NFL: If You’re Against Andrew Luck then “Shame on You”

Over the weekend there was a dropping of a nuclear bomb on the sports world when Indianapolis Colts quarterback, Andrew Luck revealed he was retiring from football. That in itself was shocking. However, something perhaps even more shocking was the chorus of boos in Lucas Oil Stadium as Luck left the field. Along with the scolding of his decision by media personalities. In what was truly a disgusting display by the people in attendance there’s only one thing to say to them and that’s “Shame on you”.

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Since he came into the league Andrew Luck has been a fan favorite. Drafted with the #1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Luck had the arduous task of following the legacy of Peyton Manning. However, if there was anyone that could’ve done it, it was Luck. The 6’4 quarterback was one of the most hyped athletes coming out of college in any sport. NFL scouts were comparing him to Hall of Famers before he even took a snap in the league.

Luck hit the ground running when he came into the league. He made the Pro-Bowl in his first 3 seasons. 2014 was his first truly dominant year. A year in which he threw for over 4700 yards, slung 40 touchdowns and had a QB rating of 96.5. That same season he also provided one of the greatest moments in playoff history when he led the Colts to a comeback win against the Kansas City Chiefs in the Wildcard round. A game in which the Colts trailed by as many as 28 points in the 3rd quarter. Luck would have an injury-shortened season in 2015 and miss the entire 2017 season due to injury. Last season however Luck bounced back and looked true to form putting up another strong season throwing for 4593 yards and 39 touchdowns.

As great as Luck’s career was the one thing that was holding him back and ultimately put an end to his career was injuries. If you look back at all the injuries Luck faced in his rather short career you’d think he was a walking game of “Operation”. Luck sustained torn cartilage in 2 ribs, a partially torn abdomen, a lacerated kidney, a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder and at least one documented concussion. His latest injury was an ankle/calf injury that mysteriously never made progress throughout the offseason. Mind you all this is only through six seasons and he missed the entire 2017 season.

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There’s a reason why Luck’s body suffered such cruel punishment and the culprit is his offensive line. In three different seasons, Luck was the most knocked down QB (hits + sacks) in the league. Andrew was on the turf 122 times in 2012 (his rookie year), 115 times in 2013 and 115 times in 2014. Going back to the offensive line, that blame could be placed on former Colts GM Ryan Grigson.

Making sure the quarterback has protection should be the highest priority of every GM however that wasn’t the case for Grigson it seemed. Although he found a diamond in the rough players like T.Y. Hilton, Grigson only drafted three offensive linemen before round 7 from 2012-2015. In free agency, the Colts allocated much of the money to the defensive side of the ball. This left the Colts to use bargain bin talent or converted players on the offensive line. The offensive line was the cheapest area on the team in 2015. Up until then, Luck had started 51 straight games. Coincidence? I think not. Since the Colts fired Grigson after the 2016 season, new GM Chris Ballard has tried to bolster that position. Heading into this season the Colts offensive line was ranked #4 by Pro Football Focus. However, it’s a case of too little too late.

In the press conference after the Colts pre-season game Luck explained to the media his reasoning behind the decision and everything that went into it. Luck made a point to explain how this wasn’t how he wanted everything to go down. How he intended to have a formal press conference the day after the game. However, once the news broke there was no stalling the inevitable. One thing that stood out was when a reporter asked Luck about the fans booing as he ran off the field and he said “Yeah, it hurt. I’ll be honest. It hurt”.

Some of those Colts fans that were booing weren’t the only people against Andrew Luck in that situation. High profile figures in the sports world such as Doug Gottlieb and Dan Dakich didn’t seem to feel as much sympathy towards Luck as they each had some less than pleasant tweets about the retirement. They were quickly torn to shreds on Twitter by fans, current & former players as well as other media members. And rightfully so. To question another person’s decision to retire and calling them weak is egregious and in such poor taste. Not to mention disrespectful.

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At the moment Adam Schefter tweeted Luck was retiring there wasn’t much explanation as to the reason. Which makes the fans who were booing look even worse. What if Luck had found out that a doctor diagnosed him with something like cancer? Or was retiring due to family reasons? No, it didn’t occur to those fans. The only thing that they knew was their star quarterback was retiring 2 weeks before the start of the season. Thus their reactionary brains told them to boo. If there was anyone to boo it would be Ryan Grigson for not fielding a proper offensive line around Luck. Also, to a lesser extent, Jim Irsay for keeping Grigson as an employee for as long as he did. Meanwhile, defenses continued to kill Luck behind a mediocre offensive line year in and year out.

Now I don’t think the Colts fan base as a whole is a bad one. In perspective, there were probably only around 10,000 people at that game and maybe only half were booing. I still hold that the majority of the Colts fan base would hold some disappointment by Andrew Luck’s decision however understood.

This is yet another reminder that these athletes are people too. They aren’t puppets for our amusement. Yes, teams pay them millions to play a game but there’s a reason they do. The physical toll they put their bodies through every week is something unimaginable by the common fan. Fan is short for “fanatic”. And sometimes the fanatical part in sports rears its ugly head as it did this past Saturday in Indianapolis. But if you truly feel that Luck is weak for making this decision or are a fan that would still boo him then once again I say “Shame on You”.

How did you take the Andrew Luck retirement? Leave a comment below.

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