Did Andrew Luck pick the worst time to leave the Colts for retirement?
The Indianapolis Colts being 8-4 just one season after losing their franchise quarterback to an abrupt retirement in the prime of his career is a huge testament to GM Chris Ballard’s evaluation of talent and ability to construct a roster.
In a vacuum, fans would be hard-pressed to dismiss the notion that Indianapolis — assuming they get the QB situation sorted out in the offseason — has as promising of a future as any team in the NFL not named the Chiefs, who are levels above the rest of the pack for obvious reasons.
With that in mind, it’s not outlandish to question whether Andrew Luck picked the worst possible time to walk away from the game. In fact, wideout TY Hilton revealing that he spoke to the former Colts QB recently just makes us wonder what could have been.
Before you question our sensitivity and understanding of Luck’s rationale behind retiring, allow us proclaim that we couldn’t be more happy for him that he’s enjoying life outside of football, which physically (and mentally) drained him to the point where he no longer possessed an urgency to compete for a championship.
With that out of the way, just think about what the narrative would be surrounding the Colts if Luck — one of the best quarterbacks of his generation — was leading the charge. Objectively speaking, they’d go from being an afterthought in the AFC playoff picture to perhaps the biggest threat to supplant Kansas City as conference champions.
We get injuries took their toll on Luck, and Indianapolis’ front office did him zero favors in terms of building a serviceable offensive line. But it’s worth noting that Philip Rivers has been sacked the least of any quarterback in the league. For as much as the offensive line struggles (at times) in the running game, they are virtually impenetrable on passing downs.
On top of that, with the Colts’ defense morphing into a world-beater this season, the pressure on Luck to score on every drive would no longer be relevant. Granted, had he played last year, it’s very possible Indy might not have been able to trade the No. 13 overall pick for DeForest Buckner.
However, something tells us that Ballard would’ve stopped at nothing to poach him from San Francisco. We know this is a massive hypothetical. It’s just ironic (and slightly maddening) to think that the Colts are seemingly on the precipice of becoming annual championship contenders and their most glaring hole is at the quarterback position.
Luck retiring just as the franchise established front office stability and found a competent head coach in Frank Reich is the epitome of bad timing, but we had no idea the Colts’ situation was going to turn around as quickly as it did.