Andrew Luck: Hall of Fame?
by Dustin Ludke
With the annual NFL honors in the books and the 2023 class for the pro football Hall of Fame being announced there is already talk about who could be in the 2024 class. One name that is getting a lot of talk is former Colts Quarterback Andrew Luck. Should Luck be in the hall of fame? I think its the wall of lame (stats) that keep him out and honestly shouldn't even be talked about
Where does Luck stand all time?
its not even close. Luck was only in the league for seven years and played only 6. He is career numbers are 23671 passing yards and 171 passing touchdowns. That puts him currently 90th all time in passing yards and 72nd in touchdowns. While being top 100 sounds like a good number given the NFL just celebrated its 100th year a few seasons ago, it really isn't. In the passing yard category Luck could get passed by Jameis Winston and Carson Wentz this season if they get to play in more than 5 games. He will be passed by the Bills' Josh Allen as long as he plays two or three more years. Dak Prescott and Jared Goff are within striking distance of his touchdown numbers this season with more younger QBs coming up.
there are only three quarterbacks behind Luck in touchdowns that are in the hall of fame who played in the super bowl era. They are Troy Aikman (165), Roger Staubach (153),and Bart Starr (152). All three of them have at least 2 super bowl wins. They also have either a league or Superbowl MVP on their resume and only Staubach ranks behind Luck in passing yards but only by 1000 yards.
Luck did have 4 pro-bowl selections in his six-season which is an outstanding rate but he did not make any all-pro teams. He also did not win any league MVPs or get voted for one. He never even led the league in passing any of his years. He also failed to lead the Colts to a super bowl let alone win one. He has a 4-4 overall record in the playoffs despite being crowned as a generational quarterback coming out of the draft.
The lack of any sort of major accomplishment in his short career is one of the death nails for Luck's hall of fame campaign. I will say that I doubt anyone who actually votes for the Hall of Fame would consider Luck, especially in his first year. The first-year nomination has become a real badge of honor as the hall continues to let in fringe players. Its really just the fantasy community and casual fans who think Luck should be considered. Its recency bias and the fact that he was fun to watch and a had a great skill set just didn't stand out among the other QBs.
Is a Short Career an Instant No?
I don't think it is. Lets compare Luck to another short hall of fame career in Terrell Davis. Now its not completely apples to apples. A quarterback is expected to be the leader of a team while a running back is a skilled position that can either be schemed for or out. I do believe that after quarterback, running back is the second most important skill position on the field. Especially back in the early 2000s
Davis played seven season. a total of 78 games compared to Lucks 86. In those years Davis went on to rack up the accolade and accomplishments. He was a pro bowler 3 consecutive years. he was league MVP in 1998 after finishing thirds in both 96 and 97. He was player of the year twice (96, 98) and finished second in 97. He was an first team all pro those three years.
on top of that he helped the Denver Broncos win back to back super bowls and was MVP when they won in 1998. He led the league in rushing in 1998 with over 2000 yards and 21 touchdowns.
All time Davis ranks 58th in rushing yards and 54th in touchdowns. When you just compare their all time spots in yards and touchdowns Davis is way ahead of Luck on both list. Then you add in all the accomplishments it really shows why Davis is in the Hall and why Luck shouldn't be.
At this point you are probably thinking that Davis went in as soon as he was available. No he had to wait 11 years to get in. The short career was one of the biggest hang up for voters. On top of that it was the Mike Shanahan system that always seemed to produce top end rushers. In Davis's last three years he only played in 17 games and really looked like a shell of his former MVP self after suffering injuries. He still made it into the hall of fame but had to wait. To think Luck should get in at all let alone in his first year is ridiculous.
Compared to Other Eligible Quarterbacks
Lets look where Luck stands against other eligible quarterbacks. Superbowl appearances and wins obviously matter.I wont compare him to Eli Manning who has two Super Bowl wins. Whether Eli belongs in the hall is another article and discussion all together. Lets compare Andrew Luck to 4 players. Three who are not in the Hall of Fame despite years of eligibility and one who will be coming up soon. Rich Gannon, Joe Theismann, Boomer Esiason and Phillip Rivers.
|Player||years||Pro Bowls||1st Team All Pro||MVPs||All time Passing yards||All Time Toucdowns|
Its clear that the lack of years will matter going forward in comparing the quarterbacks. Most played double the amount of seasons as Luck. For some of them like Gannon and Theismann they were back ups for a few of them. Based on the chart above Luck ranks below all 4 of them in passing yards and only beats Theismann in touchdowns. Given that all of them have been to a super bowl except Rivers is glaring. None of them are in and were finalist this year. Both Gannon and Rivers have a year where they led the league in passing, something Luck doesn't have. The argument for Rivers being a hall of famer will certainly come down to his longevity and accumulating stats vs being dominate in his era. You don't have that argument for Luck. He never dominated in his era and while the Pro-Bowl honors are a feather in his cap they have lost their shine as Tyler Huntley was a Pro-Bowler this year despite only throwing two passing touchdowns.
There is no logical reasoning for Andrew Luck to be in the hall of fame. He didn't have the type of career that warrant that honor. Fantasy players will still love Luck. He was the consensus first pick in rookie drafts when he came out and had some very good years. He led the league in passing touchdowns in 2014 with 40 and was able to come back from injury and still be a very good quarterback. The difference between fantasy football and real football is vast. If we were electing a him for a fantasy hall of fame I would be the first to say that his 2014 season should be considered. This isn't what we are talking about. We are talking about an immortal honor of being in an elite group of players who dominated and changed the game. Andrew Luck did not do that.
Playing fantasy football for over 25 years. Dynasty player for 4 years. Always digging for those diamonds in the rough players. First guy on Isaiah Hodgins.