Is Andrew Luck the New Sam Bradford?

Good day! Most of the time when I do a sports piece it is baseball related. However, today I hopped over the wall and landed on the football side. In landing, I may have lost my balance and my knee may have touched the ground but no patriotic music was playing so no harm, no personal foul here.

A long time softball friend of mine, Jeff (or JT to his podcast followers) and I sometimes talk sports. He is admittedly a football guy and I am a baseball guy. But we can branch out to cover the other sports as needed for our respective podcasts (The Go Show Football Podcast and Sports Stalkers Podcast). From time to time, I will comment to JT about a topic they covered on their show or suggest a nugget to consider for discussion. At the present time, I posed this question to Jeff: Is Andrew Luck the New Sam Bradford? For those who do not follow the NFL, you probably have your reasons and I do not blame you one way or the other, let me first give some background on these two men who play football.

Sam Bradford was a college football quarterback for the Oklahoma Sooners. He came out of college after his injury-shortened senior year with much fanfare and expectations in the year 2010. He was taken with the first overall pick in the NFL draft, giving his playing rights to the then St Louis Rams franchise. He has had some relatively successful time in the NFL; but he has been saddled with a legacy of a talented player who for the most part has not lived up to projections or his natural abilities. Most of the knock on Bradford is his durability or lack thereof when it comes to frequently getting injured. Even stretching back to his college days, Sam was an injury concern despite winning a Heisman Trophy in his sophomore season.

Two years after Bradford was the number one pick in the NFL draft, Andrew Luck came out of Stanford University (Cardinals). He was projected as a can’t miss talent, much like Bradford’s billing two years prior. Luck came out of college after his red-shirt junior year and was drafted number one overall just like Bradford. The perceived potential for Luck was so great that it allowed the Indianapolis Colts the luxury of parting with franchise quarterback Peyton Manning. After three excellent seasons, the injury bug blindsided Luck.

The below statistical comparison is not a 100% perfect overlay but there are some similarities:

QB Years Games TD INT Fumbles Pass Yards Rush Yards Comp. Att. Draft Year Round Overall By Team
Andrew Luck 5 70 132 68 27 19,078 1442 1570 2651 2012 1st 1st Colts
Sam Bradford 7 80 101 57 33 19,049 333 1805 2887 2010 1st 1st Rams

In additional two years, Bradford has played 10 more games than Luck but the total passing yards for each is virtually the same at just over 19,000. Luck has committed 95 turnovers (interceptions + fumbles) and Bradford had committed 90 turnovers. Luck’s completion percentage for his passes is at 59.2% while Bradford’s is slightly better at 62.5%. The biggest differences in the two player’s numbers are both in Luck’s favor. Luck has 1,442 rushing yards compared to Bradford’s 333. Also in the passing touchdown department, Luck has thrown 132 while Bradford has 101 to his credit.

The two players’ styles and game management approaches are quite different but the football pedigree and expectations were very much on par with each other. Both players were projected as franchise quarterbacks to build prolific offenses around, only to have their respective careers derailed by a series of frustrating injuries. How much does each athlete have left? Good question. Only time will tell but probably not this year as both players appear to be on the verge of being placed on the Injured Reserve list, thus ending their respective seasons.

I am a sports numbers geek and delving into these cases as they occur to me is fun. Hopefully you at least found this piece informative or maybe intriguing. If not, well there’s always next time!



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