The story lines are perfect, and the characters are even better. The media would eat it up, and so would fans. Honestly, an Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III rivalry sounds too good to be true.
It could have started when both were Texas high schoolers searching for a suitable college. Griffin visited Stanford and seriously contemplated attending. Coach Jim Harbaugh told Griffin that the Cardinal could employ a two-quarterback system, with Griffin and another highly-touted recruit, Andrew Luck. Thanks, but no thanks, was Griffin's answer. He thought the stage wouldn't be big enough for both of them, and he turned out to be right.
Griffin and Luck went on to have exceptional college careers, and they're both among the most talented football players their schools have ever produced. By 2011, they were the best two quarterbacks in the country, and it soon became clear that one of them would eventually be holding the Heisman Trophy.
Griffin won, with Luck coming in second. That order was reversed a few months later, when Luck went first in the NFL draft and Griffin followed. They were the fifth quarterback duo to be selected with the top two picks in the draft, and the first since Tim Couch and Donovan McNabb in in 1999. While it's still early, Luck and Griffin are shaping up to have the best rookie seasons of any 1-2 duo since Drew Bledsoe and Rick Mirer in 1993. The bar isn't exactly set very high.
Both Luck and Griffin are extremely talented, intelligent and grounded. And therein lies the rivalry rub. A rivalry between these two seems extremely natural, almost like what Larry Bird and Magic Johnson had throughout their careers. But all indications are that there is no bad blood or strong friendship, the two key ingredients for a rivalry. Simply put, they're "frenemies."
Before a preseason game between the Colts and the Redskins, reporters asked Luck what he would say to Griffin as they stood on the field. Luck's response? "Nothing earth-shattering."
They'll forever be tied to each other. But unlike, say, Bird and Magic or Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, they don't have to get through one another to achieve their ultimate goal.
That's what makes football rivalries unique. Quarterbacks are never actually going up against each other, which creates a sort of intangible and undefinable clash. Much of the rivalry between two quarterbacks is defined by individual success (due to the lack of head-to-head meetings) and off-the-field action.
In some ways the relationship between Luck and Griffin mirrors that of the premier quarterbacking rivalry of the past decade, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. It's a competition that is characterized by mutual respect, if not friendship.
Regardless of who proves himself to be the better quarterback, football fans can cherish the fact that these two young, talented signal callers appear to have extremely bright futures. That is truly a gift in itself.
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