Tony Dungy won a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. While Dungy has moved on from coaching and took a job with NBC Sports as an analyst, is he now advising his former team to also consider parting ways with their best player in franchise history?
Manning has not played one down this season in Indianapolis following three neck surgeries in less than a year and a half. It is expected that he will not suit up at all this season, as it makes no sense to bring him back early with a team who may not be able to boast about any wins before he takes the field again. But he still signed a five year deal with the Colts prior to the 2011 NFL season, and he is expected to make a full recovery in time for the 2012 season.
So why did Dungy tell his former team to consider trading away their franchise quarterback and team leader for the past 13 seasons?
The Colts are battling it out with a handful of other really bad teams, including the Miami Dolphins, St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings in the ‘Suck for Luck’ campaign. For those who have been living under a rock, Andrew Luck is the quarterback for the Stanford Cardinal, the unquestioned best player in college football, and the undisputed top pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, regardless of whether or not the team who winds up with the top pick is in need of a new signal caller.
But could the Colts really consider drafting Luck and also trading away Manning? I could see the former, but not the latter taking place.
I understand where Dungy is coming from in one aspect. He likened it to when he was a coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1983. Their quarterback – Terry Bradshaw – was reaching the end of an illustrious career which brought Steel City four Super Bowls. But having Bradshaw still as their quarterback, the Steelers passed on a quarterback in the 1983 NFL Draft, in which there were a plethora of talented future quarterbacks, including local hero, Dan Marino.
The team spent the next two decades looking for a new franchise quarterback, and did not settle on one until Ben Roethlisberger.
My sincere apologies to all of you Neil O’Donnell fans.
With that being said, I could see the Colts drafting and holding on to Luck if they do indeed end up with the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. But I could not see the team trading Manning so that Luck could lead the team in his rookie season, although they did let Manning do exactly that in his first year.
Dungy said that Manning would handle Indy’s drafting of Luck well, because he would “know it’s coming.” But that dos not mean they would need to trade Manning either.
But Dungy said the team should not rule it out completely.
“I would see him competing and playing as long as he wanted,” Dungy said. “If it gets to the point to where, hey, he comes back and it looks like he’s gonna play three or four more years, and you say … we’ve got Andrew Luck, we’ve got an asset — we trade him.”
I cannot see that going over all that well with the people in Indianapolis, regardless of how high everyone feels about Luck at the next level.
Then again, if the San Francisco 49ers could trade Joe Montana…