QJ Sports: Manning vs. Luck

For 13 years, quarterback Peyton Manning was the face of the Indianapolis Colts, winning four MVP awards and a Super Bowl in 2006.

But following a neck injury and a series of surgeries that forced Manning out of the entire 2011 season, the Colts made the tough decision to release him, feeling that they had to move on past an aging, potentially injured quarterback. Manning signed with the Denver Broncos, amid much questioning if he’d return to form.

Holding the first overall pick of the 2012 NFL draft, the Colts knew they were taking a gamble when they went for Stanford QB Andrew Luck.

Luck’s performances as the Colts’ quarterback have been admirable, including a 28-point comeback he led over the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2014 NFL playoffs. Now in his third season, Luck has been everything the Colts could have hoped for in a replacement for their franchise quarterback, having twice been a league all-star in his first two years.

Manning, meanwhile, has arguably been better than he’s ever been in Denver. He won his fifth MVP award and set single-season league records in both passing yards and touchdowns last year while leading the Broncos to a Super Bowl berth ― their first since 1999.

Earlier this season, Manning tossed his 509th touchdown pass, passing Brett Favre for the most in NFL history.

At the age of 38, however, Peyton can’t play forever. Most people assume he’ll play for another two or three more seasons before retiring, but as long as he’s at the top of his game, it’s anybody’s guess as to how long Manning will stay around.

This year, both QBs have been among the league’s very best. Both quarterbacks have tossed 22 touchdown passes through just eight weeks this season, though Manning has played one fewer game due to Denver’s bye week.

Both have been in consideration for the MVP award this year, which would be quite the interesting story if they end up 1-2 in voting.

So who won this whole ordeal? It’s a rarity in pro sports, but amazingly, both teams have come out on top. Manning has satisfied a need at quarterback for the Broncos, who are looking to win now, while the Colts have found stability for their long-term future.

It’s hard to say that anyone’s really been unsuccessful in this endeavour, with both sides ending up with their own new face of the franchise.

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