On this date in 1998, the Indianapolis Colts selected a franchise quarterback who would go on to lead the team to a Super Bowl championship.
Leading up to the 1998 NFL Draft, much of the discussion centered around whether Tennessee Volunteers QB Peyton Manning or Washington State Cougars QB Ryan Leaf would be the No. 1 overall pick. With the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers both in need of a QB, it was almost certain both would be drafted with the first and second overall picks but there was some debate as to who should go No. 1 overall.
The Indianapolis Colts selected Peyton Manning with the first overall pick in the NFL Draft and considering the way the careers of Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf went, it's safe to say the Indianapolis Colts made the correct call.
Peyton Manning would have a rocky beginning as an Indianapolis Colts but went on to set a number of records for rookie quarterbacks. Throughout his 13-year playing career with the Indianapolis Colts, Peyton Manning started every regular season game, threw for nearly 55,000 yards, 399 touchdowns and was selected to 11 Pro Bowls. He would win 4 NFL MVP awards and was awarded the Super Bowl MVP award in the Indianapolis Colts' Super Bowl XLI win against the Chicago Bears.
The Indianapolis Colts released Peyton Manning after 2011 season, believing his career would be in jeopardy after a serious neck injury. They would draft Andrew Luck has Peyton Manning's successor and thus far into his career, Andrew Luck has more than exceeded expectations.
Just as the Indianapolis Colts selected Peyton Manning and later Andrew Luck to help lead the franchise, so too has the team drafted current stars such as Marlon Mack, Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson, and Braden Smith. Combined with young free agent finds like 2018 Pro Bowl TE Eric Ebron and Devin Funchess, the Indianapolis Colts have a young nucleus of talent ready to take them to the next level.
Football fans can meet the future of the Indianapolis Colts franchise on May 25 at the Incrediplex where Marlon Mack, Darius Leonard, Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith, Eric Ebron, and Devin Funchess will be meeting with fans and signing autographs. For additional information on the Indianapolis Colts Autograph Signing Event, please click here.
(Cover photo via Business Insider)