Now that we’ve accepted the fact that anyone steaming over Andrew Luck’s retirement is either an unfulfilled media huckster desperate for a moment on Twitter or an entitled fan who thinks spending a few hundred dollars gives them the right to order people around, one question about the 2019 season remains: How will the Colts actually handle this?
It’s sometimes fortuitous to ride the fumes of faux outrage for a little while—just ask the 2018 Browns or the ’17 Eagles, or any team that seems to outperform their catastrophic circumstances. Something inside the building happens, a switch flips, and the big, bad thing that occurred is used as rocket fuel. It doesn’t drape over the club like a wet blanket for the entire offseason. But those are exceptions. A lot of the time, the already-wobbly institutional structure of an NFL franchise comes tumbling down at the first whiff of chaos.
The Colts’ season started in earnest on Monday—1 A.L., if we’re keeping track of the year—and while I don’t necessarily share the unbridled enthusiasm of some with a front-row seat, one has to give the team credit for adjusting on the fly and meeting this head on. There are teams in this league that would go completely dark for a period of time before awkwardly reemerging and pretending like nothing ever happened. The Colts sent out their head coach to establish a new narrative. They made their new franchise quarterback available to the media. They refused to dance around Andrew Luck’s sudden retirement like it was modern politics at the Thanksgiving dinner table. It was healthy.
In a way, that’s a reflection of Luck. He was universally liked enough that even players who would typically recede into the background stepped up and talked about their friend on Monday. He wasn’t brushed aside with a “that’s in the past” platitude. He ensured that wouldn’t be possible.
Five months from now, we’ll have a clearer picture of how the sudden retirement of an in-prime franchise quarterback effects a franchise. There really isn’t a case study for this. But at the moment, the Colts aren’t letting it drag them down. Can that attitude last through a few difficult weeks?
NOW ON THE MMQB: Albert Breer live from Indianapolis. … Could a Colts fan actually win a court battle against the team over season ticket dues? ... The NFL is allowing players to wear lightly tinted visors in 2019.
WHAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: Luck stays true to himself by walking away from football. ... News of Luck’s retirement shook the league to its core. ... The Colts should still expect to go far in the playoffs with Brissett under center.
1. Josh McDaniels prefers not to revisit that time when he was almost the coach of the Colts.
2. Aaron Rodgers weighs in on the retirement of Luck.
3. Patriots work to develop another quarterback they’ll flip to a naïve franchise for profit.
4. Brian Flores seems happy with his decision to challenge a player protesting social injustice.
5. The album that made Sgt. Pepper.
Play it hard and strong, all the way.
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