Friday, 4 November 2011

Is Suck for Luck a viable strategy? They should be so Lucky.

Over the last week the media spotlight has shone brightly on the  “Suck for Luck” campaign due in part to a group of Indianapolis Colts fans wearing Luck jerseys to the recent game (and for extra douche points, white Oakleys as well) as well as Phil Simms venting his opinion on the Senior from Stanford. Teams "Suck for Luck", or try and "Win the Luck sweepstakes" by deliberately losing to get the first pick in the draft and replace their current QB with the second coming of John Elway.

Nothing says douche like a white jersey and white Oakleys
The main problem with “Suck for Luck” is the idea that any of the NFL coaches at struggling teams, who have notoriously unstable career prospects at the best of times, would deliberately lose in order to attain a player through the draft. If that were to happen, it would be more likely that the incumbent coach would be fired and the new coach would then get to build a franchise around Luck instead.

 Any franchise wanting to win the Luck sweepstakes would have to consider the fact that the NFL season finishes before Luck has to declare, so Luck could wait and see who has the #1 pick and decide he wants another year in college because he doesn’t fancy playing for Miami. 

He has an extra year of eligibility as a senior because he was redshirted (didn’t play) in his first year at Stanford, so he has the option of staying in college for another year if the team with the first pick didn’t meet his expectations. Also Sam Bradford has shown that getting injured isn’t a worry for a potential number one pick as he only played 3 games in his final season and still went first overall.

"Hey guys, I could break both my legs and still go #1 overall!"
There is an overriding thought among NFL scouts that Luck is a slam dunk franchise quarterback, but how many times have they said that and a poor team unwittingly shovels a ton of money into a young man’s pocket, never to see a return on the investment? The rookie wage scale implemented this year goes some way to softening the blow, but it can set a franchise back years (just ask the Chargers). 

There is no guarantee that Luck’s ability at college level will translate to the NFL and the defences he has faced in the PAC 12 aren’t exactly stellar in comparison with some of the defences in the SEC. He does have the elite talent required regardless of what Phil Simms says and by all accounts is a solid character, but there is always that small chance he could flake out Jamarcus Russell or Ryan Leaf style!

Finally, there is the nuclear option for Luck where he could refuse to play for the team that drafted him like Eli Manning with the Chargers and John Elway with the Baltimore Colts. Elway had leverage because he could play baseball (he was also drafted by the Yankees) and didn’t want to play for the awful Baltimore Colts. Eli demanded a trade from the Chargers for a similar reason with less leverage and still got his trade, so there is precedent. With the rookie wage scale now in place Luck wouldn’t lose a (relatively) massive amount of money as long as he was drafted in the top 5, so by telling whoever had the number one pick that he wouldn’t play for them and dropping down the draft a little doesn't have the same significant financial implications it used to.

"This is what I think of playing for Miami"
 So is he worth it? A team not sold on Luck could trade with a team more desperate and then draft another top prospect in either Matt Barkley from USC or Landry Jones from Oklahoma. Also there is the possibility that a team with the number one pick won’t need a QB (St Louis and Minnesota being the other main contenders at the moment) and draft someone else instead.

1983 was a good year and that's just the QBs!!!
Even if you took Luck out of the 2012 draft there are plenty of good QB prospects (at least 4 Qbs may go in the first 10 picks) and we could easily see a year similar to the 1983 draft where 3 hall of fame QBs were drafted (John Elway, Jim Kelly and Dan Marino), so maybe sucking for Luck isn’t such a great idea.

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