In case you’ve been under a rock (I don’t judge, maybe it’s warm there) you’ve probably heard that Stanford QB Andrew Luck will remain Stanford Cardinal QB Andrew Luck and not become Carolina Panther QB Andrew Luck.
Which is the long winded way of saying Luck is staying in school.
Now I’ll be honest and add my voice to the chorus of folks who are surprised, especially given that his coach, Jim Harbaugh, looks primed to bolt for NFL pastures and - if the Miami offer of 7 million is legit - big money.
There are equal parts outrage, confusion and hate rolling around about this decision and I get it. Listen, I’m struggling financially as are perhaps many of the people who read this.
It’s tough to imagine a situation where I’d leave 1 million, forget potentially 40 or 80 million, on the table.
Of course, my name is Andrew Garda not Andrew Luck.
I don’t know what goes on in Other Andrew’s head. We share the same name but not the same brain (nor bank account though, I’d be open to that. ALuck, call me and we can talk.)
That aside, here are my thoughts on why Luck may have decided to stay and why it ISN’T the insane decision others think it is.
What I will not do is make this out to be some phenomenal insight into his character. It isn’t better or worse moral, honor or characterwise. He stayed in school. Doesn’t make him better or worse than you or me.
Here are some key points to consider:
1) There is no guarenteed money. Everyone keeps talking about the money he leaves on the table. What money? Satfford’s money? That’s not there anymore. Or likely will not be.
If there is one thing I think the NFL/NFLPA will agree on eventually, it’s a rookie salary cap. Vets are tired of rookies getting huge money for nothing and teams are tired of having to pay it.
Paying huge money to a rookie - even a QB - is a crapshoot (*COUGHJAMARCUSRUSSELLCOUGH*) and if you’re wrong you can screw your franchise up financially for a long time.
We’re judging him based on criteria that doesn’t apply. Sure, he’s leaving money on the table. But it’s nowhere near what people are assigning it in value.
2) Will there be football? We have no clue if there will be ANY NFL football in 2011. For a rookie, it’s likely that by the time he gets in, gets signed and gets playing he could miss a chunk of the season. I expect the season to be shortened right now and can absolutely see the attraction of playing a full season of college ball versus a tiny fraction or perhaps none at all) of NFL.
If he stays at Stanford, Luck is going to practice all year long, play all year long and get better with no lay off. I can see the appeal.
3) A degree means something to him. I hear a lot about how his architecture design degree is impractical and ‘he won’t use it, so why rush to finish it?’
If you’re going to go to school to be a NFL QB, why stay?
I’m going to REALLY speculate here but I don’t think he went to Stanford thinking ‘this is the best way to become a NFL QB’. I don’t think his major is one you take if you’re looking to just focus on football. And Stanford is too academically rigorous to decide to go and just skate.
Plus, if you were going to go to a school with the sole purpose of making the NFL, Stanford wasn’t it when Luck was looking. Sorry Cardinal but you know I’m right.
Let’s look at the numbers.
Even two years ago they were pretty mediocre. Before that they were downright ugly.
2007 - 4-8
2008 - 5-7
2009 - 8-5
Steadily improving, sure. But given the academic standards of Stanford, the shape the team was in when Luck showed up and the degree he’s going after I think he didn’t go there thinking ‘here’s my free ticket to the NFL’.
All of this is not to say it’s the right or wrong decision. Maybe this rookie class gets grandfathered in and he could have made a bazillion dollars more. Maybe he wouldn’t care either way. Maybe he has reasons we don’t even know about.
But his decision - regardless of what you and I would have done - isn’t insane. There are plenty of compelling reasons to stay in school.
Whether we would have or not may not be easy to keep out of it, but it should be.