He’s won 68.2 percent of his 22 career starts (15-7) after stepping under center for a team that finished 2-14 in 2011.
As much as Manning is talked about as Luck’s predecessor, he chronologically replaced Dan Orlovsky as the Colts’ starting quarterback. And that timeline is enlightening.
Orlovsky, now a backup in Tampa Bay, was the third quarterback used by Indianapolis during the disastrous 2011 campaign. He replaced Curtis Painter, who now backs up Eli Manning with the New York Giants. And Painter, in turn, replaced veteran Kerry Collins — who was concussed in his third start with the Colts and retired following the season.
Think about that for a moment.
Three quarterbacks — including Collins, who started in a Super Bowl for the Giants — playing with the same coaching staff and many of the same teammates who helped Manning win a division title the year before, collapsed under the pressure of playing in the four-time MVP’s shadow.
Luck, in his rookie season with a brand-new coaching staff and a heavily remodeled roster, won 11 games a year later and led the Colts back to the playoffs.
Replacing a legend is never easy, but Indianapolis head coach Chuck Pagano said Luck is uniquely wired to confront the challenge.
“If he sat there and dwelled on all that (Manning’s legacy), he wouldn’t be able to focus on the task at hand,” Pagano said. “And that was be the best quarterback that he could be.”
Luck’s off to a 4-2 start again this season. He already has victories in his young career against Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers, San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick and Seattle’s Russell Wilson. But he lost his lone showdown with Manning’s closest peer — New England’s Tom Brady — and he’s well aware of the immediate challenge ahead.