Now this will be debated for years to come, but the fact that we're already debating if Andrew Luck is better than Peyton Manning is impressive. No one saw this fast start coming for Luck. Most of the national media had the Colts ranked in the bottom five teams in the NFL this year and thought they'd be fighting for the top pick in next April's draft again.
No one thought they would not only surpass those expectations and not just contend for a playoff spot, but that they could possibly contend once they're in the playoffs.
Everyone knew that Luck was going to be compared to Manning for not just his rookie season, but his entire career. What most were thinking they were going to compare them to was by season. At first, every game Luck had was compared to what Manning did during that week. Now, that's turning to what Manning did not just for his career but this season already.
How can this be? Are we really comparing Luck to Manning at this moment of their careers? Luck has only played eight games in his entire NFL career while Manning has won a Super Bowl, four league MVPs and played in 235 career games.
So far this season, Luck has thrown for 2,404 yards and has his team 5-3. Manning has his Broncos 5-3 and has also thrown for 2,404 yards. Scary to think these two are so similar and have their teams with the exact same record already, and we're halfway through the season.
Compare Luck's season stats and record to Manning's in 1998 and Manning only threw for 1,873 yards and had the Colts a dismal 1-7. It's safe to say the Colts are way ahead of the rebuild mode right now.
The Colts are tied currently for the sixth-best record in the entire NFL. Luck has a better record than every quarterback that's given four or less years in the league. Only veterans of five-plus years rank ahead of him in the win/loss column. After all, isn't that all that matters?
Now, I'm not going to say Luck is better than Manning right now. I worshiped Manning more than any other athlete ever while he played in Indianapolis. He's my all-time favorite player in any sport. But, I will admit Luck is already not far behind where Manning was in his prime.
The kid has such a strong arm, can read defenses like no one else other than Manning, and he has the will to win. Where he's better than Manning is keeping plays alive with his feet and vision.
In the past, when protection broke down, Manning would just go down. It was smart to avoid a big hit and live to fight another down. I applauded that in him. One thing I didn't particularly like in Manning was his happy feet when protection was breaking down.
Luck, on the other hand, doesn't get nervous at all. He has such poise in the pocket and can scramble away from a pass rush and extend the play. He already has 148 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground this year. It took Manning three years to reach three touchdown runs and Luck has already done that in half of his first season.
With Luck's scrambling ability, it used to allow him to run for big gains. Now, teams are respecting that and having to release their man and go after him. That's allowing big throws on the move for Luck to exploit that and keeping drives alive.
Take today's game with the Dolphins for example. Luck was 13 for 19 on third downs. Many of those were third and very long situations. Luck was smart enough to evade the rush and find the receiver.
He is just so strong and smart, and we haven't even seen the best of him yet. He may not be better than Manning yet, but he's close. Their numbers are very similar this year as they have the same record. It's not supposed to be like this already.
Maybe Jim Irsay was right with the move to release Manning. Luck and Manning are one-in-a-generation players and the Colts got them both. Maybe lightning does strike twice in the same spot.