NFL, Week One: Andrew Luck Can't Escape 'The Narrative' - Rolling Stone
Home Culture Sports

Can Andrew Luck Escape The NFL Narrative?

Deep thoughts and quick slants from Week 1 in the National Football League

Andrew Luck drops back to pass against the Denver BroncosAndrew Luck drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos

Andrew Luck drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos on September 7th, 2014 in Denver, CO.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Before the 2012 NFL Draft, my thoughts on Andrew Luck as a prospect were wholly unoriginal and largely in line with the experts who said he was among the best quarterbacks to enter the league in a quarter century. If I had a minor quibble, it’s that I preferred Robert Griffin III slightly, and would have selected RGIII if I were picking first, though it’s not as if I didn’t also think that Luck was going to be great.

And my thoughts about Russell Wilson – the 75th overall pick that has made two Pro Bowls, won a Super Bowl and tied or broken many passing records for quarterbacks of his experience – were that he was too short to succeed in the NFL. Also wholly unoriginal.

But thoughts, just like people, are allowed to change. I now believe that Wilson’s height is more of a psychological advantage than it is a physiological disadvantage. I believe that Griffin’s superior athleticism, perhaps greater than any other quarterback that had ever come before him, could also be his downfall if he doesn’t learn how to control it. And I think that Luck – actually, my feelings on him haven’t changed at all.

He still has the potential to be a once-in-a-generation QB. But at the moment, he’s just not nearly as great as people insist he is. He’s not yet living up to “The Narrative.”

There are groups of people out there that are turning Andrew Luck into a villain. These people are known as “Andrew Luck’s fans.” It has nothing to do with him being evil – or even unlikeable, really. In fact, I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about Luck. During an NFL week where publicity for one player in particular is about as bad as it gets, we should champion the stars that set a good example. People like Luck.

Instead, it has everything to do with their willful belief that Luck is the heir apparent, the second coming…despite any real evidence to support those thoughts. In that regard, Luck’s really not much different than “The Narrative” that came before him: Tim Tebow.

Tebow also appeared to be a good person. In a league where more than a handful of star players have committed offenses that would warrant a lifetime banishment, Tebow simply wanted to play football and win. And if he didn’t have a small-but-vocal group of fervent supporters, led famously by Skip Bayless, then the rest of America would’ve let him. There would be as much support for Tebow in the NFL as there is for Collin Klein or Terrelle Pryor.

But “Team Tebow” kept right on shouting about his superiority, despite mounting evidence to the contrary. Eventually, his lack of accuracy and poor mechanics tipped the argument, and now, Tebow spends his Sundays prepping for next weekend’s slate of games on the SEC Network.

His supporters still claim Tebow was unfairly criticized, but really, that’s their own fault. It’s the unsustainability of the unsupported narrative they created.

Now, the main difference between Luck and Tebow is that Luck really is a quality NFL quarterback. He’s shown physical and mental ability that suggest he could become top-five at his position if he improves in the areas that he needs to improve upon.

But on Sunday night against Denver, Luck threw a first quarter interception that led to a Broncos touchdown, a fourth quarter interception and turned the ball over on downs as the clock ran past two minutes, killing both Indy’s chances and “The Narrative” itself.

It’s often been pointed out that Luck’s late-game heroics are a major reason for why he’s joined the ranks of the “first tier” of quarterbacks through two-plus seasons. In the fourth quarter and overtime of his short career, Luck is completing 57 percent of his passes for 7.2 yards per attempt, 15 touchdowns, 10 interceptions and a passer rating of 82.5.

Or, roughly the same stats he puts up over the rest of the game. And the shield falls apart like a thinly-veiled narrative.

Five Quick Q’s:

Is Philip Rivers the fifth-best QB?
He wasn’t on Monday night. The Chargers quarterback who posted top five numbers across the board a year ago finished with a mediocre 6.6 Y/A and 75.9 passer rating in San Diego’s 18-17 loss at Arizona. Perhaps most damning of all was Rivers inability to drive the Chargers within field goal range as they were down just a single point with more than two minutes to play. Is Rivers overrated? The other explanation, and entirely plausible, is that the Cardinals have the second best pass defense in the NFL.

Is Johnny Manziel starting yet?
No, but the Browns are one loss closer to realizing this inevitable and fast-approaching future.

Has Richard Sherman been targeted yet?
Not at all, and that’s a big part of the reason why the Seahawks continue to field one of the best pass defenses in league history. And it’s not as if that unit hasn’t been tested.

Over the Seahawks last four games, they faced Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Colin Kaepernick and Drew Brees. Their combined numbers: 95-of-149 passing, 931 yards, 6.24 Y/A, four touchdowns, five interceptions, five fumbles, two fumbles lost and two safeties. Seattle has gone 11 straight games without allowing two touchdown passes to a quarterback, and they have faced as tough a slate of QBs as you could ask for. None of them are asking to face the Seahawks.

Have the Rams won yet?
Not even close. The Shaun Hill experiment may be over before it ever really begun, as the journeyman QB suffered an injury midway through Minnesota’s 34-6 thrashing of St. Louis, and watched the second half from the bench. Hey, it’s never too early to start angling for the first pick in next year’s NFL Draft.

Is Jason Garrett fired yet?
Not quite, but he could get there soon enough. Consider that Garrett is now in his fifth year with the Cowboys and has not made the playoffs or posted a winning record over a full season. Consider that he’s coached more games for Dallas than Wade Phillips and Chan Gailey, both of whom went to the playoffs twice in their short stints. Consider that the Cowboys turned it over four times in Week 1 against the 49ers and look ill-prepared to handle the rest of the NFC. Maybe it’s time for Jerry Jones to reconsider his head coach.

In This Article: NFL, sports


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.