No NFL team has ever had the rug pulled out from under it the way the Colts have tonight, when news broke that franchise quarterback Andrew Luck is retiring, less than two weeks before the start of the season.
Teams have lost their starting quarterbacks before. But to lose a 29-year-old franchise quarterback who was considered the greatest prospect of his generation, and still had three years remaining on a five-year, $123 million contract that made him the highest-paid player in football at the time he signed it, is unprecedented.
Now the Colts will turn to Jacoby Brissett, just as they did in 2017, when Luck missed the season with a shoulder injury.
The good news is Brissett should be a lot more prepared now than he was then. When Brissett took the field in Week One of 2017, he had just been traded to Indianapolis from New England a week earlier. Given those circumstances, Brissett played reasonably well.
How well can he play this year, with much more time in the Colts’ offense, and a better feel for what’s expected of him? The answer to that question may determine what kind of season the Colts have. They believed they were playoff contenders this year, but they also believed Luck would be their starting quarterback.
The Colts have said repeatedly that they consider Brissett the best backup quarterback in the NFL. Now we’ll see how good a starting quarterback he is, as he’s thrust into the spotlight while Luck walks away.