Former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck resurfaced in NFL conversations during July with the release of a six-part podcast series from staff writer Zak Keefer of The Athletic. The podcast detailed Luck’s career from college to his decision to retire before turning 30.
One of the most prominent voices featured in the series was NFL senior staff writer Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. On July 20, Kravitz continued the Luck conversation with his own column to debate whether the quarterback belongs in the Colts Ring of Honor.
Kravitz concluded Luck didn’t deserve to be honored because he didn’t play long enough.
“The reason is longevity or lack thereof,” wrote Kravitz.
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Luck Lacks Longevity for Colts Ring of Honor?
Kravitz called his take on Luck’s candidacy for the Colts Ring of Honor “mildly controversial,” so he’s anticipating fans arguing for the quarterback to be honored one day.
But Kravitz also identified other reasons fans will agree with him. Luck received heavy criticism for retiring just 15 days before the start of the 2019 regular season. That remained on the minds of some fans thinking about whether he should have his names in the rafters next to Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and the other Colts legends.
Luck could also conceivably be kept out of the Colts Ring of Honor because of the role he played in his early retirement. As Keefer explored so well in his six-part podcast, Luck’s inability/unwillingness to avoid major hits added unnecessary wear on his body that directly led to his injuries and pain.
Kravitz agreed with Keefer’s assessment, partially blaming Luck for his early retirement. He called Luck’s retirement timing “terrible” and mentioned a snowboarding accident the quarterback should have received more criticism for being involved in years ago.
But none of those were Kravitz’s reasons to keep Luck out of the Colts Ring of Honor. The senior writer simply argued Luck didn’t play long enough.
“He produced three magical seasons, putting a rebuilt team on his shoulders. He willed the Colts to three 11-5 seasons and three playoff victories, plus an AFC Championship Game appearance against New England that this city would just as soon forget altogether,” Kravitz wrote. “He was on his way, doing things Manning never did that early in his career, a sure-fire generational player with a blindingly bright future.
“Then he played seven pain-riddled games in his fourth year, 2015. He gutted his way again through injuries, played 15 decent — but not Luck-quality — games in 2016. He missed all of the 2017 season, then earned Comeback Player of the Year honors with a tremendous season under Frank Reich in 2018.
“But that’s it. Six years.”
A New Standard for Colts Ring of Honor
Six seasons doesn’t seem very long, but compared to other members in the Colts Ring of Honor, it’s actually a substantial amount of time. Eric Dickerson, Marshall Faulk, and Jim Harbaugh all played five years or fewer for Indianapolis and are in the team’s Ring of Honor.
But Kravitz argued there’s a new standard for the Colts Ring of Honor since Peyton Manning arrived with the organization.
“We’re no longer grading on a curve around here, not after the Colts became the winningest franchise in the league during the Peyton-led 2000s,” Kravitz wrote. “And let’s be honest, until players from the Colts’ great teams in the 2000s started earning their well-deserved places in the Ring in recent years — left offensive tackle Tarik Glenn goes in this coming season, and it’s about damned time — the franchise’s Ring of Honor was a bit of a joke.
“This was a franchise that was so bad and so desperate to create its new history in Indianapolis, it jumped the gun and celebrated just about anybody who had a 317 area code and two opposable thumbs.”
Whether Luck ever receives a spot in the Colts Ring of Honor could depend largely on how many great players continue to play for the franchise. After Glenn, Kravitz proposed Adam Vinatieri and T.Y. Hilton will be next. If they continue on their current elite paths, Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson and Jonathan Taylor may be in the Colts Ring of Honor one day too.
Luck will have to wait his turn if he’s ever going to get in.