"Suck For Luck" Makes Sense
In a hostile L.A. Coliseum, Luck weathered the deafening crowd and after a seemingly critical error – a pick six to sophomore Trojan cornerback Nickell Robey – bounced back admirably to bring Stanford back.
All 93,607 attendees in the sold-out Coliseum were witnesses to Luck’s ever-evolving ascension to greatness before he makes his leap to the NFL. Each person sampled what Luck will be doing on Sundays for years to come.
Critics and scouts have heralded Luck the “surest thing” at quarterback since Peyton Manning entered the 1998 draft and possibly the greatest prospect since former Cardinal signal caller John Elway left Stanford in 1983.
As such, Luck has been the impetus for overwhelmingly loud chatter in the NFL amongst fans and writers alike: should an NFL franchise tank their season to have the right to draft Luck?
Inherently, the question is absurd. No team in the NFL, one of the world’s most physically demanding leagues featuring players without guaranteed contracts, would oblige to purposely lose. It goes against everything players stand for.
While the players will always try to win, fans of the cellar-dwelling franchises without a stable quarterback may want their team to lose out so they can draft Luck.
Fans are smarter now, more aware, about the game. There is nothing wrong with them rooting for their team to land premiere quarterback, especially if his name is Luck, in the 2012 NFL Draft.
More than ever, the NFL is a quarterback driven league. With countless rule changes to aid passing offenses and to protect quarterbacks, a team’s successes and failures hinge on the QB.
Football is a team game with 11 men on each side of the ball; it’s hard to say that one player or position is valued more than any other.
But the quarterback is.
Of the 12 teams currently in playoff position, 10 have a Pro-Bowl-caliber quarterback. The sole teams that do not, Cincinnati and San Francisco, are thriving from elite play at other dimensions of the team.
The days are gone where a team can hedge its bets with a great run game and amazing defense, and throw Trent Dilfer or Doug Williams to take snaps. A championship team will encounter moments where its quarterback must make throws.
The Steelers would not have won Super Bowl XLIII without Ben Roethlisberger making amazing plays during the last two and a half minutes. The Broncos would not have won 1987 AFC Championship Game without “The Drive,” Elway’s legendary 98-yard march to tie the game and send it to overtime, where Denver prevailed.
And having a great quarterback is even more essential now than it was in 1987.
When a team hits on a star quarterback, it propels, sparks the franchise. The largest weight of a team is off its proverbial shoulders after the most important of positions is resolved.
Sure, Indianapolis didn’t have a proper contingency plan for a Manning injury. But the transcending years he provided for the Colts should not be forgotten so easily.
The Green Bay Packers are the best-case scenario of what can be done to line up a successor. Green Bay drafted Aaron Rodgers near the end of the first round to sit behind future Hall of Famer Brett Favre, until Favre finally retired. The Packers only endured one down year with Rodgers; now the Pack is NFL elite with the best in-form quarterback.
Yes, the possibility always exists something catastrophic could happen to Luck. But no matter what, if a team believes a player can be a franchise quarterback, it has to take him ASAP. That’s why Carolina selected Cam Newton first overall in the last draft, however surprising or irrational it seemed.
Fifteen of the last 25 first overall selections have been quarterbacks, including nine of the last 11.
Fans just want their team to win. But if a team is doing so poorly that it has no hope of succeeding in its current season, hedonistic rooting is fruitless. The team has better long-term, sustainable success if they bottom out and select an elite quarterbacking prospect.
So, Miami, Denver, Arizona and Indianapolis supporters, here is a parting wish upon your franchise: best of Luck this season.
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