If you’ve moseyed over to ESPN’s website today, you’ve noticed that they are doing a poll for the best QB ever on each NFL team.
While they’re doing that poll, I wanted to bring it here to you all, since we all probably have a little more knowledge about the Colts QBs than the general public.
ESPN had already narrowed the list down to the Colts Top 5 QBs for the fans to vote on. This worked out well, because those five were the first five I thought of. That being said, I’m going to give you all a sixth option, and you’ll see why in a second.
But here are the “candidates” for the best QB in franchise history.
It’s no secret that we drink the Peyton Manning kool-aid here at Stampede Blue, and rightfully so. Manning is one of the greatest QBs of all-time. He led the Colts to two Super Bowls (one win), multiple division titles and playoff appearances, and led the NFL in almost every statistical category at some point or another.
An entire generation of Colts fans grew up watching Manning play quarterback for the Colts. And that’s, frankly, a huge advantage Manning has in these types of polls. Almost everyone has seen him play. But regardless of that, Manning did change the game of football, and changed the direction of the Colts franchise.
One of the pioneers of modern quarterbacking. Unitas was the centerpiece of a Colts team that won two NFL titles and appeared in two Super Bowls, winning one. Unitas was also a three time league MVP and is a Hall of Famer.
In a time when the league was much more physical and dominated by the running game, Unitas revolutionized the passing attack. He also made the two-minute drill a famous (and feared) part of the Colts offense, something which has been a trait in other great Colts QBs as well.
I debate a little bit about if Luck truly belongs on this list as of right now. Currently, ESPN’s polling has him third best in franchise history. It definitely isn’t a secret that Luck has been excellent, with a sub-par team, his first few years in the league. When healthy, Luck has been at or near the top of the league in nearly every statistical category (including turnovers).
Much like Unitas and Manning before him, Luck has a knack for late game heroics; bringing his Colts team back from many second half deficits. Luck is entering his sixth NFL season, and has appeared in the playoffs three times and reached the AFC title game once.
I think Jones has an excellent argument, at this point, as the third best QB in franchise history. Jones had a stretch in the mid-70s where he was one of the best QBs in the NFL. This included a 1976 season that saw him lead the league in passing and win the league MVP.
However, because of limited (in compared to other “great” QBs) greatness, Jones is often forgotten about. While he did lead the Colts to three straight AFC East titles, Jones was never able to win a playoff game, losing twice to Pittsburgh and once to Oakland.
Morrall was the fifth QB on ESPN’s list, which rounded out their choices for this poll. While Morrall saw even more limited action as a Colt than Jones (or any other on this list), he is an integral part of Colts history. Heck, any QB that wins the league MVP, which Morrall did in 1968, is an important part to team history.
In fact, as a starter, Morrall finished his Colts career with a record of 22-3-1, which is phenomenal. Unfortunately, what Morrall will always be remembered for is his dismal performance in Super Bowl III. Of course, Morrall did return to the Super Bowl again with the Colts in 1970, again seeing action for an injured Unitas. Again, Morrall wasn’t great, but this time was good enough to get the win.
ESPN didn’t include Harbaugh on the list of Colts QBs that the fans could vote for, but I think he deserves to be in the conversation. In his brief period in Indianapolis, Harbaugh began the changing of the culture to Colts football after a long stretch of futility in the 1980s (with the exception of one playoff season).
Harbaugh led the Colts on a magical run in 1995 which saw the team nearly reach their first Super Bowl since 1970. The Colts did return to the playoffs in 1996 as well with Harbaugh under center. In his final season in Indianapolis, Harbaugh was only 2-9 as a starter as the team limped its way to 3-13. That season, of course, allowed the Colts to be in position to draft Manning.
So who do you think is the best QB in franchise history? Obviously Manning and Unitas are the top two. But where would you rank the others?
Who is the best QB in Colts History?
This poll is closed