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The yin and the yang: Manning vs. Luck

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By ANDREW MORRIS
College Contributor Network

What is 18 minus 12? It may be closer to zero than six, especially in an NFL style of arithmetic.

Almost everyone has picked up on the Indianapolis quarterbacking witchcraft story by now. Peyton Manning, the guy who literally made the Indianapolis Colts what they are today, takes a tough hit and ends up sitting out a full year to recover. Indy tanks it in the 2011 season, racking up two wins. Oddly enough, one of the campers in the Manning Passing Academy, Andrew Luck, declares for the NFL draft and the Colts draft him first overall. Only some slight patchwork required, and it was back to a bright future in Indy.

Has the blueprint sent from the stars worked out for the Colts? Rhetorical question. Andrew Luck has thrown for 12,501 yards as of now. That is over seven miles of throwing. Think about the Colts starting at one city's town hall and tossing the ball down the street until the next city's. Now what did Manning throw for in his first three years? 12,287 yards.

The Colts really don't even care that one is better than the other because those numbers alone are ungodly. Compare Manning's stats in his first three years -- 60.7% completion rate and 85 TD's -- to those of Luck -- 58.5% and 82 TD's.

On paper, most people couldn't differentiate between the two guys if there wasn't a name next to it. On film, these players are from different species.

Manning has always been known for his pinpoint accuracy and leadership. His career will be remembered by the amount of work he put into the mental and strategic side of football. He changed the quarterback position in that regard.

Luck came in with the same level of football IQ, the same drive, and he brought a heck of a lot more physically with his 6-foot-4, 240 pound frame and 4.6 seconds 40-yard dash time. That extra threat puts a lot more to the table for a defense to prepare against than Manning.

What's scary is that this isn't just a three-year freak occurrence. Both quarterbacks have seen a drop in their turnovers -– from 18 to 9 and then 13 for Luck, and from 28 to 15 and then 15 for Manning.

Let's not forget that Mr. Luck has the added pressure, and it's a sizeable one, of following in Manning's footsteps. Luck has always been a star athlete on a better team just given the weapons that he has -– something Manning did not. This next period of his career, years four and five, is when Manning really started to cement himself as arguably the best quarterback to ever strap 'em up.

Obviously, it would be a bit ridiculous for Colts fans or football fans to expect Luck to create a career resume that matches No. 18's, but who knows, No. 12 is already widely seen as a top-five quarterback in the league. Maybe the football gods decided to give Indianapolis, of all places, two of the greatest QB's back-to-back.


Andrew Morris is a sophomore at Syracuse University. People refer to him in the third person and he has an everlasting love for Orange, Major League Baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, and Indianapolis Colts. Follow him on Twitter: @Andrewmo123
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