ESPN recently polled over 320 NFL players (10 per team) about various things, and one of them was the question, "if you could start your team with one player, who would it be?"
First among players was Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who got 62 votes (or 19%). Second was Colts quarterback Andrew Luck with 56 votes. That places Luck ahead of players like Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, too.
ESPN's Colts beat reporter, Mike Wells, wrote of Luck ranking second in the voting:
"I'm not surprised that so many players selected Luck. He simply knows how to win, he goes about his business the right way and he'll be leading the Colts for at least the next decade. Punter Pat McAfee once told me that other cities have more to offer when it comes to nightlife or beaches, but if a free agent wants to win he'll come to Indianapolis because of Luck.
McAfee is right."
I'm not surprised either. But I wouldn't agree with it completely. Realize that I'm one of the biggest Peyton Manning fans you will find, but I would take Andrew Luck over Peyton Manning if I were starting a team right now. Why? Because I'd want my team to still be competitive in 2020. By that time, Manning - in my opinion the greatest player in NFL history - will be sitting on his couch watching football while Luck will hopefully be one of the best players in the NFL still.
I understand why the players choose Manning. They all have a "win now" mentality, and that's good. They would take the quarterback that gives them the best chance to win now, because everybody in the NFL knows that it could end at any moment. From a players' standpoint, the selection makes sense. But from my perspective, I'd take the 24-year old Luck over the 37-year old Manning if I were starting a team.
Either way, for Luck to be ranked second by his peers is a tremendous recognition in itself.
Who would you take if you had to pick one player to start a team with?