Big game in Foxborough this weekend. And while the matchup features two teams–106 men total–much of the discussion is around just two: Andrew Luck and Tom Brady.
These two quarterbacks differ in many ways, most obviously their age: Brady is 37 (frequently the age when an elite QB’s production drops off) and Luck is 25 (frequently the age when elite QBs start earning the title “elite”). So you don’t need John Clayton to tell you that Brady has the advantage of experience, and Luck the advantage of youth.
But that simple comparison–and the countless, more nuanced ones–will mean nothing come Sunday. The best TEAM will win, and these two franchises know a lot about winning.
A Little Background Check
It’s no accident that the Colts and Patriots are playing for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl 49. The ownerships expect excellence, and they’ve brought in the right people to make that happen. Imagine what would happen if these teams handled personnel differently…say, like the Browns.
Actually, you don’t have to imagine that. Here’s what it would look like:
Cleveland Browns Past 15 Years(Source: http://www.clevelandbrowns.com)
Ouch. Note that the past two seasons are not even listed on the team website. Yeah, it’s that bad. But why?
Is it bad luck? Is it the “Cleveland Curse”? Perhaps, but successful organizations like the Colts and Patriots don’t operate at the mercy of superstition. They take control of their situation, do the work, and are prepared to make the critical hiring (signing) decisions that will ensure continued success.
It’s the difference between: Drafting Peyton Manning or picking Ryan Leaf; Drafting Tom Brady in the sixth round or choosing Tim Rattay; Making Brady your franchise player or sticking with Drew Bledsoe; Handing over the reins to Andrew Luck or hanging on to a five-time League MVP.
It’s the difference between drafting “Johnny Football” or choosing character over celebrity.
The Colts and Patriots have sustained success over the past decade because they possess a clear vision for their organization. But more importantly, they have effectively vetted their “job candidates” to maximize the number of players who fit in with their vision. And when faced with critical personnel matters, they gather the best information, perform thorough analysis, and remain true to their vision in making the right hiring decisions.
Back to the matter at hand: big game in Foxborough. I’ve listened to a lot of talk. I’ve heard from the experts and from less-than objective fans. A cold, wet night will make things interesting. Everything indicates that this should be a fantastic game to watch. But who will win?
As an Indianapolis native, I am certainly biased. But I’ll not let that keep me from making the right pick…
Colts 24 – Patriots 20Note: This prediction takes into account that Luck’s beard has grown much more powerful since Week 11. Now gimme 2 claps and a Rick Flair!
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