Andrew Luck: League’s Leading Passer


When the Colts drafted QB Andrew Luck with the 1st overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, most NFL observers knew he’d be good, the type of franchise signal-caller that you dream about as a team executive. What they probably didn’t know, is that he’d be this good, this fast. 

Consider that QB Andrew Andrew is the league’s leading passer in the majority of the NFL’s significant statistical passing categories:

All at the ripe old age of 25. Listen, Luck’s strongest supporters thought he’d be great in time, but this? We heard comparisons to other high NFL quarterback picks like QB Peyton Manning (#1 in 1998), John Elway (#1 in 1983), Matt Ryan (#3 in 2008), and Matt Stafford (#1 in 2009), but QB Andrew Luck is Andrew Luck. Perhaps, exceeding his already high expectations and raising the bar even further than those esteemed quarterbacks had previously set before him.

While it’s true that Luck’s numbers could be inflated a tad because of the sheer volume of passing attempts, his 260 throws lead the league, with the next closest Quarterback, Nick Foles, coming in at 237. The advanced statistics provided by ProFootballFocus (PFF) rate Luck as the 4th best quarterback overall in the NFL, the youngest quarterback in their Top 10 overall. Sorry Russell Wilson, who comes in at 24th.

“The advanced statistics provided by ProFootballFocus (PFF) rate Luck as the 4th best QB overall in the NFL, the youngest QB in their Top 10 overall. Sorry Russell Wilson, who comes in at 24th.”

Of course, there’s one comparison Luck will likely never be able to fully escape, the legendary quarterback he effectively replaced, Peyton Manning. While Luck will eventually leave a lasting legacy of his own, he’ll likely have to deal with the Manning comparisons for still a couple of more years. That should be just fine with Luck, who up to this point has handled the comparisons with poise and the utmost class. He’s given Manning all the reverence in his being, while consistently performing at a high level.

Still, for purely fun’s sake, we take a look at how the 2 quarterbacks compare in their 1st 2+ seasons with the Colts:

Luck clearly has the edge in passing yards, with 10,183 compared to 9,756, and has only 1 less touchdown with 16 less interceptions than his predecessor.

To be fair; however, the league was a lot different back then when Manning was just starting out, as it was much more of a running league. Defensive backs were allowed to be a lot more physical with receivers, as defensive penalties are now much more strictly enforced. As far as winning percentage goes, the talent level of Manning’s roster starting out wasn’t as good as Luck’s is currently, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Manning had a rough rookie season in some areas in 1998, throwing a league leading 28 interceptions and his team finishing 3-13 on the season. If you account for that, the comparison likely gets a bit closer in their 1st 2+ seasons.

Regardless, there’s no disputing Manning is one of the all-time greats. He’s had a great career and is one of the league’s all-time leading passers. If Luck has his way, he will be too.