Like Giants quarterback Eli Manning, the first pick in the 2004 draft, Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck has a father who played pro football. Though Oliver Luck, former West Virginia quarterback and current Athletics Director in Morgantown, didn’t enjoy the same success as Archie Manning, the elder Luck spent half a decade as an NFL quarterback.
In a Thursday interview with SiriusXM Mad Dog Radio, Oliver Luck addressed the concept of teams intentionally losing to land the rights to his son, a practice that has become known as “Suck for Luck.”
“I think it’s just stupid,” Oliver Luck said, firing off the last word with a strong hint of contempt in his voice. “You know, I played for five years in the NFL, and I never have seen a player take a play off, because these guys are playing for their livelihoods. And the coaches are coaching for their livelihood. And I absolutely think it’s stupid that fans would believe a team intentionally lose a game.”
But as the 2011 season unfolds, it’s becoming apparent that any sucking for Luck won’t be overt. Teams that are playing badly will stay the course, with the Dolphins sticking with quarterback Matt Moore and coach Tony Sparano, and the Colts keeping quarterback Curtis Painter and coach Jim Caldwell.
The players never have to know that any affirmative effort to not win games is occurring. The coaches don’t have to know, either. Instead, if ownership and the front office choose to do nothing to reverse the fortunes of a very bad team, the team presumably will remain (you guessed it) very bad.
With Colts owner Jim Irsay already talking about drafting Andrew Luck and with the organization knowing very well what it’s like to have a franchise quarterback and, as they learned pre-1998 and in 2011, to not have a franchise quarterback, it’s hardly stupid to think that Irsay and Bill Polian have decided that nothing will be done to try to shake up the roster or the coaching staff in the hopes of winning a few games.
That’s how the slide to the bottom is going to happen. The folks who ultimately run the teams that are sliding will get out of the way, quietly rooting for the season to come to rest at a spot that delivers the first pick in the draft.
That’s anything but stupid. Given that a guy like Andrew Luck will make a team competitive for a decade or longer, it’s brilliant.