On August 24, 2019, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck surprised the sports world by announcing his retirement just after their third preseason game and a couple of weeks before his 30th birthday. After Luck lead the Colts to the AFC Championship Game in 2014, the team missed the playoffs for three straight seasons due to Luck’s seemingly endless cycle of injuries and rehab. Football is a brutal sport and the quarterback is going to get sacked and possibly hurt, but how Luck played with that offensive line is well, offensive.
In my opinion, the offensive line is the most important position in football. A good offensive line will help give the backfield time and space to perform comfortably and efficiently, even if it’s a few more seconds. If a team has a bad O-line, they are going to have a bad running back and quarterback because they will have no time to react. Imagine snapping the ball and seeing almost a ton of muscle mowing over your protection, you either throw the ball away or take the punishment from the muscle wall. Imagine doing that over 100 times. According to NFL.com, from 2015 to 2017, the Colts’ offensive line was ranked 17th, 28th, and 28th. In addition, they allowed many sacks in that same stretch with 37, 44, and 44. In 2018, the Colts’ front office finally realized that offensive lines exist and the 10-6 team made a hot run to the playoffs after a dismal 1-5 start. Despite losing to the equally-hot Chiefs in the Divisional Round, the Colts were thinking Super Bowl for the upcoming season, and here we are.
One other example of a great quarterback hampered by a poor offensive line is Tony Romo in the early-2010s. Say what you will about Romo, that man took a lot of punishment by carrying the Cowboys into contention until the end of the season, scrambling for his life, made a game-winning TD with a herniated disk, while holding the franchise record for passing yards, touchdowns, and game-winning drives. Those 8-8 records were not solely his fault. Speaking of Cowboys, their 90s dynasty is largely credited to having arguably the greatest O-line of all time.
The Colts’ O-line should not be solely blamed even though they did not help things. The Colts’ front office did not prioritize Luck’s protection until it was too late. My thoughts on the team’s front office issues will be for another time.
Andrew Luck was the first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft and ends his six-year career with 23,671 passing yards, 171 touchdowns, and a 53-33 win-loss record. Jacoby Brisset will be the primary starter for the Colts this season. This season will be the first time since 1997 that a first overall QB pick is not on the Colts’ roster.
Photo Credits: IndyStar
Javier Jimenez is the Assistant Sports Director at The WOLF Internet Radio