Many have questioned whether or not the Indianapolis Colts should have held on to Peyton Manning, despite the immediate success Indianapolis has had since drafting Andrew Luck first overall in 2012. The fact that Manning has played so well for the Denver Broncos since his release from Indianapolis last year gives some validity to those questions.
In a recent interview with USA Today Sports, Colts owner Jim Irsay reveals that Peyton actually advised him to draft Luck and that the organization would be foolish to do otherwise.
“He said, ‘You’ve got to take Andrew,'” Irsay recalls during an interview with USA TODAY Sports. “‘You have to. You’re crazy if you don’t.'”
“I think it’s perfect,” Irsay says. “What’s happened is what Peyton and I hoped would happen. The desire was for him to get well and get to a team that has a chance to win another Super Bowl before his career ended. And our desire was to be able to transition to Andrew. To be so good so soon is stunning.”
Since being released, Manning has been arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, possibly even surpassing his best seasons playing for the Colts. Denver was a team with the offensive skill players that would allow Peyton — if healthy — to flourish, and he has been nothing short of spectacular and has the Broncos slated as an early season favorite for the Super Bowl. So far in 2013, Manning leads the NFL in virtually all passing categories, including yards passing (2,179), touchdown passes (22) and quarterback rating (128.8).
The Colts have had some success of their own in the wake of Manning’s release, with Luck leading the team to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth and a 4-2 start to the 2013 season. Some would go as far to argue that Luck has been one of the five best quarterbacks in the league this season, and they would have a good amount of evidence to support their claim.
The immediate fortunes of both Manning and the Colts sets the stage for an intriguing primetime matchup between Denver and Indianapolis next Sunday evening. Regardless of the outcome, both sides have already come out a potentially difficult situation better than anyone could have imagined.
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