As the “Suck for Luck” campaign moves from simmer toward full boil, there’s a caveat. If sucking for Luck creates the impression that the franchise sucks too badly, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck could make an Eli Manning-style power play.
Albert Breer of NFL.com reports that some in league circles are concerned that Luck and his father, WVU athletics director Oliver Luck (who once was the 44th overall pick in the draft), could make it known that Andrew doesn’t want to play, or simply won’t play, for the team that holds the top pick in the draft, in the hopes of forcing a trade.
“Absolutely. I’ve heard that for the last two years,” an unnamed scout told Breer. “There’s no question that it could be a Manning thing all over again.”
The “Manning thing” refers to the 2004 draft. Archie Manning, former NFL quarterback, made it clear that Eli didn’t want to play for the Chargers, who held the first pick in the draft. So the Chargers took Eli and then traded him to the Giants, who had taken Philip Rivers with the fourth overall pick. (As legend has it, Archie took the heat for the move, even though it was Eli who desperately didn’t want to play for the Chargers.)
Forcing a trade represents the far more realistic alternative to Andrew Luck simply choosing to stay in school another year in order to avoid playing for an organization that he and his father deem to be dysfunctional. Indeed, there’s no guarantee that, if Andrew Luck spends one more season at Stanford, the franchise with the first pick in 2013 will be as bad or worse than the franchise that emerges with the first pick in 2012.
This means that, once a team secures the first overall pick, communications will commence with the Lucks to find out whether Andrew is lukewarm about playing for that franchise — and whether anything can be done to make the team more attractive, such as hiring a certain coach. As Breer points out, the situation gives Luck plenty of power as his pro career commences.
Of course, the ultimate irony would arise if the Broncos lose to the Dolphins on Sunday, if the Broncos ultimately “earn” the top pick, and if the best Stanford quarterback since John Elway does to the team Elway currently runs that which Elway did 28 years ago, forcing a trade just like Elway did.