The Indianapolis Colts have been churning through quarterbacks, searching for one they can start for over a year. This has been brand new territory for a franchise that had stability in the position for almost two decades. From Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck, the Colts didn’t have to worry about their most critical position.
Then Luck retired early, and the organization has been trying to get by with “patchwork” quarterbacks ever since. The results of this strategy have been less than ideal. The team has only made the playoffs twice, with a win-loss record of 1-2. Despite having the most Pro Bowlers on one roster two years ago, the Colts still have not won the weakest division in the AFC.
All of this futility has led to this year’s draft being one of the most important for the franchise. The Colts have the fourth overall pick in the draft and are mostly expected to draft a quarterback. However, the franchise has been linked to Lamar Jackson, which would allow the Colts to take the best player available with their first draft selection in the second round instead.
Indianapolis Colts hold longest active streak with different starting quarterback
Regardless, the Indianapolis Colts have the longest active streak of starting a different Week 1 quarterback in the NFL.
- 2016 – Andrew Luck
- 2017- Scott Tolzien
- 2018 – Andrew Luck
- 2019 – Jacoby Brissett
- 2020 – Phillip Rivers
- 2021 – Carson Wentz
- 2022 – Matt Ryan
- 2023 – Gardner Minshew*
While free agent signing Gardner Minshew hasn’t officially been named the starter, he’s projected to be the QB1. Unless the Colts’ rookie quarterback impresses the coaches enough to earn the starting spot. Even then, this will mark the eighth consecutive season that they have a different Week 1 starter.
There have been three other teams to accomplish this same feat as the Colts in NFL history.
- Denver 1966-1973 (38-69-5)
- Cincinnati 1997-2004 (42-86)
- Washington 2000-2007 (58-70)
- Indianapolis 2016-2023 (53-60-1)
It goes without saying that none of these teams experienced a lot of success. In fact, the combined record of these three teams and the Colts is 191-285-6, and four combined playoff appearances. Washington and Indianapolis each made the playoffs twice, with only the Colts winning one of the games.
Related: NFL trade rumors: Latest on Lamar Jackson, Aaron Rodgers and more
The record for most different Week 1 starting quarterbacks
Now, with all of this, Chicago holds the record for the most consecutive different Week 1 starting quarterbacks with nine. When you think about quarterback futility there are a few franchises that come to mind, the aforementioned Chicago, Cleveland, and Cincinnati. So, it’s not really a surprise to see Chicago holding the record.
However, it’s possible the Colts will end up tying Chicago. As previously mentioned, the Colts are expected to draft a quarterback and start Minshew in Week 1 this year. With this plan in place, the expectation is that this year’s rookie quarterback will be the Week 1 starter for the Colts in 2024. This would tie the Chicago record with nine.
Again, as previously mentioned, the prevailing thought is the Colts take the best available quarterback with their fourth overall pick. However, if they decide to take the best overall player there and then draft a quarterback later. The question then becomes, will the later-drafted rookie quarterback still be expected to be the Week 1 starter in 2025?
If so, then the Colts’ streak ends at nine. However, if the quarterback has been like any of Chris Ballard’s previous selections, then the franchise has a legitimate chance to set the record. Again, all of this just validates that the quarterback is the toughest position to get right and that this year’s draft is of vital importance.
Related: Indianapolis Colts mock draft 2023: Creating a long-term core around a QB