcript of Luck's press conference yesterday.  Significantly, Luck praised Irsay and Pagano, although unless I missed it he did not refer to Grigson.  In particular, Luck thanked Irsay for easing the transition from Manning.  As a SF Bay Area resident, I know all about difficult QB transitions...a significant segment of the fan base, and many media members, took years to come to grips with Trading Dear Old Joe in order to replace him with a league MVP.

Thus, at the point in time your criticism could have merit, surely the status assessment was less clear than you assert.  Moreover, even if the Lucks had decided not to proceed with the Colts, I think you severely underestimated the difficulties of them taking the type of shrewd, ruthless action you posit.  Your exemplar LeBron James has been unfairly pilloried for years for daring to make decisions about where he works and lives -- and, as you acknowledge, may have made an incorrect decision recently (I'm not so sure).  Kevin Durant has since been attacked by the yahoos in the fan base and media on similar grounds.  The same type of criticism and baseless character assassination went a long way to ruining Dwight Howard's career, when in a more rational world Howard would be regarded as a successful first draft pick (remember Kwame Brown?) and as a player who battled debilitating back injuries. 

And these examples are in professional basketball, where the legal and cultural norms favor the players more so than in most pro sports.  I think it amply safe to say the National Football League has hardly been an accommodating place for players rocking the boat in any respect.  Indeed, when the owners decided the entire player base was irrelevant in 1987, the media and fans lapped up the ersatz proffered as NFL football so quickly as to force the players to cave in a matter of weeks.  I don't recall what response Jack and John Elway faced, and Eli Manning got a pass because he chose the league and media's darling hometown team.  However, Leveon Bell didn't exactly come off well when he decided to try to get involved in the organization for which he'd be playing, nor have drafted players who "hold out" (itself a biased term) been well regarded.   

In the end, "I just wish Luck had seized the reins with more authority" is nice, but isn't the real issue, "I wish the NFL allowed the players to seize the reins with more authority"?  A good wish, but a different one.  In the end, the Lucks (or Andrew Luck) did seize the reins and exercise authority -- by retiring.



41 I have no idea why you are…

I have no idea why you are bringing in examples of fans, in their inevitable ignorance,  stupidly yelping about athletes managing their business like a business. That has no relevance, except in the very short term.

Peyton Manning had Polian in place when he was drafted by Irsay's team. Would he have viewed going to the Colts in the same way if Polian hadn't been there? I don't know, but it would have been smart to be wary. I certainly don't hold Jimmy responsible for his criminal father (go to the SI vaults for an education on Robert Irsay's involvement in an illegal price fixing cartel which resulted in other thieves going to prison, while Bobby Irsay, who was at the center of it, and profited hugely from it, skated, via his cooperation. To those who respond with "never indicted!", I'll simply observe that Carlo Gambino never was, either), but the fact that his father obtained his wealth to get into the NFL via thievery, and then ran the team like crap, means Jimmy didn't receive any useful training. There never has been any reason to think that Jimmy Irsay, by himself, is a good business partner.

In any case, by September, 2013, there was no doubt that Grigson was an utter incompetent. Anybody who looked at Trent Richardson's 1st 16 games in the NFL, and decided to trade a 1st round pick for him, as your 2nd year generational talent at qb lived in constant danger in the pocket, is simply hopelessly in over his head. The moment that trade was made, Andrew Luck, with hundreds of millions of dollars at stake, should have been strategizing a path out of Indianapolis, and yes, I said so at the time. The idea that a highly coveted player has no power in these situations is simply without basis. Players who are coveted as much as Luck was can force their way out if they have the determination to do so. It helps a lot if you hire a bullet for an agent; I also said from day one that Luck was making an error in forgoing the services of, say, Tom Condon, and instead dragging his uncle, with zero NFL experience over to an agency without an extensive NFL book of business.


43 OK. let's delve further.  I…

OK. let's delve further.  I assume you mean the following as to Robert Irsay's history:


I'm not that impressed.  As an attorney, I'm very much aware of widespread assertions (including by the government) that simply aren't true that someone is guilty of Very Bad Things.  I have no idea whether it is a "fact" that pere Irsay "obtained his wealth to get into the NFL via thievery," but insist on high standards to make such an assertion.  In any event, as you admit, Jim is not responsible for whatever did or did not happen at dad's prior business.

I don't know if Bob was the only person who influenced Jim in terms of business (although to be certain Jim went to the Colts soon after he graduated from college so it's reasonable to infer dad was a major influence).  Per the same article, Bob Irsay sold his original business in 1972, when Jim was age 13.  By 1984, Jim was working for the Colts.  If anyone in this tale made a cold-blooded, businesslike decision to maximize economic benefits, it was Bob Irsay in moving the team from Baltimore that year when the government was ready to pounce in order to get a sweetheart deal in Indianapolis.  By your logic, wouldn't that have been a good example for Jim? 

However he came to possess whatever knowledge is required to own a team, Jim Irsay was wise enough to hire Bill Polian as soon as Jim inherited lead team ownership, and to hire Chris Ballard after Ryan Grigson.  Two out of three isn't bad.  The franchise today that's making the same type of "over-value running back" error as Grigson-Richardson is the traditionally well run, Archie- and Eli Manning-approved New York Giants.  These matters go in cycles but for the rarest of the stable franchise.

As to the Richardson deal, your point gets more precisely to the ultimate problem with the Colts:  it wasn't so much Grigson and Pagano not being on the same page as Grigson being a poor GM.  That being said, I'm skeptical about single data point assessments of job performance.  And of course you were against the deal in real time Will -- you work for Football Outsiders!  Not everyone is as wise as you and your site, especially in 2013.  At the time, I don't think the majority of industry professionals (even including smart agents like Tom Condon) would have concluded from and at that point alone "there was no doubt that Grigson was an utter incompetent," which is a predicate of your recommended alternative history.  Here's a real time assessment from a source FO quotes on the cover page of its annual guide:


The better argument is that by 2016 or mid-2015, when the Richardson trade had failed and Luck had seen his kidney lacerated, red flags were clear.  But to echo an excellent point made by a later poster, what options did Luck have at the time?  I think there's a paradox working here:  the type of well-run organization to which a Luck should have turned is likely to have a good QB situation already.  (For that matter, had Luck been wary of the Colts at the time he was drafted because Polian was no longer around, what team was next in line to draft him?  The well-owned Washington Controversies, to borrow from the always delightful Mike Tanier.  As of the time of the Luck draft, for the most part, the Colts had been very successful on the field when Jim Irsay was the lead owner.)

As to the fans and player power, look, I'd like things to be different too, but I cannot rule out fan and media opinion having real world consequences.  It takes a special person with strong advisers (such as LeBron James) to be able to damn the torpedoes, try to "force their way out" (and from a location Luck liked per his press conference), and ignore the cr*p (and tangible financial harm to the brand) that follows if they succeed.  Moreover, the knowledge of likelihood of success is a big if...no matter a player's perceived market power, he can't know how his playing livelihood will turn out if he tries to "force his way out" until it turns out.  This in turn influences the calculus as to whether to make the attempt.

Come to think of it, the alternative win path would have been for Luck and his advisers to lobby Irsay to fire Grigson (and perhaps Pagano).  That's the ultimate risky path involving the stealthiest of stealth.  Whether by design or not (more likely not), Eli Manning achieved that, didn't he?



46 First, I don't work for…

First, I don't work for Football Outsiders, but if Aaron wants to send me a check, I will cash it.

Second, I really don't want to debate the nature of Robert Irsay's behavior. If you wish to think that it is not very likely that The Ventilating and Air Conditioning Contractor's Association of Northern Illinois engaged in bid rigging for many years, or that Irsay, who was the VP and on the Executive Board for years, was uninvolved, go right ahead.

If you wish to believe that it took any above average wisdom to hire Polian after he left Buffalo, fine. I disagree. I think it is professional malpractice to not fire a GM who looks at the film of Trent Richardson's 1st 16 NFL games, and decides to trade a 1st round draft pick for him, much as I would a surgeon who mistook a kidney for a lung. As to any analogy between Barkley and Richardson, I really don't what to say, other than I think it very inapt.

It's ok if we disagree. I simply think it extraordinarily unwise to make decisions, with hundreds of millions at risk over the next couple decades, with an eye towards what ignorant people will be talking about in 6 or 12 months, when the reality is that the best guarantee of financial performace is partnering with people who are most likely to help the team you play for to win games. I think it was knowable, certainly no later than 2013, that those people weren't associated with the Colts, and I think someone who was coveted like Luck was had the leverage to form new partnerships.Why do I think this? Because I've seen players do it.

I agree that pushing Irsay to fire Griggs and Pagano would have been worthy of the effort. 


51 much as I would a surgeon…

much as I would a surgeon who mistook a kidney for a lung.

+1 for that comparison.

I've been agreeing with you and appreciating your style of arguing for years on this site in all areas but this one, because no matter how well you support it, you're still taking a pretty unusual position to an extreme that is colored by an anti-Irsay bias.

Now, I respect that yes, you have been saying this for years, and I respect the nature of being in favor of a QB making a power play like that, but your entire argument is based on the notion that they should have wanted to avoid the Colts and forseen that it was some horrible organization with a horrible owner... which is something with which not one single person in the league, past or present, would agree. People love Jim Irsay. The players do. The front office does. Even those he has let go - without any exception at all spanning decades now, including three of a certain Irish family known for being immature, complaining, back-stabbing, and never ever admitting to being wrong - speak positively about him. Yes, he inherited it all. Yes, he's a nut job. But he took over from an asshole and made the Colts into a place where people DO want to be. The entire Luck family included. And that's where I believe you're off base. You don't have to give Jim too much credit for this; while "don't be an asshole" is something more people should follow as a life rule, it's also not a huge stretch or novel approach. And yes, Bill Polian and Peyton Manning should get a whole bunch of credit for making Indianapolis an attractive destination for players... but with the exception of the back half of the Grigson years, the post-Bob Irsay Colts WERE a place that players - including those managed by the ultra-shrewd Tom Condon - wanted to play. 

The position that "Luck should have leveraged his way out of a trainwreck organization" sort of falls apart if it's not actually viewed as a trainwreck organization by anyone but you. But OK, let's assume that a large population of fans and players and employees agree with you... people still visit that building and come out of there wanting to work for the man. Say what you will about his overall business acumen; that's a trait of a good manager.

Now, the idea that a transcendent talent should partner with an agent such as Condon and dictate his own terms, workplace, and even market (to the extent possible) is only controversial because it's so uncommon. Luck certainly could have. But you could also say the same thing of all the top talent except for Brady (who, of course, already benefits from being part of the absolute best organization). Aaron Rodgers plays in a tiny market for management that also completely failed him and wasted his talent for a half decade or so. You could find a lot of dirt on the Hunt family too if you were so inclined. Other than one or two organizations that are head and shoulders above the rest, though, how could any player/agent point to one with any certainty that "that is the best possible place for me to go?"

There are too many variables. And in Luck's case especially, milking every last dime out of his talent was never even on his priority list anyway. (It sure was for Peyton/Condon... who we should again note loved being in Indianapolis.) Hell, if it was, he could've just let them IR him this year. And OK, if it was, then Indianapolis gets excluded with or without the Irsays, and New York and LA are the best destination even if they're run by the likes of Kroenke a Spanos (or Dave Gettleman). Your position is mathematically correct, but that would still be true without any of the examples that you cite. Very few players are willing to be as cutthroat as businesspeople as some owners. (Should more be? Yes.) If the Colts were such a terrible organization, more players would be inclined to be. They'd be thrilled to get out. Only one - a punter, and attributable entirely to Grigson - has been. 

So I guess that's it. Nobody is going to argue with you about Grigson and Pagano. That statement includes me, and I was involved in the process that got Grigson hired in the first place. (On the "pro" side, before you ask. I know we've had some long threads discussing his decisions... He lost me on the basis of the Richardson trade alone too, though.)  But the cyclical nature of every non-New England organization has already been pointed out by other commenters. In fact, after the Pats, the next tier of organizations noted for their long-term stability of success includes... Indianapolis.

Sorry, this is not my most cogent of posts. No coffee yet, I guess. I just think you've taken your position to an extreme that wasn't ever wholly accurate back then... and obviously isn't really relevant or necessary now. 

In any event, I'm sad. Andrew Luck was a freakish talent and incredibly fun to watch. He alone made that team interesting regardless of the team around him, just as the guy before him did. That's incredibly rare. And it really sucks that now we won't get to watch that anymore.

57 Well, I want to be clear,…

Well, I want to be clear, Jim Irsay appears to me to be a relatively nice guy without much business expertise, certainly not the malevolent criminal his father very likely was. My point in raising his father's history was that unlike some heriditary ownership situations, like the Mara's, or (and God forgive me for saying something positive about the Dallas ownership) even the upcoming Jones ownership, there isn't much reason to think Jim Irsay had many positive lessons learned from being around his father growing up. Jerry Jones, despite his visible failings, is simply a first rate marketing guy with a powerful grasp of finance, and a future NFL owner actually can learn a lot from him. Yes, Jim Irsay is loved. Generous, pleasant,  billionaires tend to be loved, despite their lack of business acumen and self destructive addictions. That still doesn't mean he's the preferred partner for a 22 year old with a business plan to make three or four hundred million dollars before the age of 40. And people blessed with Andrew Luck like talent need to have a business plan, beyond "Hey, the doofus billionaire who drafted me is a nice guy that everybody loves, and it all worked out for the last great qb who was drafted by the doofus billionaire, so let's just let it ride, ignoring whatever unpleasant evidence which arrives on our doorstep for the next 5 or 6 years!"

Again, my point early on in this thread is that highly coveted young qbs in this league (and, really, other great players, too) ought to start acting more like young NBA superstars, even factoring how much more favorable the NBA CBA is to great players, compared to the NFL CBA. Hell, this disparity is not new, and restricted to the current era of free agency. 45 years ago, Kareem Abdul Jabbar forced his way to the Lakers, because he knew playing his career out in Milwaukee was suboptimal. 5 or 6 years later, a 20 year old Magic Johnson informed Lakers management that he was going to participate in management decisions, and, to his credit, Jerry Buss chose to listen. 

NFL players, especially the great qbs, ought to take more responsibility for their businesses, especially given how the risk of debilitating injury skyrockets on poorly managed rosters.


69 Fair response, to which I…

Fair response, to which I guess I'd just say: not everyone thinks the way CEOs and Tom Condon think. In fact, thinking that way is quite rare (for better and for worse). Andrew Luck is perhaps the greatest example of this, given that he just walked away from what likely would have been another $300 million, regardless of what owner/business partner he chose. If that much money wasn't a motivating force for him, the ten or twenty (or hundreds) more he could've made in another market sure wasn't going to be either.

You're right that players like that should use their leverage more, even if the main reason for that isn't so much to milk every last cent as it is to simply keep the owners honest and from exploiting the rest of the population (same argument for Peyton taking top of market stuff because it helps the union... which was always a funny talking point to me given how notoriously conservative he and the family are). And from the perspective of milking every possible cent from one's talent, you're also right... I'll defend Irsay but I won't disagree that someone like Jerry Jones or anyone in a much larger market wouldn't be a better partner for the long haul in terms of dollars; but I also don't find fault with Luck not wanting to be that guy. He just wanted to play football and have fun. Winning is fun. Making money is fun. And maybe the marginal value of playing in LA or NY isn't even worth it to him. Either way, I don't believe for a second that he was unhappy with the organization or the city he was in, and I won't hold it against him that he didn't choose that billionaire mindset of profit over all else. 

Hell, half of what you cite as reasons why certain owners - Bob Irsay among them - are awful are the same traits necessary for a player to take such an aggressive approach to his own career, and likewise some of the same things for which you discredit Jim Irsay - hiring the right man to run the organization (Polian) - are the the same things the accepted best organization/owner (Kraft/NE) did to get there (Belichick). Granted, at least Kraft made his own money, but are we really going to praise him for hiring BB while at the same time dismissing the Polian hire as a no-brainer stroke of luck when it was Irsay that did it? That's not entirely fair, and it's just as easy to attribute most of Kraft's influence, power, narrative, and organizational success to Belichick as it is to credit the decade-plus of sustained excellence in Indianapolis only to Polian and then Manning.

There is one point on which I will agree wholeheartedly without even a hint of devil's advocate-style argument: the best players SHOULD take more of a role in the way things are run. Manning had as much power in a building as any player I've ever seen or heard of. (Condon too; Bill Polian, for all his arrogance, was afraid of Tom Condon, and it was really quite odd to see. He got completely run over and bullied in 2011 in that contract negotiation... although not nearly as badly as John Elway's supposed "shark" negotiator a year later after he fired a perfectly good man in Mike Bluem.)  That said, the number of players to whom that avenue is available is still pretty small. And even with us agreeing that Luck is the type of rare player to whom that applies... he wasn't ever really going to be the guy to take that stand.

Rodgers is the one that should have. But look at how that has all played out in Green Bay with the Lafleur hiring. They made a point of keeping him in the dark, even when the right approach would've been putting him in the room for the interviews. (And imagine the things that would've been printed if it got out that he had been in that room!)

Of course, Rodgers has made plenty of his own missteps and is deserving of (some of) the criticism he takes for his behavior. He's not nearly as politically savvy as the Mannings, and to a certain extent I like him more for that. But this is all another conversation for another day. 

96 One thing I think that gets…

One thing I think that gets lost in this is NFL cap situations are much much more complicated than NBA ones. a while ago Zach Lowe mention that the Lakers would have gotten LeBron no matter what happened, that the contracts are  Indian movable no matter what. 


This is where I think the Andrew luck LeBron James comparison become strained. Let's say luck forced his way out, where the heck is he going? The teams with the cap space to sign him outright is limited and likely includes teams with no quarterback option on the roster. That's a pretty limited group and I'm not sure those rosters and that ownership and front offices are offering much more than the colts are. 


I will also say is a colts fan I don't dislike Jim irsay. He actually tries and will happily spend money if it means attracting top talent. This isn't Jimmy haslam or Mr Brown of the bengals or Dan Schneider or Jerry Jones. 

112 Yeah, that's the other…

Yeah, that's the other answer I used to default to. The man's a kook, but it's not like he's a meddling idiot or cheapskate. He hired Polian and GTFO of the way and signed every check he was asked to. It's not like he personally ever did anything to mess with the product on the field (at least, as the owner... we shouldn't forget that as part of "working his way up the ladder" he was in fact once the GM of the team).

Good point about the cap and all that. It's funny, because while I'll "argue" against Will's stance that Luck should've forced his way out, back then I made a similar claim about RGIII as the #2 pick. It wasn't a cap thing, of course, but a pick issue... I was of the (not quite as strong as Will, but still strong) opinion that RGIII should have advertised an unwillingness to sign with Washington after they made that trade (IIRC it happened well in advance of the draft, with plenty of time to give interviews, etc) based on two factors: 1) Dan Snyder/Bruce Allen 2) they just gave up a ton of capital to acquire him, and thus would be handicapped in their ability to put a capable team around him.

I'm not even going to pretend to gloat about being right about those things though, because we could've all seen that one coming.

44 And a final kudo (and note)

Just to be clear Will, I respect your work, your post, and this site (as can told from my praise for you figuring out Grigson-Richardson).  Indeed, right now, I am updating my draft board for tomorrow's league draft (our first auction) to reflect today's KUBIAK changes.  I won the league two years ago thanks to your numbers and guide, and snagged Patrick "Unicorn Puppy Rainbows" Mahomes last year on the cheap based on your endorsement.

Still, I stand by my original point, which I neglected to mention in the reply:  the Lucks chose their path.  What I forgot to reiterate is that there was no need for Luck to be clever or hire a clever agent or take extraordinary steps to leverage Andrew's future.  At the end of the 2016 season, Andrew Luck was scheduled to be a free agent.  (I can't tell now whether he would have been an unrestricted FA, but he would have been a FA.) He could have signed with any team.  Luck chose, instead, to sign a pretty good contract extension and stay with the Colts.  He may have been right or he may have been wrong (he certainly collected lots o' money), but that was his assessment.  And then, according to his press conference, Luck soon made another decision:  Plan B.  After the 2016 season, he decided to stay the course with the Colts, but vowed that he would not play in pain again.  With that plan, he sat out 2017 (with no controversy as far as I can tell), played in 2018, and implemented Plan B when its conditions were triggered in 2019.

56 A couple of notes here on…

A couple of notes here on this dialogue; First, in retrospect it was definitely a bad career decision for Luck not to immediately hold out after being drafted by the colts. The draft is deeply unfair to players, and top QB's dramatically underestimate there leverage at a point in their contract where they have massive trade value. I suspect IND could have gotten a couple of 1sts for him - there's no way they go more than one season without making a trade like that. However, if players were competent to assess the future performance of an organization they would go on to become billionaire investors after they retired early with some capital - that's something that literally never happens. As someone who works in the investment industry I can tell you that the list of people who can successfully predict the future effectiveness of the management of an organization is infinitesimal - so I can't see how you would expect Luck & camp to foresee the amount of money not forcing the Colts hand would ultimately cost him.

The career move that is indefensible is signing the second contract in 2016; by that time it's clear to anyone that the colts are years away from a management team that will minimize your injury risk and maximize your return in terms of both football success and the associated opportunity for life-long earnings/opportunities. That contract looks to me like Luck & co. were just blinded by the up-front money and failed to have reasonable foresight as to the associated consequences. That's a shame for Luck, and a shame for football generally. 

With respect to the broader question about players using there leverage to get in a good situation despite the draft I am of two minds. First, players should absolutely do it. The draft is an egregious restraint of trade that they never had a voice in as new entrants to the CBA, they should feel no ethical call to honor it's provisions if they have sufficient leverage to further there career. I think this is especially true for mid-tier players that will likely never get another contract if the team that drafted them damages there hopes at a successful career (e.g. how much money did it cost Cordarrelle Patterson to get drafted by the Vikings instead of an organization that had a more innovative plan to maximize him). On the other hand, I think it's likely almost as many players would fight there way into worse situations than they were dealt by the draft, moral agency without situational improvement is good but it's not transformational.

31 So which team?

So what team do you think Luck should have forced himself on to?  Eli had the advantage of a reasonably competent, large market team sitting at #2 that year, so he only had to make a stink about playing for the chargers. 

Other than the Colts (who were coming off a long run of success but for the “suck for Luck” year), you had a Rams team that was a complete mess, a dysfunctional Redskins team willing to trade up and wreck a QB career, and rounding out the top five were the Browns (enough said), the Jags (ditto), and the Vikings. Do you think Luck could have made enough of a stink to get himself to fall all the way to the Vikings at 4, and scare off other trade suitors?

33 He should've tried to get to…

In reply to by MJK

He should've tried to get to another team once he'd spend a few years on the Colts and saw they were poorly run. He could ask for a trade or wait for free agency. Of course, I think many players would not be willing to do that. It would be controversial and could lead to your own fans despising you, which could be psychologically challenging if nothing else.

34 Will will answer this…

In reply to by MJK

Will will answer this himself, but I know he advocated for a holdout before he agreed to his 2nd (?) contract and force the team to trade him. I really don't know whether that would have been best for him or not. The Colts would hardly have let him go easy, using the franchise tag to drag the process on. Like others are suggesting, I think the time to throw your weight and try to have and say on who you play for is before being drafted. Once you're in, the rules make it pretty darn hard.

Anyway, sorry, Colts fans, this sucks really bad for you.

82 While I agree with this statement

it should be pointed out that the NFL will never go the way of the NBA in terms of how much control a player can get over a team or the league.  There are less players involved in a basketball game, and a star player stays on the field for most of a game.  Even Tom Brady has to sit on the bench while the Patriots' defense is on the field. Even then, when he is on the field he is only one of 22 players. 

Elway's  and Eli's strategic ploys are rare for a reason; other players have tried them and lost.  LeVeon Bell lost money with his stunt last year; we'll see how he feels when the Jets are home for the playoffs.  Antonio Brown already seems to hate the Raiders.  Elway's refusal to play for the Colts worked out because he could threaten to go to the USFL or the Yankees.  On the other hand, the Chargers made out like bandits in the Eli trade; they got their own Hall of Fame caliber quarterback, who's still better than Eli now, and a pro bowl pass rusher for three years.  Drafting a kicker in the third round was stupid though.  Was Eli better off going to New York; yes, because the Giants had solid ownership.  But losing  first, third and a fifth round picks still hurt the team he went to, and to be honest, Eli only has those two Super Bowl rings due to lucky playoff runs.  

89  Agree with most of this,…

 Agree with most of this, but there wasn't anything unusually lucky about the last two Giants championships. In 'O7 their talented defensive front got healthy in December and opened a can into February; 6 or 7 weeks of dominant defensive front performance is not all that unusual. For the 2nd one, Eli, always a streaky player, got hot. Pretty much the normal good fortune of a champion.

Yeah NBA superstars will always have more leverage, especially compared to running backs, but I think the qbs can get in the neighborhood.

100 Giants were a solid but not great team in 07

but the 2011 team  gave up more points than they scored during the regular season.  They are the only team to do that and win a Super Bowl.  I'm not even sure you can say Eli got hot; he played well against the Cowboys to win the division, and the next two weeks the offense did well, but the wins against the Niners and the Pats were based on the other teams' bad luck: the Niners special teams fumbles and the Patriots losing Gronk in the AFC championship game.  The main thing I remember about that Giants team is the turd of a game Eli put up against the Jets the next to last week of the season, and the glorified screen pass that Victor Cruz turned into a 99 yard touchdown after two broken tackles.  On a play that Darrelle Revis sat out for some reason.  So yeah, I harbor a lot of resentment towards those Giant teams.  At least the Pats deserved their championships.

80 Fully expect

Rosen to be the guy after this year.  It's too perfect; a Pac-12 rivalry translated to the AFC East teams with a shootout history dating back to the 80s and 2 of the qbs drafted in 1983.  If Josh Allen actually works out, it could end up being a replay of the 80s/90s in the AFC East.  Having watched Rosen this preaseason, he seems like he should be starting for them.  

94 I agree about Rosen. Of…

In reply to by mehllageman56

I agree about Rosen. Of course I loved the trade, but I still thought it was a low-probability play with a potential high-reward. But the way he's been improving throughout the offseason and now has seemingly earned the right to start (even though he might not actually get the job yet), has made me much more optimistic about his future.


Also, Josh Allen is starting to make me nervous. But wouldn't it be incredibly fun if in a few years it's the Patriots at the bottom of the division with Darnold, Rosen and Allen fighting it out for the title every year for the next two decades?

12 WTH. I heard this on the…

WTH. I heard this on the radio a few minutes and could barely believe what I was hearing. I can't remember being more surprised by a retirement. I know Luck's had injury issues, but he had a great comeback season last year and is still just 29, in an era where many QBs are playing at a very high level into their late 30's or even later. I still wouldn't be surprised at all if he comes back at some point. He's got plenty of time to get the itch back.

I said the same thing when Gronk retired, but it's crazy how much variance there can be in length of football careers. Luck gone and Brady keeps trucking along. Nuts. It's also wild that RGIII will end up lasting longer in the NFL than Luck, even if RGIII is relegated to a backup role now. That would've seemed impossible a few years ago. In the end neither of those guys came anywhere close to fulfilling their promise.

15 I wouldn't say RGIII fell…

I wouldn't say RGIII fell short, or at least it wasn't his fault. He had maybe the greatest rookie QB season in history, and seemed likely to continue that success. It's just that Washington in general and Mike Shanahan in particular mismanaged his injury, and turned something that appeared to be manageable into something catastrophic.

Also, he really should have taken the time to learn how to slide. I've rarely seen any human look so awkward trying to do something physical, let alone one of the best athletes on the planet.

30 Adding to the debate of…

Adding to the debate of should Luck have not played for the Colts due to managerial and ownership incompetence (I'm on the side of he didn't have enough viable reasons to think going somewhere else was a good idea), RG3 going to Washington seems like a way more intriguing situation to try to bail out of, given Daniel Snyder's presence and the decidedly non-PC element of their franchise name. He potentially could have saved himself if he decided to force the Skins to go somewhere else and I think he has a much more viable argument than Luck, although Shanahan was a Super-Bowl winning coach.

60 This should serve as a huge wake up call

Luck's and RGIII's careers should serve as a huge wake up call to the Texans, Cards, and every other team that has a young potential franchise QB. It won't, but it should. You can already see Deshaun Watson having a similar career arc; he's getting destroyed behind those crap Texans O-lines. Not every mobile QB is Russell Wilson, able to use his ability to escape getting too badly behind a bunch of turnstiles. I hope for Tagovailoa, Herbert, Fromm, Lawrence, and all the other talented young QBs who come up that they won't suffer a similar fate. 

84 people like to blame the olines

but Luck had 174 sacks in his career and Wilson has taken 299.  Wilson hasn't missed a game, despite injury.  And Wilson rushes as well.

Sometimes, a guy is just injury prone.  Luck wasn't tough enough.  Not putting him down, good QB who got better as he aged.  Just not durable.

87 Yes you are absolutely right…

Yes you are absolutely right, I really fear for Watson. And I agree, I don't think Russell Wilson will ever get the credit he deserves for what he has produced from 2015 onwards in that environment. 

On a related note, it's going to be fascinating to watch Lamar Jackson this season. He clearly doesn't have the passing talent of those other QBs you mention. Nor, unlike Griffin or Watson, did his team give up a massive amount to acquire him. Therefore, looking after his long-term health is much less of a priority; he's more 'expendable' (as inhuman as that sounds). I've been waiting a while for an NFL team to construct an offense in this manner. 


114 I can't believe that on this…

I can't believe that on this of all sites we still get comments like this...


Almost every sack Wilson takes is his own fault. Sacks are more of a QB measure than an OL measure, and this site has been saying that for damn near two decades. Luck and Wilson are two of the poster children for this, as both of their lines' failings have been largely overstated due to the QB play.

Now... why this is the case still varies between the two of them. In Luck's case, he spent all but last year in offenses with slow-developing routes and poorly planned route combos, and/or playing from behind and NEEDING to prolong plays to try to make something happen, plus he was all too willing to take a hit from a 275+ guy at full speed; in Wilson's, it's because he often misses seeing open guys and likes to run around (for better and sometimes for worse). 

This is all really well documented and easily observable on film.

I don't mean to sound rude, because I too fear for Watson (and say so in the upcoming predictions article) because of the combination of that offense/coaching and that awful an OL... but for all the things that Grigson did wrong, the whole "didn't invest enough in the OL" is a false flag. (And on a semi-related note, why is everyone in such a rush to anoint Schneider as some genius while still over-slandering that OL? It doesn't make sense.)

16 Wow, I'm genuinely shocked…

Wow, I'm genuinely shocked by this news. Neither Gronk nor Sanders are remotely comparable. Gronk was coming off one of the worst years of his career, and had openly talked about retirement the previous season. As for Sanders, although he was coming off a good year, given his age, he probably only had a couple of more good years, at most, left in him. Luck, on the other hand, was coming off one of the best years of his career, and given his age, he probably had anywhere from 5-10 years left.

Having said all that, I'm not one to tell players what they should do. If retiring makes Luck happy, that's absolutely what he should do. But as a fan, it does make me a little sad to think what might have been.

21 I am happy for him. I think…

I am happy for him. I think he should go down as one of the most overrated QBs of the analytics era. It always frustrated me how good people considered him (especially at FO) for a guy whose best 4 seasons ended 11,11,10,7 by dyar (and similar by dvoa). He got lots of plaudits for his rookie year when he was not good and the colts were obsurdly lucky by Pythagorean wins, and rode that to a career of above average play combined with a superstar reputation.

22 I think at his best, he…

I think at his best, he belongs in a crowded tier below Brady, Manning, Brees, and Rodgers. Assessing Luck as a QB is hard. The Colts were generally poorly coached and poorly constructed during the bulk of his career. Last year under a smart offensive design, he had a tremendous year coming off a devastating injury.


Had he been in Pittsburgh, I could have seen a career arch very similar to Ben Roethlisburger. I'm admittedly biased, but his career to me will be an all time what if.

24 It is likely that very few…

It is likely that very few qbs would have done better with Pagano and Grigson managing the roster. This can't be noted frequently enough. Grigson, with Andrew Luck in his 2nd year, traded a 1st round draft pick for Trent Richardson, AFTER watching Trent Richardson play 16 games in the NFL. This is still astounding, barely comprehensible, 6 years later. 

The only qb I can think of, off the top of my head, to ever overcome completely incompetent team management for the first 6 years of his career, and then go on to be an all time great, was Fran Tarkenton. One guy. I wouldn't be too hard on Luck.

64 A.J. Smith is interesting,…

A.J. Smith is interesting, in a way that a plane crash, due to failure to fill the fuel tank, is interesting. His player evaluation was not hideous, but there may have never been a more idiotic evaluator of coaches.  Like watching a decent Indy Car driver steer his NASCAR ride into a wall, because not having open wheels is offensive to him.

79 AJ Smith was awful at a lot…

AJ Smith was awful at a lot of things as a general manager.  But I don't think that he was a net negative for Rivers' Super Bowl chances.  Rivers got years to mature and develop while the team had a HOF QB playing ahead of him.  He had the best roster in the league around him in 2006 and a top five roster several other years.  Seems like the GM should get a lot of credit for that.


81 Well, John Butler passed in…

Well, John Butler passed in April 2003, and it was he that drafted Brees and Tomlinson, and was responsible for a lot of the 2006 roster. In any case, I agree that Smith was not bad at talent evaluation. Any GM who gets rid of Marty Schottenheimer, so he can install Ted Cottrell as defensive coordinator, however, is not a friend of his q.b.. 


113 Butler's Chargers drafted…

Butler's Chargers drafted well but Smith drafted just as well early on.  The 2004 and 2005 drafts were epic.  The Chargers really knew how to target and develop young players for a few years.  Too bad they didn't really know how to do anything else.

119 One Bad Break Away

If Marlon McRee's had the sense to take a knee, or if Troy Brown hadn't been alert and perfectly prepared, than it's pretty likely that the 2006 Chargers win it all. Manning would have had to beat the Chargers on the road and that team was stacked. I couldn't believe how quick the pass rush was getting there against Brady the first 2/3rds of the game. And who knows how that would have changed other decisions and narratives?. Nobody would have gotten fired, that's for sure. .

63 The only qb I can think of,…

The only qb I can think of, off the top of my head, to ever overcome completely incompetent team management for the first 6 years of his career, and then go on to be an all time great, was Fran Tarkenton. One guy. I wouldn't be too hard on Luck.

Only the first six?  I still lived in NNJ during Tark's NYG years and had watched the team descend from contenders to laughingstocks as their talent aged and poor decisions replaced them with dreck.  Tarkenton was able to haul that mess up to mediocre, but with good management he should've had better weapons/protection and gone farther.  Maybe not as bad as early Vikings (the Mara family did have some smarts) but he could've sued for non-support.

65  The Tarkenton career arc…

 The Tarkenton career arc was so interesting. The expansion era Vikings ownership were cheapskates to the point of absurdity (all Vikings ownership until the Wilfs bought the team were) with awful management hires, then they got lucky with Jim Finks in about '64, who hired two terrific scouts in Jerry Reichow and Frank Gilliam, but Finks didn't have full personnel authority until '67, so Norm Van Brocklin had continued freedom to screw the pooch, which he proceeded to do with great vigor. Finally, after the '66 season, Finks was able to get Norm fired, and then hired Bud Grant from the CFL. The story goes that Finks sent an assistant to pick up Grant at the airport, and the assistant asked, in those stone age media days, how he would know who Grant was, and Finks, who knew him from the CFL,  said to look for the guy who walks off the plane like the sheriff, as everybody else parts the way for him.

Anyways, Finks knew he had some good or even great players by then, before firing Norm, but too many bad ones, so he traded Tarkenton for draft picks that turned out to be two great offensive linemen, Ron Yary and Ed White, and a useful running back and wide receiver. The Giants that received Tarkenton, as you note, had an epically bad roster and coaching. Tarkenton thus continued to make lemonade with substandard citrus for 5 more long years, meaning he was in his 12th season, and well past his physical prime before benefitting from a good roster and good coaching. Then he had his his best seasons, adjusting for the '70s dead ball era.

Very few HOF qbs would have fared as well, faced with similar circumstances.

29 The stats on this website do…

The stats on this website do a great job of showing how effective a passing offense is, but not necessarily how much credit or blame the QB should receive. That's about impossible to do with statistics. A QB's DYAR and DVOA can't be assumed to be an exact measurement of the QB's performance. A great example would be what happened to Alex Smith's number when he went from KC to the Redskins. He went from being 9th and 10th in DYAR and DVOA to 28th and 29th. Did he really suffer that big of a collapse in performance in one year? I doubt it. The change was likely because of the different personnel and scheme around him.

39 A gunslinger rides into the sunset...

I always thought of Luck as a physically gifted gunslinger. He could do amazing things. He could also throw a bunch of multiple interception games. In a way, his physical strengths kept him from developing or at least consistently using all the skills of a great QB. It’s no coincidence, IMO, that his best season was coming off an injury year. It’s no coincidence that his best year had his lowest yards per completion. If he hadn’t been such a good thrower, he might have been a better quarterback.

edit: a follow up on the multiple interception comment. I was curious if my impression matched the facts. During Luck’s career, 16 QBs have thrown at least 20 passes in at least two-thirds of the possible regular season games. Of those, Luck had multiple interception games at the highest rate, 27% of his games (23 of 85). (20 passes and 2/3 of the games are arbitrary. I wanted to compare to consistent multi-year starters, not recent rookies or replacements.)

68 Gunslinger or forced to throw early...

Can you clarify?

Do you think pressure allowed by a bad O-line last season caused Luck to change his decision making, with the side effect of giving him his best season?

Or do you think pressure in earlier seasons caused him to be a gunslinger, take lots of sacks and hits, and prefer longer passes? And if so, what changed last year?


70 I think - actually, I *know*…

I think - actually, I *know* - that the offenses he was in/teams he was on at first required him to be more reckless in attempting to come from behind to win games.

I actually attribute almost every sack and hit he took to him, not his O Line (as readers of this site should understand; OL is not something for which I fault Ryan Grigson)... but crap defense, bad game planning, slow-developing terrible route combinations, etc... none of those helped with his risk tolerance and interception totals.

Even in a vacuum, Luck was never going to be quite as averse to risk as Brady or Rodgers. But those guys are also historically risk-intolerant. And at least one of them played for a much better team in a smartly designed offense. And the very fact that it's those guys we're comparing him to should mean something.

That said, Luck threw more INTs than is optimal, even if it's the Rivers/Roethlisberger tier we compare him to. Some of them were even of the "oh good lord, what the F was that?" variety. But some of that was the situation/teammates, and some of that was the need to still push it - that Fave gunslinger mentality that is necessary to succeed. But it shouldn't take all that much tape study to recognize that Luck was by no means a reckless QB, even to Favre's level of gunslingerishness.

(Yeah, that's a word. I just made it up.)


77 This is a terrific post, in…

This is a terrific post, in that it illuminates the interconnectedness of everything that eventually is distilled into a QB's DYAR.

It would have been fun to see Luck coached very, very, very, hard, by a coaching staff that recognized the centrality of doing so, like the way Holmgren did when he imparted that message to his coaching staff, upon Favre's arrival in Green Bay. Of course, that coaching staff was one of the best ever, and in a few years the Packers were a truly historically great Super Bowl Champion.


115 So basically, what you're…

So basically, what you're saying is that it would've been great to see Luck coached by this current staff, but maybe with Reich being a bit angrier/more demanding.

Which is funny, because for Reich to get to where he is now (and for the first time, as a Colts fan, I *LOVE* the coach; I am also on record here as considering Tony Dungy to have had a handbrake-like effect on Peyton's career, albeit at like half that of McCarthy, and with its positives - for instance I don't think there's even one single other coach that could've kept his team in the 2006 AFCCG after the 21-3 pick-6), those years away from Indy with/under McCoy, Whis, Pederson, etc were necessary. So having a Reich in 2012 wasn't even possible, because 2012 Frank Reich wasn't prepared to be what he is now. 

All of which just makes me even sadder, because I think years 2-5 of Ballard-Reich-Luck could have been truly magical. Maybe even years 2-8, if one assumes that Tom Brady might EVENTUALLY retire and get out of the way...

117 I just love the account of…

I just love the account of Holmgren in a meeting with Reid, Mariucci, Gruden, etc., upon the Packers acquiring Favre, and saying something to the effect of "Everybody in this room is going to have a great career if we help this guy play to his potential, so that's how we are going to prioritize. We are going to coach the hell out of this guy, and everything is going to be organized to help him succeed".

That was for a guy who pizza and beered his way out of Atlanta. I have my doubts that Grigson or Pagano ever adopted that mindset with Luck, the most highly coveted college qb since Elway. Just having Arians be initially hired as head coach instead of Pagano may have made a big difference.

164 You may never even notice…

You may never even notice this comment, but I just re-read and noticed the part about Arians as HC all along...

I'm not certain that giving Bruce Arians MORE authority over young Luck would've reduced Luck's willingness to throw balls that can be picked. If anything, it might have made him even more INT-prone.

Bruce Arians is VERY mad bomber-y. Very old school Coryell-style "every play design has a chunk play built into it, and if you can, I want you to try for it" in its philosophy. I think if Bruce Arians coached Aaron Rodgers and Rodgers only threw 3 picks in a season, Arians would be mad at him.

That isn't to say I think there's no merit in how he coaches, designs plays, and calls them... there is. I just don't think that path (which might also have been more to the team's overall benefit over the course of 2013-17) would have greatly reduced, for example, Luck's volume of 2nd quarter INTs.

167 As long as Arians also…

As long as Arians also adopted the approach of Coryell's best disciple, Joe Gibbs, and made qb comfort in the pocket the first principle, Luck would have hugely benefitted. That's the part of the Coryell offense that is overlooked; linemen like Ed White and Dan Dierdorf, providing a Dan Fouts or Jim Hart a mostly stress-free life, and a coach who was always willing to keep blockers in when necessary. This was not a Martzian, come hell or high water, 5 blockers/7 step drop daredevil act.

118 The comment on Dungy is…

The comment on Dungy is interesting. I certainly believe he is a HOF worthy coach, but even HOF coaches have their weaknesses, and his was hiring offensive coaches and excessive loyalty to them. At Tampa he just tolerated inadequacy on that side of the ball that he never would have on the defensive staff, because he never had to, because he hired well on that side. He had good fortune in Indianapolis because his old college oc, Tom Moore was available. You may see the coaching in Indy as a handbrake on Manning, but if your worst failing was having a tough time beating Belichik and Brady in Foxboro, as your receivers are roughed up, that's not too bad. Personally, the worst thing I saw in Indy's offense in that run was either Mudd, Saturday, or Manning having an awful 1st half with blocking schemes in that weird playoff game against the Steelers in Indianapolis. I don't pay as close attention to the AFC, so I never did read what the source of that 30 minute fiasco was.

If Moore had been available when Dungy took the Tampa job, that may have been Dungy's last gig.


165 That last sentence doesn't…

That last sentence doesn't seem to mesh with the rest of your post, but maybe I'm missing something.

Manning and Moore made some beautiful music together, and I agree that "not beating the Pats juggernaut in Foxboro with an inferior team" isn't some horrid criticism, but why I call Dungy a handbrake is that for years and years it was pretty obvious what that team's strengths and weaknesses were, and he was all too content to play against their strengths. If you have a pantheon level HOF QB and a defense that even when it's limiting points can't get off the field quickly, you should probably make strategic decisions that attempt to have as many offensive possessions - and prolong them when you do have them, as opposed to punting on 4th and 1 at the 38 - as possible, and to play to your strengths. Dungy was always WAY too content not to do that, and he lacked that step on their throat killer instinct that Belichick had. There's a difference between putting a game out of reach and then easing off and being a total jerk about it (the way the angry 2007 Pats were accused of) and being kind of soft about it because you want to keep it classy. And honestly, against a better opposing QB, that might very well have cost them the Super Bowl in 2006. The Bears were pretty much useless in the rain in that game, and Manning did well enough, but they still kept punting and punting and playing it safe and it wasn't until that very late pick-6 that they weren't one single play away from getting beat. And that was hardly the only time.

As for the protection problems game, well, they just got their asses handed to them for 2 quarters. The 2nd half was better, plus they had the luck of that BS Polamalu call, but for as good as that team was, I think we Colts fans shed very few tears over that missed FG and opportunity because they very much deserved to lose that game.

166 My point was that Dungy was…

My point was that Dungy was too loyal to inferior offensive coaches in Tampa, and had Moore been available when Dungy took the Tampa job, and had hired him (as was likely, given their very close relationship stretched back to the early 70's when Moore recruited Dungy out of high school), Tampa may have had enough offensive success to win multiple championships, given how dominant that defense was. Dungy starting in Tampa with Moore may have meant Dungy retiring in Tampa.

Yeah, Dungy was too conservative, like some other HOF coaches.

120 Exactly

Football Perspectives ran some numbers on how much Luck needed to score to win games most weeks. It was a lot. That led to risk taking and INTs.

85 Not likely to be the case

Luck was sacked 174 times in 3290 pass attempts.  Wilson was sacked 299 times in 3261 pass attempts.  Wilson only threw 63 Int while Luck threw 83 Int.  Luck threw far less TD's than Wilson as well.

People have hyped Luck for so long they never stop to realize he actually had pretty pedestrian stats for his career and it can't be laid upon the oline.

91 You do understand that the…

You do understand that the extra 125 sacks Wilson endured is not a stat in Wilson's favor, right?  I love Wilson, and said he should have been a 1st rounder when he was at Wisconsin, but when you play qb on a team with an elite defense, you really ought to have 20 fewer ints than a qb for a team with a terrible defense.

98 That presupposes that the guy on the bad defense throws more

to catch up.  Reality is both Wilson and Luck have nearly the same pass attempts Luck 3290 to Wilson 3261 and Wilson throws deeper.  His ANY/A is much higher. 

All that despite the higher number of sacks.  Sorry that doesn't fit your narrative Will, but a career AV of 79 and a career QB Rating of 89.5 aren't "generational".  He was a very good QB, but he wasn't "all that".  And it wasn't because he had a crappy oline.  Wilson had a historically crappy oline and he, not Luck, is the one who turned out to be "generational".

48 For the people above who are…

For the people above who are insinuating that Luck was overrated because his efficiency stats weren’t top tier, just think about who his teammates were. From 2012-2016, T.Y. Hilton was basically the only other Colt who you would consider an above-average NFL player. It wasn’t quite Archie Manning on the Saints (although I personally think Manning the elder is a tad overrated), but it was close. In that context, of course his efficiency stats are going to suffer if he’s asked to carry his team week after week. Three 11 win seasons, 3 playoff wins, and an AFC title game appearance is remarkable when you think about that.

49 A Patriots fan on another…

A Patriots fan on another site left a comment that perfectly encapsulates the tragically lost opportunity that was lucks career: “I was initially terrified of Luck coming into the league....until I realized that his head coach, GM, and owner made the three stooges look like Nobel Laureates.”

54 I'm surprised, but not that…

I'm surprised, but not that surprised.

He's been chronically injured for what feels like a dog's age. While he's walking away from a lot of money, spending three months pissing blood probably serves as a wake-up call, especially when it's because of something that hurts, as opposed to when Irsay does it, as a result of something that feels good.

55 The AFC feels tired

Just one more reason not to watch the AFC this season. Luck was fun to watch. You hear him talk about how much pain he's in and you hope he heals up and lives a pain free future.

71 How long is the "Generation" in "Generational"?

I keep reading that Andrew Luck was a "generational talent". Here in FO comments, it's mostly Will Allen saying it. But Will is by no means alone.

What, exactly, is that based on? I know he was super highly regarded before being drafted. And, as their heir apparent to Peyton Manning, Colts fans certainly hoped Luck was a "generational talent".

We never really saw anything at the "generational talent" level during his rookie season, nor in the years to follow, did we? Is there something in his college career that justifies the "once in a generation" superlatives? Or was it hope and hype? Is there something about his pro career that hinted at "generational" before management supposedly "ruined" him? If he was "ruined" by management, why was his last year his best, anyway?

And has there really been no rookie like him in potential in the N years before or after he was drafted? How big is N? Just how short is a "generation"?

72 You could argue, in football…

You could argue, in football terms, a generation is about 4 years.


AV likes him. His AV/gm was near 1, which puts him in pretty rarified company (Manning the Greater, Brady, Staubach, Tarkenton), but also some contemporaries we'd be less inclined to think of -- Ryan, Wilson, Newton.

I think Ryan is the interesting comp for Luck. Acclaimed, old-school QB brought in to save franchise whose foundations had gotten termitey. Both had noteworthy problems with the Patriots.



86 AV likes him?

His AV after 7 seasons is only 79.  Wilson's AV after the same time (and nearly identical number of pass attempts) is 114.  "The Asterisk" is a generational talent.  Luck was a very hyped, yet talented QB who never matched the hype.  Nothing wrong with that, but he was hardly "generational".  Not even from day one.

92 "Generational talent" is not…

In reply to by Pen

"Generational talent" is not the same thing as "Generational career". Favre would have been a generational talent even if he had never been joined to good coaching, and thus never went to a single Pro Bowl.

101 Um, I didn't claim otherwise…

In reply to by Pen

Um, I didn't claim otherwise. You seem to be personalizing this for some strange reason, so I think I'll just say good night.

74 That's my assessment, too

Luck was an above average QB. He may have been held back from being a consistent top ten QB by a badly designed offense that was too vertical for the personnel they had. With a better designed offense, he rose to 7th in DYAR. Not bad at all.

His career, although cut short, is nothing to be ashamed of.

The "generational talent" label he gets is totally based on his early college career. People expected him to enter the draft a year before he did. He was really good during his last college season (although RG3 won the Heisman over him). The combination made him a "sure thing" more than anyone since Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf who duked it out for top draft pick in '98. 

Leaf is an interesting comparison. He just goes to show that you cannot take the expectations coming out of college and assume that they reliably transfer to the pro level.

I think Luck was exactly what his career says he was: a very good QB who fans had hoped would be great.

76 I think Luck was exactly…

I think Luck was exactly what his career says he was: a very good QB who fans had hoped would be great.


I regret typing as much as I did in my previous post. If you can't watch film of Luck playing - especially recent film - and understand that he was a phenomenal talent, there's really no point in even having a conversation with you.

75 I'll rather strongly…

I'll rather strongly disagree with the other responses to this post. It isn't just the stats. This is one of those cases where you just have to watch him play. I don't believe that it's possible for a sane and unbiased viewer to conclude anything other than that Luck was as talented AND effective* as they come. (*- this distinction is necessary because of people like Josh Allen.)

Andrew Luck was capable of things that only a very small handful of other players were capable of, and he made those plays regularly, regardless of the quality of his teammates. He was that QB that could succeed regardless of coach (and Pagano sucked mightily) or offense (Arians was a Coryell deep guy, that Harbaugh/Pep tree was WCO, Reich is a mixture of each, plus Pederson/Reid WCO with more horizontal options, etc). You could drop that kid on a different team with a different offense every year and he would still succeed and every opposing coach would still fear his abilities, even if the game plan was excellent.

He played with drop-prone receivers, through injury, on teams whose defenses couldn't stop Blaine Gabbert, let alone a good QB, and he still kept his team in every game. You knew he was capable of anything at any time, regardless of who was lining up with him, and he proved that to be right much more often than he proved it to be wrong. Just go back and look at that roster that he took to the AFCCG in the spygate year. They had no business being there. And even with him, they sucked. But damn. They still won 13 games that year with that crap. On his worst days he was still capable of anything. 

Peyton could do that. Rodgers can do that. Favre could do that (although he was even more likely than Luck to do the opposite). Beyond those, it's really hard to think of anyone else who could. At least, anyone else who was both capable of it AND more likely than not to (I mean, Mike Vick was capable of any/every-thing too... doesn't mean that his great days outnumbered his shitty 50% completion days or that he made his teammates better). It feels like you are just dying to distill him down to his stat line in that AFCCG... against a vastly superior team with vastly superior coaching on the road and in the rain in a game that nobody - including me, the optimist - gave them any chance of winning.

He was really, really good. And would have been on just about every team in the NFL. The numbers aren't unkind to him at all, but the tape is even less so. There's a reason that scouting reports on him were almost universal in their praise as "best since Elway" or "best since Manning," and if your argument is that his play didn't bear that out, then your standards are too high. 

If you're going to knock him as something less than excellent in his rookie season, I guess I'll just ask: what rookie QB has been better? Nevermind the rest of his career... just look at his 11-5 rookie season with a crap roster and huge comebacks and victories like those against the Packers and Lions. Obviously he wasn't some otherwordly force, but does the 59-24 Patriots victory mean he's crap? Or just a rookie on an overmatched team?

83 Odd. I can't believe someone…

Odd. I can't believe someone could see a QB throw multiple interceptions more often than any other QB in the league, and conclude that he is "as talented as the come". Because, you know, throwing interceptions is something that talented QBs try to avoid.

The problem here seems to be one of "highlight film greatness". A gunslinger/risk taker like Luck is going to have a HUGE highlight reel that can make him seem superhuman to fans. But all those interceptions don't make it into the reel, and get forgotten by fans.

FWIW, I think Luck's HUGE highlight reel AND his large number of sucky, multi-int games, are in part due to a risk-seeking offensive scheme. It's possible he would have done better under a different scheme. But his jaw-dropping highlight reel would have been much shorter, too. You get one with the other. There's no avoiding that.


103 I guess I'll just ask: what rookie QB has been better...


How about Russell Wilson or Robert Griffin III, that very same year?

You see, there's this website called Football Outsiders. They have these neat stats called DYAR and DVOA. Those stats help savvy readers get past the hype and flash and highlight film selection bias to get to what players really are playing consistently well.

You should read it sometime.

116 Oh, ha. Your sarcasm is so…

Oh, ha. Your sarcasm is so very witty and clever.

In 2012, Seattle and Washington were ranked first and second in Rushing DVOA and 2nd and 17th (at 1.7%) in Defensive DVOA, while the Colts were 18th and 31st (by a wiiiide margin). Two of those three teams had HOF or near-HOF level coaches. 

I mean... I don't want to go out on a limb or make assumptions here... but it's almost as if the the teams asked different things from their quarterbacks, placed less of a burden on them, and one took more risks out of necessity.

The irony here is that in 2004 someone would've pointed at those exact same two stats when you shouted about QB WINZ and rings in defending your claim that Brady was better than Manning and you would have dismissed them and called them idiots. I guess context and watching games only matters when it suits you. Nobody from this site has ever claimed that these stats tell the entire story. Hell... that's why we have a Film Room feature here.

(For the record: while I think Russell Wilson is a nut case, I am a big fan of his play, as well as that of Griffin and Brady. I think Griffin has gotten about as raw a deal as any player could have, in fact. And I haven't even tried to claim that Luck was some type of GOAT. My response is only to the context that you provided in claiming that Luck is merely "a bit above average." If you actually watched him play and still think that he wasn't capable of anything and freakishly good in general, then you're a fucking idiot.)

If you want to hold Luck (and Manning, Goff, Mayfield, etc) to a higher standard because they were #1 picks, while guys like Brady and Wilson were not... that is totally fair. You should. They came in with greater expectations, a greater salary hit, theoretically more talent, etc. It's a disappointment that Luck didn't win a title just as it is that Marino didn't or that Manning only won two. That's part of why we're all sad about this news.

But get the fuck out of here with these accusations of blindness (and your shitheel attitude) when it's you that is unwilling to acknowledge what is plain to anyone who actually watches the games, Colts fan or otherwise. We're universally sad that a great player retired early, and you come in here with your "eh, he wasn't really even that good" nonsense.

121 Your post violates site standards

Please. F*ck? Shitheel? Brady vs. Manning in an unrelated thread?!?

And specifically because I asked you to consult your own site’s stats, or don’t fully agree with your subjective assessment of a player?

Jeez. You escalate quickly.

I get it that your role is to play the crazy die-hard Colts fan here, to spice up the comment threads. Someone has to. But this is the site for “Innovative Statistics. Intelligent Analysis.” You’re way over the line. Dial it back, please.

123 Nat, you used somewhat…

Nat, you used somewhat caustic sarcasm to misrepresent the meaning of the metrics you employ to support your argument. There is no qb metric, including DYAR, which tells us how well a qb played.  What all QB metrics 1, the good ones, the bad ones, the mediocre ones, do is attempt to illuminate for us how well a passing and qb running offense operated, and the individual qb performance is only one variable that goes into how well a passing and qb running offense performs. This is why I was so dismissive of the Bledsoe/Luck analogy, based upon DYAR or DVOA and the ignorant yelpings of fans and pundits. The multiple other variables that are distilled into DYAR/DVOA are so different in the years 1993-2000 for the Patriots, and the years 2012-2018 for the Colts, that to use any QB metric to make a claim about the similarity of Bledsoe to Luck is simply without merit, and pretty obviously so.

Measuring individual football player performance, including qbs, is extraordinarily difficult, to the point of dwarfing the difficulty of the exercise in other sports. The result is that about 90%, or more, of the commentary surrounding the exercise is worthless. Which is why I decided more than a decade ago to avoid the typical debates, like who is the GOAT, or rank the top 5, and all that nonsense adopting the fatuous conceit of phony precision.

I called Luck a "generational talent" not based on any metric, but based on having eyeballs and having watched qbs closely since I was about 10. I never said he produced generational metrics, and the difference between the two terms is immense. Again, anybody who would dispute that Favre was a generational talent, no matter whether he ever was matched to a coaching staff that coaxed that talent out of him, doesn't, to quote Parcells, know whether the ball is blown up or stuffed.


124 Wasn't directed towards you...


You and I disagree. And I think it's clear to anyone reading that you are emotionally invested in your belief in Andrew Luck. You feel strongly about this issue. It's not just an intellectual exercise to you. It matters to you that we get Andrew Luck right.

But you've been civil. You've followed the site's guidelines.

I seriously wondered where the "generational talent" idea came from. If I understand you, you saw him as such a talent before he was drafted, and what you've seen in the NFL confirms that for you. A lot of people saw what you saw before the draft. I suspect fewer people saw "generational talent" in his NFL career. But it is certain that some people did.

My experience is somewhat different. Luck is 0-6 against the team I follow, with multiple interceptions in four of them. That's against a mediocre defense, so naturally I see Luck as middle of the pack or a bit better based on what I've seen.

Eyeball tests are notoriously flaky. I've found it's worth checking the stats. That's not the same as complete ignoring the eyeball test. My eyeballs said Luck had a tendency to throw multiple interception games. Stats confirm that. So I think I'm justified in concluding that it's part of who he is, in the scheme that he plays. He throws a lot of TDs, too. That's also him and the scheme and the teammates, etc.

Luck would not be the first QB to be held back by circumstances. But he would probably be the first to be held back from "generational" to second-tier. It's possible. It just doesn't seem likely to me.


125 This is sort of interesting;…

This is sort of interesting; one of the assets of the stats promoted on this site is that they properly recognize basic game theory concepts like opportunity cost, cost/benefit, etc... (thought in my view they fail to recognize game evolution/situation properly), items that the "eye test" generally struggles with. Unfortunately the dynamics of football make it virtually impossible to attribute those stats to a specific player, as a result everyone uses the "eye test" to make attribution. It's inarguable that the Colts offense during the period that Luck was QB was not exceptional and that Luck had an exceptionally high ceiling with regard to the throws he could make. I think it's far from obvious whether the mitigating circumstance for results (high interception count, high sack numbers, etc...) should be thought of as a consequence of Luck's lack of mental consistency and toughness (relative to top tier all time talent), or the poor coach/performance of the rest of his team. "generational QB" does not simply mean "throws the best", but means "plays the position the best", in my view it is without question that Luck did not play the position with patience & mental discipline that has defined the careers of Wilson & Brady (whether that is connected to coaching is debatable) - but I've only watched about 10 games snap-for-snap worth of Luck's career so I'm open to the hypothesis he was better than I give him credit for.

127 Again  "generational talent"…

Again  "generational talent" is not synonymous with "generational qb".

(edit) I will assert, obviously without being able to prove it, that your estimation of Brady and Wilson's mental discipline would be entirely different if they had been paired with the Colts defense of 2012-2017, for the first six years of their careers. Frankly, a very talented qb paired with a bad defense and less than great offensive teammates should throw a significantly greater number number of ints, if he wants to maximize his team's wins, since a high variance approach is what is called for with that kind of roster.

On the flip side, if Mark Rypien, had he been killed in a tragic kiln explosion following the 1991 season, would have had a lot of people saying he was a great qb whose career was interrupted by emulating the hobbies of Fawn Leibowitz, ill-fated coed of Emily Dickinson College. They would have been wrong, of course, to the ignore the context of starting, for several years, for one of the best coaches ever, especially on offense, on one of the best teams ever.


132 "I will assert, obviously…

"I will assert, obviously without being able to prove it, that your estimation of Brady and Wilson's mental discipline would be entirely different if they had been paired with the Colts defense of 2012-2017" - B.S.

Exhibit A. Superbowl 49 Pats vs. Seahawks; Brady with the ball down 10 in Q4 Brady takes short completions on 11 of 14 non red-zone drop backs (as well as three runs) for two touchdown drives. That patience was certinly not a result of excellent defense by that team, but rather a feat of extrodinary dicipline and self-assuradness in the ability to not make mistakes going down the field like that.

Exhibit B. 2015 conference championship Colts @ Pats; Colts down 17-7 at the half. Colts drives after the half 3-out, INT, 3-out, INT, 3-out, game ending offensive drive. In those 6 drives he had only 2 first down completions and had 5 deep ball attempts none of which were completed. If you are going to argue that there were no opportunities to make short completions and wait for defensive mistakes rather than force the issue I don't think your watching football objectively. 

These are obviously small sample sizes and it's possible there is a contrary argument somewhere in Lucks tape, but if there is I definitely haven't seen it.

133 Again  "generational talent"…

Again  "generational talent" is not synonymous with "generational qb".

On these definitions I can buy Luck as a generational talent. I disagree with the definition that the mental game is not a critical part of the "talent" package, but if you look at it like this I buy your argument.

126 You reveal the problem with…

You reveal the problem with your argument when you write that Luck was 0-6 against the team you follow most closely. Frankly, unless you are nearly certain that the records would reverse if the two players at that positions switched teams, that w-l metric is of extremely little value, as a means of evaluating the quality of play of an individual player. The numbers you have cited in this thread simply do not inform you with regard to what you think they do. 

As a final note, with regard to civility and rhetorical techniques, to assert that someone you are debating is "emotionally invested" in a position, that "it's not just an intellectual exercise" is itself either an intellectually disingenuous attempt to gain an upper hand in a debate, or an observation devoid of value .

Let us have at least one moment of clarity, stripped of obsfuscating wordplay; there is no emotion-o-meter, finely or poorly calibrated, which can give any outside observer any insight  as to whether it is you or I, or either of us, that is "emotionally invested" in our positions, thus making our positions something that is "not just an intellectual exercise", relative to what any human beings normally do, when they differ in their interpretations of observable reality. This is something you either deliberately invented, or flat out hallucinated, or the observation itself is completely pointless, if what you were saying was that I have the typical emotional investment in an argument that you, or any person, has.

The irony is that unless you were saying "You're emotionally invested in your position, like all human beings, including me, become emotionally invested in their positions!" (which is an observation of nearly zero value), then this assertion regarding my emotional investment is either a deliberate falsehood or something you wholly hallucinated without empirical evidence. Either way, it illuminates, ironically so, a very likely excessive, relative to the norm, emotional attachment that you have to your position. Human beings have a greater tendency make shit up, deliberately and nondeliberately, the greater the emotional investment  they have to an argument they are making.

128 You reveal your misunderstanding...

The reference to Luck's 0-6 record against the Patriots was merely a description of which of Luck's games I am most familiar with. I don't depend on his record for any assessment of his play, although I reserve the right to refer to it for context. The "four with multiple interceptions" is a partial description of what my "eye test" saw in those games, as confirmed with actual statistics. Your whole point (criticizing the use of a QB's record) is kinda off base.

It's what I've seen - crosschecked against some stats - that leads to my assessment of Luck as a gunslinger. He takes a lot of risks, many of those pay off, many of them get horrible results, resulting in the great highlights but so-so overall results (but not W-L record, that's not allowed here) he has actually - in real life - experienced. "Gunslinger" is shorthand for a particular style of play and results profile. 

I'm glad to hear you're not emotionally invested in Luck being considered a "generational" NFL QB. I doubt he's going into the Hall of Fame. I can't imagine what his exhibit would include.

130 Well, since being a HOF qb…

Well, since being a HOF qb is not remotely synonymous with being a qb with generational talent, I'll simply chalk up this last post of yours to again not responding to what I actually wrote. This is unfortunate and kind of a waste of time.

In no place did I dispute the "gunslinger" description, as much as I try to avoid that sort of thing. I don't differ when people apply it to Favre, but again, anybody who would have disputed Favre being a generational talent, without regard to whatever metrics his offense produced, was engaged in ignorance.


135 Cmon, Will, quit it

I was very responsive to your point about W-L records. They're not relevant except as context in most cases. I brought Luck's 0-6 against the Pats as context for what my eyes saw. Duh.

As for the HOF, what, I'm not allowed to bring up a separate point after responding to yours?

So we agree on this: Luck was a gunslinger-type QB, with non HOF-worthy accomplishments on the field - not just W-L, but really (and importantly for a QB) in terms of actual offensive production.

You saw enough amazing plays that nonetheless failed to help his stats to think Luck was playing much better than his stats say he was. So much better, in fact, that you would rate him as demonstrating the kind of talent we see once a generation (i.e. "generational talent"), instead of the kind we see in 10-20 QBs every season, as his stats would suggest.

That's a TON of amazing plays that somehow don't convert to better stats. But I guess that's what you think you saw. It just doesn't seem that likely to me.

137 You simply are unable or…

You simply are unable or unwilling to grasp the concept that the metrics you cite are not "his stats". It seems that you really believe that the metrics we employ to measure passing effectiveness and the effectiveness of qb running plays are overwhelmingly the by-product of qb performance, and thus we can say with strong confidence that the qb who finished 10th in DYAR played  worse than the qb who finished 5th, or even 3rd. Or that the one who finished 15th played worse than the one who finished 8th or 5th. That's before we get to what effect environment has on the health of a qb, and how health affects performance.

You are watching an entirely different game than the one I watch. The one I watch has over 50 players in every game that affect whatever metric we use to measure passing and qb running play effectiveness. It is one where coaching, and not just in talent evaluation, has a very large effect on passing  and qb running play effectiveness. It is one where GMs and scouts have a large effect on those metrics.

You think these metrics are telling you things that they really aren't telling you. You are imagining it.


136 For referencing statistics?

Never mind. People seem to want to go ad hominem today.

It's really a question of just how far "my eyes tell me he's a once in a generation player" can carry you from so-so on the field statistics. Isn't it?

139 Again, your understanding of…

Again, your understanding of the metrics employed anywhere, with regard to the NFL's passing and qb running plays, is extraordinarily, well, almost Faith-based. That's often the ironic result of rationalism (and I'm a big supporter of rationalism); people often twist it to a point where they invest in it a power that the approach cannot actually deliver on. You actually firmly believe, for instance, that DYAR ranks of (to use Luck's healthy years of rookie, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 7th) 19, 14, 10, 11, 7, is so meaningful, in terms of individual qb performance, that you dismiss the assertion that he was a generational talent. You have irrationally invested a power into the metrics that they do not have. I'll simply suggest to you that an approach to the use of metrics, that would have dismissed the possibility that O.J. Simpson was a generational running back talent in 1972, for instance, is not a good way to use metrics. 

141 Well, I can only speak for…

Well, I can only speak for myself when saying that the reason I went ad hominem is based on how you talked down to me. I suppose technically your "It's called Football Outsiders, maybe you should read it" attack wasn't ad hominem, but it's pretty close. It's certainly not polite. Based on that, and our history of other discussions that began with you taking offense to me *complimenting* your team, I got angry and mean, which is why I then stepped away until this morning to cool off.

So I'll apologize for my violation of site standards and for not keeping a level head and following Will's example. He and I disagreed pretty strongly earlier in this very thread, and all was fine. We don't really seem as capable of that, I guess. But I'm willing to try if you are.


143 Apology accepted.

Thanks for dialing it back.

For all the snark, I was serious about the suggestion that you investigate the stats. Not just DYAR and DVOA, but also other statistical evidence related to ideas you might have.

For example, I had the impression that Luck had a lot of multiple-interception games. I made that assertion based on my "eyeballs" as they watched Luck's games against the Patriots. But I followed up by checking the stats. And, yes, Luck has a lot of those games, more (as a percentage) than any of his peers.

On your part, you might investigate your idea that Luck HAD to take risks because he played from behind late in the game a lot, and so had no choice. That's something you could check. Are his interceptions more clustered in the fourth quarter than is normal? Are they more concentrated on third or fourth down than most QBs? (that's when making a risky throw makes the most sense). Do they happen in the final two or four minutes of the game? Were the games close, or did he need to score really fast and not just score? How does all that compare to other QBs?

It's fine to build your opinion on eyeball impressions, so long as you do some digging to see if your eyeballs aren't leading you astray through unintentional biases.

145 What the stats start to say...

Dave's busy, I know. So I started to look at the stats.

2012-18 Interceptions by Quarter, league:

Q1: 18% Q2: 27% Q3: 22% Q4: 33%

Andrew Luck:

Q1: 23% Q2: 35% Q3: 16% Q4: 26%

So the indications are that Luck's interceptions are NOT explained by the need to take a lot of fourth quarter risks. Instead, he had a tendency to throw more of his interceptions in the first two quarters than the typical QB, when risky play is not justified. 

In this case, at least, the "eyeballs" seem to have gotten it wrong.

147 Ha, yeah, busy replying to…

Ha, yeah, busy replying to you :P

That's a distribution out of 100% of all picks, not an INT rate by Q, right? (I assume so, since both total 100.)

That's pretty interesting. And a bit of a shock. Because even if it was obvious from memory that he still had a 1H distribution, you'd still sort of expect those to skew late just because of the tendency to throw more and have more/quicker possessions late, especially if trailing. And even if you teased out some 4th down and hail mary type things in the 2Q, like the FO stats do... that's still vastly different from expectations.


Here's a question for you, and please try to view it as engaging, not argumentative; I'm trying to get a better picture of what you'd value in a non-Patriots hypothetical. If we pretend Luck didn't retire (sigh)... Given what you saw of Luck in 2018... what quarterbacks would you rather have on your [neutral, could be any coach and any scheme] team, both for 2019 alone and for 2019-2028?

I'll assume that both lists include Mahomes and Rodgers. For 2019 obviously we can say Brady and Brees, but not for the latter list. Am curious how you - by eyeballs as much as stats - would compare Luck to Rivers, Wilson, Roethlisberger, Ryan, healthy Newton, etc? You've even gone as far as to use the phrase "10 to 20 other quarterbacks," but are there even ten you'd rather put on a team than him? Five? I recognize that in context that comment was purely about output in the past.

(Ryan is another interesting conversation... he won an MVP but is still often ignored. Which strikes me as super unfair, but on the other hand, I've watched a lot of Matt Ryan and I end up forgetting/ignoring him too.)


151 Thumb on the scales?

If we assume that Luck stays healthy and continues to play his best football ever for 10 (!!!) years, how would he compare with other players such as Brady or Brees if we assume they do NOT stay healthy for 10 years...

That's a pretty hefty thumb on the scales. So let me answer some related questions...

Who would I prefer for one year at their very best?

Lots of QBs over Luck. Too many to easily list. Everybody who has broken 20% DVOA and isn't a low pass count backup.

Who would I prefer for one year at their average level of play?

Lots of QBs. Too many to easily list. Averaging 10% DVOA is probably enough to make this list.

Who would I prefer for 2019, assuming the exact same level of play as last year?

Mahomes, Brees, Rivers, Ryan, Roethlisberger, and I'd call it a toss up for Goff, and Brady. Luck was pretty good last year.

Who do I think will play better in 2019 than Luck did in 2018?

I'd be guessing. But Mahomes, Brees, and Ryan come to mind. Brady has a good chance to do so, but I wouldn't be surprised if he continued to drop off. There will be a couple other names that I can't guess as other QBs develop or bounce back from off years.

But this is all subjective stuff - although I started with DYAR/DVOA to guide my thoughts. I'm much more interested in what we can glean from the stats than a "QB X is awesome!!! No! QB Y is awesome, X is a fraud!!!" level of debate.

154 Of course it's a hefty thumb…

Of course it's a hefty thumb on the scales! Especially now that we know he's retired, but even before that, because of his injury history and more. It's why I asked about a hypothetical. I hate that tactic of avoiding the actual question asked. In fact, I'll call you on re-framing the question as "who would I prefer for one year at their very best," because that isn't the question that I asked. I asked who you'd want for 2019 at their 2018 levels, as well as who you'd take, purely on speculation, since we're talking not only about a false reality where Luck isn't retired but also trying to guess the future. You are the one who came in to rain on our [opposite of a] parade about Luck's skills and the resultant optimism about his 2019+ future, so I am curious about the extent to which you'd find [this hypothetical non-retired lifer version of] Luck a bad bet in this new marriage between player and competent coaching.

I will 100% admit that I am being pedantic here precisely because I am making an assumption - based on past arguments that we have had, and oh absolutely a generalization and surely a bias about Pats fans in general - that you were also that guy, 15 years ago, that would skirt these same statistics you now cling to in order to defend your favorite QB, who was highly successful but under fire as "not as good by the numbers" from half the population. (And yes, I know this pushes us back into B-M territory and I feel no need to go there, nor do you, and with every passing year that Brady STILL keeps playing well it renders it moot, even to people like me, so carry on...) You are certainly free to call me on that. I'm straying from statistical arguments here, and if it helps, I'll flat out concede the L on that point. I guess that was obvious on Tuesday though.


As for your 2019-only list... well damn, that sort of contradicts the whole 10-20 or "slightly above average" thing, since average would be 15th, and you named 5 and two halves.

Strictly by opinion, I'd say you're underrating Brady and (vastly, it should be noted) overrating Roethlisberger and Goff. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that anyone who can watch Goff and Luck play and not see to a certainty, within the span of almost any random subset of ten plays, that Goff is a product of his coaching and Luck was not just better, but hilariously so, doesn't really know what they're watching.

But I'll stop short there because I have my own biases and because you didn't firmly commit to anything about Goff. Also, the egg Goff laid in the Super Bowl wasn't really demonstrably worse than some of the eggs Luck laid against your team. (That said... I think we'd both agree that even with the hobbled Gurley, Goff's team was slightly better than any that Luck ever took the field with.) Still, Goff's vision, his pocket awareness, his accuracy... ugh. I'll just stop now and say that I don't think very highly of him, or attribute very much of that offense's success to him, which I think is a large part of why we've seen as many no-name McVay sycophants get hired as we've seen of Belichick's disciples, but in a much smaller time frame.

Roethlisberger is a great comparison for Luck, really. They both had the same risk-embracing coach in their ears, they're both huge and take more hits than they should, and for the most part you just sort of accept that because of the plays they can make out of structure. My only objection to you including him on that list has nothing to do with the actual level of his QB play over his career; only that he sort of under-the-radar fell off a cliff last year, and it wasn't because Bell was gone. And I have a fair amount of money on the fact that this will become more obvious to the masses by about December of this year. (Basically if he was a stock I'd be trying to sell short at his peak, which I realize could still be playing with fire and get me wiped out.) I wouldn't object to pre-2018 Ben being on that list, and I won't die on the hill of "2018+ Ben is bad" either. 

It's the optimism and conjecture that's why this is tough; if Brady quit tomorrow (or in 2009) you could say "ugh, but at least we had a good run" and still think back on the good times. With Luck we knew it was there, but the good times were still out of reach. Last year we started to see it all come together. There was SO MUCH hope. Even if some of it was over the top. Instead... nope. 


148 Luck was perhaps capable of playing less recklessly...

Looking at those fourth quarter interceptions...

League-wide 69% of Q4 interceptions were thrown down 4 or more points.

For Andrew Luck, that's 76%.

So it looks like (warning: small sample size!), when the circumstances clearly call for non-risky play, Luck could play that way. He skews away from taking risks late with a lead or is within a field goal.

The statistical pattern here looks like the Colts took too many risks passing throughout Luck's career, but dialed DOWN the risk when it was obviously the right thing to do.

Other teams try to play at a more optimum risk-level most of the game, and dial the risk UP only when it was obviously the right thing to do.

Scheme, Luck's competitive personality, who knows? But that's the picture the stats paint.

149 No arguments here. The…

No arguments here.

The questions that raise are more akin to the half-serious list I made in the other reply... mainly: why?

Citing this in percentages as you did reasonably accounts for possessions and attempts, and your close/late look here filters it to game scripts (late, anyway)... so what on earth skews him so much to earlier, especially 2nd quarter, picks.

(That's a real question, not just a thought exercise. I can't even come up with very many good hypotheticals.)

I think we can all assume that a coach like Bruce Arians is going to drill the idea of "just throw the damn ball" into a young QB's head (and we can safely assume that because he's on record as saying that a thousand times), and so to some extent a higher risk tolerance that's ingrained from the start will always be higher, regardless of quarter, and thus we can probably still say that it makes sense that they'd take risks earlier in games even without the situation warranting it. That's still a really big difference though.

Then again, if you're going to talk about individual risk tolerance, %s divided up inside of a total of 100 isn't as instructive as other framings. In this case, the next logical question is "how did Luck's INTs as a % of his throws compare to the league in 2Q," (instead of INTs as a % of all his INTs), which is partially but not fully explained by the league distribution there. Maybe it's just a possession/attempt fluke. I'd say "maybe that's the point in the game where the other team catches on to the game plan, and then they make good halftime adjustments" but it's really hard to even finish that sentence with a straight face when the coach was Pagano.

152 I highly suspect it's a…

I highly suspect it's a result of exposure and getting off game-script. In Q1 they come out with the game-script which is hopefully somewhat new news to the defense, by Q2 the defense has some exposure to what the Colts are doing and the game script runs out pushing judgement to the QB. It's plausible as well that the blocking schemes etc... are predictable and get stale. Your right to point out the need to compare to league average as these effects likely create changes over the quarters everywhere in the league. I do think it's sufficient evidence to basically throw out the idea that Luck's INT rate is a consequence of his team being behind - it's much more difficult to address the narrative that his INT rate is a consequence of his coaching being bad as it's nearly impossible to separate a QB's mental game from coaching.


156 From my perspective, Luck's…

From my perspective, Luck's issues in the mental game are less about the coaching than the pre-Reich route trees and play designs were. First there was the mad bomber Arians offense, then the WCO that was supposed to rein that in, but with several varieties, first with the Pep and then Chudzinski play designs wherein every receiver would run 3rd down routes shy of the sticks (well documented on Colts fan sites) and then in later years with long-stemmed time-consuming ones (which some people still would point to as why he got hit, which is correct in that it doesn't overweight the OL play, but is still an incomplete explanation). Some former writers from this site have done a pretty good job pointing out how this jacked the degree of difficulty up a notch or three, though.

I think Luck's own personal mentality is another conversation entirely, and a rabbit hole down which I won't jump. There are scheme and coach and teammate and variance related reasons to accept more risk, but there are also personal reasons to accept it, or not even to accept it, but just screw up anyway. I've never tried to draw the line about any of them, or even suggest that he wasn't prone to it; only that he was supremely talented. The only reason we're even having this conversation at all is because of that talent. If he was just some average player, his retirement wouldn't have lasted more than one news cycle. 

155 Luck vs. League in Int%

2012-2018 Int%

League: 2.3%

Luck: 2.7%

That is, he threw interceptions more frequently than average overall, and had a higher percentage of his own interceptions in the first half (from stats shown elsewhere in these threads). It follows that his int% in the early quarters are higher than league average, too. Even more so than his overall int%.

Maybe he or his coaches settled down or otherwise adjusted in the second half. Whatever reason, he had interception trouble concentrated in the first half, when it can't be explained by justifiable risk taking. The first half is almost always about maximizing the expected value of each drive.

He was great at many other things (my eyes tell me). AND he appears to have had a gunslinger mentality, judging from his interception profile (and my eyes).

Me, I think he had supreme confidence in his ability to make difficult throws to well-covered receivers. He was at least partially justified, given his throwing talent. But no matter how good your throws are, eventually the risks cost you more than they gain, and your overall value goes down. As I said earlier in this discussion, I think he would have been a better QB if he had less raw throwing talent to rely on.

157 If this had been your…

If this had been your initial post, my hackles would never have been raised.

I think in Luck's case he was far less arrogant about his own abilities than, say, Favre or at the true extreme, Jay Cutler, with regard to just saying "F it, I can zing it in there anyway;" to some extent I think the team's weakness and his own mind made him conclude "I have to try." But that's splitting hairs; the motivations differ, but the risk tolerance is the same.

I can remember back in 2010-11, when Luck was already heralded as the next big thing and I had no reason to care (I have never enjoyed college football). Even then he had some of those 2 TD, 2 INT games that made me wonder, "this is the next big thing? Really?" But then I watched him play, how he moved in the pocket, how he placed throws, etc... and I distinctly remember having the thought of "man, I wish that instead of trading a 1 for Tony Ugoh, Polian had been stockpiling picks for the future just on the off chance they could accumulate enough draft capital to get this kid." Without even the slightest hint of the idea that that might become a reality, though entirely accidental, a year later.

(It was an optimistic evaluation on par with some surrounding Josh Allen last year, except that it was 1000 times more warranted, given that Luck wasn't profoundly inaccurate and mediocre on the whole against mid-major competition.)

146 OK good, I'm glad you're…

OK good, I'm glad you're still checking this XP and saw that. Although I still think you're still being slightly condescending and I don't like it.

My issue with you is that you've shown yourself to be argumentative even when people agree. I know Luck threw a lot more picks. I watched them all. Even as I assert his greatness, there were dozens of them that made me roll my eyes in real time.

The questions, then, are: 1) Did he throw them because:

a) he sucks

b) he's reckless

c) he's inaccurate

d) his teammates have stone hands or ran bad routes

e) the offensive design sucks

f) they had to play higher variance because of the game script or the team's lack of talent elsewhere

g) the sun was in his eyes

h) the devil made him do it;

and 2) Are we going to judge his INTs against everyone, or just three of the other best QBs who ever lived? (Note: I consider this title to be rather generous to Russell Wilson but I'm willing to go with it here.) Can someone still be great/generational and still fall short of three others?

For 1, of course, it's a combination of all of the above except a and the two non-serious ones. For two... well, those are different discussions, including over how we define a word.

I, personally, am of two opinions: we agree that stats don't lie; but it's also unfair to compare Luck to Brady and Wilson because of the VAST difference in their job descriptions, especially during the same early years of their careers. And if I thought it'd make a difference I would go find some stats about that, such as the charts making the rounds on twitter about the percentage of games in which certain teams allowed X points and won/lost anyway, the game scripts, the coaching, etc... like all statistics, of course, they don't tell the whole story. They also won't change the fact that Luck DID throw more picks than is ideal, sometimes in bunches, or that New England had a special way of making him look really bad. (For all the - unfounded and cliche, if you ask me - talk of the Pats being in Manning's head and bringing out the worst in him early last decade... it seemed much more applicable to Luck. Perhaps because by the 2010s it was much more apparent that his team was horribly outclassed, especially on the sideline, so he put more pressure on himself or overthought it? Who knows. But you won't hear any argument from me that in those games, he played poorly, even independent of ALL of the things I list above.) 

As for the definitions, I'm with Will. Talent and Results are two different things. One can be called a "generational talent" without producing the best results. And you're certainly right that ultimately, "generational talent" means nothing in the end.

It's all very interesting, and Luck-Wilson would've been a fascinating/annoying Brady-Manning debate for another decade if Luck would've allowed it, because 5-10 years ago I was 100% in the camp with the notion that "you've got a ridiculous talent, give him toys and let him throw it," which is how the Colts allocated their resources around Manning, how Grigson then [tried to] allocate around Luck, and how we've seen it go in a few other locations as well. And there's still some merit to that, but Will also pointed out the higher variance type of offense you have to run when you've got a team like that, and I get that (and Bruce Arians celebrates it)... Meanwhile, I was once bored by the way that Seattle, 2001 New England, the Carolina Panthers of a few years ago, etc teams built themselves, and even went so far as to dismiss it as stubbornly old fashioned, since it's a passing league and "run the ball and stop the run" is dumb. But you know, there's an awful lot to be said for creating a team where you're good enough to win even if you don't ask a lot of your quarterback. Because when you do that, and your QB does turn out to be really freaking good, you can let him come along at his own pace, prioritize turnover avoidance, and then by year 3 or so when the training wheels come off, suddenly you have a disciplined, experienced, and confident QB is is good enough to win games by himself AND a team that's good enough that he doesn't have to. And, well, for two decades now, we've seen that that's a much more sustainable and successful model. And for all of Pagano and Grigson's bluster about it, they absolutely SUCKED at it. And to a lesser extent (also due in part to being hamstrung by the money spent on offense/Manning's contracts), so too was the Polian regime before that. (Polian, for all his faults, did a lot of things really well though. I won't condemn him that way.) This is where we veer into assumptions, though. Maybe if Luck landed in Seattle he'd still have thrown a lot more picks, put more pressure on himself (he strikes me as the overthinking type where this is possible no matter what; takes one to know one I guess), and fall short of lofty goals. We'll never know. But... I hope we can agree that young Wilson (and before him, Young Brady) did have luxuries that Andrew Luck did not; namely, quality coaching and the ability to still win a game even without putting on the superhero cape. And that's not a knock on those guys at all; simply conjecture at how such luxuries may have affected Luck's risk tolerance if he had been given the chance.

(Note: as with Wilson, I blame the sacks WAY more on the QB than the OL or roster construction. Even adjusted for the design of the offense. Wilson is going to take a lot of sacks and run around a lot no matter what offense he's in, and I wouldn't even want to change that about him anyway.)

I've gone way off topic here, but hopefully it informs you about where I'm coming from, in that there are just so many moving parts here, assumptions that will always be in play, and shortcomings to every approach. And those will always inform our opinions.

And hell, that's sort of the whole point here... In 2018 we finally got to see Luck in a situation that was good (which speaks to Will's whole point about the leverage he had). It flashed SO MUCH potential. By some measures he was the most accurate QB in the league at all levels of the field. He took care of the ball better, he threw it sooner (this was still more coaching/design than OL, in my opinion, but that's neither here nor there), he threw guys open, he made mostly good decisions, and they won a road playoff game and went into an offseason where they seem to have improved, even if the D was only slightly. The optimism in 2014-15 was always misplaced; that team was never going to beat a real team and many of us knew that the whole time. For 2019, though, I shared that optimism. Not just for 2019, but well into the 2020s as well. They weren't on the same plane as LA-KC-NE in the AFC last year, and may not have even been quite there this year just yet. But they were very well positioned to be there for a while. Point being, there were a lot of reasons to believe that despite the handicaps that made Luck "only" a top-10 QB by our measures, it was a safe bet that he'd be top 5 or 3 for a while going forward. All while his team succeeded as well. And now that's gone. That sucks. 

129 In 2012, Seattle and…

In 2012, Seattle and Washington were ranked first and second in Rushing DVOA and 2nd and 17th (at 1.7%) in Defensive DVOA, while the Colts were 18th and 31st (by a wiiiide margin). Two of those three teams had HOF or near-HOF level coaches.

It's long been noted that rushing QBs improve a team's rushing DVOA.

Top 3 teams in 2012 in rushing DVOA? Seattle, Washington, San Francisco. Their QBs? Wilson, Griffin, Kaepernick.

4th was NE, with the sedentary Tom Brady, but that was team that ran as a changeup, using their horde of fungible converted slot receivers.


Incidentally, it's a bad look for a writer/mod to unleash profanity against a reasonable post pointing out that your argument is contrary to the site's orthodoxy. I realize this is now an ESPN site, but you don't have to go full Screamin A.

150 Well, yeah, I know that…

Well, yeah, I know that... but it still points to an area wherein they had a pronounced advantage. Was easier to point at that than go back and find the twenty other ways in which the 2011 Colts minus half the team in cap casualties were otherwise a weaker overall roster than the 2012 Seahawks and 2012 Skins. 

I suppose the 2012 defenses would've been a bit of an easier link, though: https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/teamdef/2012

And I agree. He and I have a bit of a history. Though I'm not sure I'd agree that I was responding to a reasonable post, history or not.

153 Yes. The comment he was…

Yes. The comment he was replying to was snarky, but this is a message board for an analytics site, not a bar-room. Even if you are wound up and find yourself typing away furiously, there is plenty of time to take a deep breath and dial it back. Or, indeed, not hit 'send' at all. Especially as a moderator/employee!

Unpleasant and unbecoming, as you say.