Former Colt Jeff Saturday compares Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning
Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning of course will be forever linked given how their shared histories with the Indianapolis Colts are inseparably bound together.
And one former Colt believes the two quarterbacks share remarkable similarities above and beyond how the ultimate decision to draft Luck with the first overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft led to the end of Manning’s storied tenure with the team one month earlier.
Jeff Saturday, who spent 13 seasons with the Colts and played an NFL-record 170 games with Manning as his center, recently discussed Luck’s potential and how the 26-year-old possesses a lot of the qualities that ultimately made Manning among the greatest quarterbacks of all-time.
Saturday used how both Manning and Luck signed record-breaking contracts at a relatively young age as a starting-off point to make his comparisons.
“Here’s the thing I think about with both those guys and that I appreciate so much about them: They both put that pressure on themselves before those [contract] numbers ever came into play,” Saturday said, via ESPN’s Mike Wells. “If you ask the equipment guys or the training staff or ask the coaching staff, anybody who has been around Luck or been around Peyton and they’ll tell you those guys are grinders. They love the game of football; they spend all the time necessary to get better.”
Manning’s seven-year, $99.2 million contract, signed in 2004, included a then-record $34.5 million signing bonus. Luck signed the largest contract in NFL history last month when he agreed to a six-year, $140 million deal. So both quarterbacks were placed under enormous pressure to perform in light of the historic contracts.
Saturday believes Luck will prove to be as capable as Manning in handling such a situation and reiterated that the pressure the two place upon themselves exceeds any external expectations.
“I think both of those guys felt they were or going to do their very best to win a championship respective of their pay,” he said.
Despite last season’s injury-plagued campaign that saw Luck miss nine games — not to mention how much he struggled mightily before sitting — Saturday nevertheless sees a quarterback primed for great success in 2016 and beyond. After all, statistically speaking, Luck has outplayed Manning through the first 55 games of their respective careers (chart here).
“Listen, I think Andrew Luck is one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL,” Saturday said.