The Folly Of Suck For Luck … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs

I must admit, it has certain panache – Suck for Luck.

It just does not make a lot of sense.

The idea behind the Suck for Luck campaign is that an NFL team – in this case the Chiefs – should do whatever takes in losing to put itself in position to own the first pick of the 2012 NFL Draft.

By all accounts the player that will be selected in that spot is Stanford QB Andrew Luck. The son of former NFL QB Oliver Luck, Andrew is considered the best quarterback prospect to come out of college football in many years.

Luck has all the physical tools, the mental power and the passing arm and skills to qualify under that hard to define, but we know it when we see it title – franchise quarterback.

So the idea is the Chiefs have started 0-2, so they should go 0-16 to guarantee that first pick is in their hands.

There are many problems with that approach, but the biggest is this – having the first pick guarantees nothing when it comes to selecting a productive player, let alone a franchise quarterback.

Teams that hold the draft’s first selection earn that spot with incredibly horrible seasons the preceding year. Go all the way back to 1970 when Pittsburgh selected Terry Bradshaw with the first selection of the draft. To earn that slot, the Steelers went 1-13 in 1969. When Dallas grabbed Troy Aikman with the first selection of the 1990 NFL Draft, the Cowboys were coming off a 1-15 season in 1989. When Indianapolis drafted Peyton Manning with the first choice of the 1998 NFL Draft it was after the Colts went 3-13 the season before.

Those three quarterbacks were the first players taken in their drafts. Combined, they have eight Super Bowl rings.

They are three of 20 quarterbacks that have been selected No. 1 since 1970. Only three won a Super Bowl for their team, or 15 percent. Four other quarterbacks that were No. 1 draft selections earned Super Bowl rings, but for teams that did not draft them. They were:

  • Jim Plunkett twice with Oakland; drafted by New England.
  • John Elway twice with Denver; drafted by Baltimore.
  • Steve Young once with San Francisco; drafted by Tampa Bay.
  • Eli Manning once with the N.Y. Giants; drafted by San Diego.

That’s seven of 20 quarterbacks or 35 percent. Those are hardly what can be considered good odds.

So a team goes Suck for Luck, gets that No. 1 choice and selects Jeff George, Tim Couch, David Carr, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith or JaMarcus Russell. All were obviously thought to be franchise quarterbacks. All were the first player taken. Only George and Palmer started in the playoffs, a total of five games between them and a 1-4 record. What about Michael Vick, Drew Bledsoe, Vinny Testaverde and Steve Bartkowski? All enjoyed some bit of success in the NFL over the years; Bledsoe even started a Super Bowl with the Patriots when they lost to Green Bay after the 1996 season.

It’s far too early to know where the other three No. 1 quarterbacks will fall. Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford and Cam Newton have not yet had their chance to provide convincing evidence that they are franchise quarterbacks.

Over the last 12 seasons, the Manning brothers are the only No. 1 quarterbacks that won Super Bowls. Among the other 10 starting quarterbacks for the championship team, four were won by QBs drafted in the first round – Trent Dilfer, Ben Roethlisberger (twice) and Aaron Rodgers.

Suck for Luck is a nice little conversation starter for sports talk radio. But it has no roots in reality.

Here are the quarterbacks taken with the first selection of the NFL Draft over the last 42 drafts:

Quarterbacks Drafted First 1970-2011



Drafted By

Super Bowls?

Terry Bradshaw


Yes, 4 titles

Jim Plunkett

New England

Yes, 2 w/Oak

Steve Bartkowski



John Elway


Yes, 2 w/Den

Steve Young

Tampa Bay

Yes, w/SF

Vinny Testaverde

Tampa Bay


Troy Aikman


Yes, 3 w/Boys

Jeff George



Drew Bledsoe

New England


Peyton Manning


Yes, win in ’06

Tim Couch



Michael Vick



David Carr



Carson Palmer



Eli Manning

San Diego

Yes, win in ’07

Alex Smith

San Francisco

No, not close

JaMarcus Russell


No, out of NFL

Matt Stafford


No, not close

Sam Bradford

St. Louis

Not as rookie

Cam Newton


First chance

22 Responses to “The Folly Of Suck For Luck … Saturday Cup O’Chiefs”

  • September 24, 2011  - Milkman says:

    Surely anyone who is saying lets “Suck for Luck” is doing so tounge in cheek. It is way too early to tell how this season will play out. And when was the last time any of us Chief fans clamored for something for months and then seen it come to pass? IF we did draft this kid and IF he did turn out to be everything he’s supposed to be, it would be the first time in Chiefs history we drafted and developed a truely succsessful franchise quarterback of our own. Those are just too long of odds for us to waste our time on.

  • September 24, 2011  - James says:

    If the Chief’s have the first pick and pass on Luck, I’m finished with them. But I can see it happening. We still need a NT. The LDE is a joke. Our safeties are a joke. There’s no depth on the OL and with Charles out, running the ball is going to be a struggle. I’ll never be happy when the Chief’s lose, but it that’s what it takes to get a franchise QB, so be it.

  • September 24, 2011  - johnfromfairfax says:

    Suck for Luck might have the same resonance as Win one for the Gipper but it’s a dumb idea for desperate people with no hope of coming to pass. Even if we got to that spot (and hoping for that runs counter to why most watch and support a team) it’s doubtful the Chiefs would go that route. More likely we would shop the pick and obtain a handful of choices that would facilitate improvement across the board. The idea is just not really a consideration at this point and just shows how marginal some fans are that they would abandon the team at this point and actually hope we finish out the year as the worse team in football. Talk about your quitters, how about that for fans! That sucks far worse than the team has so far. Perhaps we can refer to them as the Suck fans. It does have a certain ring to it as well.

  • September 24, 2011  - TDKC says:

    The Chiefs have set enough records the last five years. Most of them no one is proud of. I’d rather they not tie with Detroit for worst team ever.

    It’s hard enough to see the Chiefs last in the various “power rankings”. Those are only opinions. Having the worst record for an entire season. That would be a sad reality.

  • September 24, 2011  - RW says:

    I don’t know Bob. 35% beats the hell out of 0% of Superbowl Chief’s QBs since Lenny Dawson went into retirement.

  • September 24, 2011  - Josh says:

    Who needs a quarterback? Just snap it to McGraw in the backfield, and see if he can make it to the line of scrimmage without giving it to the other team.

  • September 24, 2011  - Canada Brad says:

    I want the Chiefs to win very very badly every Sunday. However, the idea of being able to draft a guy like Luck makes it a tiny tiny little bit easier to cope with another loss on Mondays. But i would take a win any day.

    I also agree that we would probably shop and trade the pick anyway. With the new rookie salary system, we will probably see a lot of top 10 picks being traded during next years draft. More than we have seen in a long time.

  • September 24, 2011  - aPauled says:

    Suck for Luck is a little down the road but if Cassel shows up with his head in his keaster again tomorrow I’m all for Suck for Palko or Suck for Stanzi.

  • September 24, 2011  - ED J says:

    Love the article disagree with you’re going to lose with rookie QB though. This isn’t your father’s NFL. Bottom line is rookie QB are coming in right away and winning. Look at how Flaco and both Matt Ryan won in their 1st yr. Also how about Sanchez did in his rookie yr. With NFL becoming a more passing league similar to college you’re starting to see transition for QB from college to pros are alot easier than it was 10-20 yrs ago. I mean most of your argument is based on very old data.

    Secondly I do agree we shouldn’t suck for Luck. Just because I would have to totally not watch football to bear another 2-14 or 1-15 season. Bottom line though is Luck would make this team playoff contender and instant winner though rookie or not. I think Chiefs fans that argue we need more than QB (which I agree to an extinct)are misguided on how QB is more important than those position.

    I’ve said all time you look around league every team is flawed. Their aren’t any perfect rosters out there but difference between us and them are those teams have franchise guys. Pats have a horrible defense so does Colts but both teams win 10 plus games because of QB position. Chargers have mediocre coach but because Rivers running the show they win each yr. Bears got to NFC championship game with one of the worst o-line and receiving core in the league. So bottom line it is time this team fine a franchise QB. Whether they play Stanzi see what he has or draft Luck, Landry Jones, or even Matt Barkley they better find trigger man or its going to be another losing seaon.

  • September 24, 2011  - ED J says:

    Also Bob disagree with its too early to make judgemnt on Sam Bradford or Stafford. I mean we seen Stafford live i don’t think its too early to say that kid is franchise QB. Health maybe concern but thats it. Bradford has done more with less in ST Louis that kid threw to #3 receivers all yr his rookie season and still almost had St Louis in playoffs. Cam Newton throwing for back to back 400 yards with STeve Smith and bunch of no names. I mean come on I don’t need entire season to know if this guy got the it factor he’s one on every level.

  • September 24, 2011  - traumaman says:

    Is Suck For Luck folly or strategy? Fellow Chief’s fans, for any of those left amongst the Chief’s faithful that has already arrived at the obvious conclusion that this franchise under Clark Hunt and Scott Pioli is as pathetic and hopeless as the Detroit Lions under Matt Millen, they are truly delusional and in need of the help of a professional.

    The Matt Millen led Lions for a decade were the definition of futility and ineptitude by the fan base in the NFL for their ridiculous draft and personnel decisions. In short, they were the joke of the NFL mostly due to their draft decisions. Just like the those Lions, these Pioli led Chief’s have enjoyed “can’t miss” draft positions and somehow keep whiffing. With errors in judging talent i.e. T. Jackson and I could go on with all but the last member of his first draft class and the succeeding ones, the expenditure of high draft picks on physically undersized skill players that no other GM in the league would take a chance on because they fumble and get hurt disproportionately to their more imposing counterparts, to strategically filling the wrong positions on the team with high picks i.e. Safety and Wide Receiver at the expense of O & D Lines, Scott Pioli appears to be in the same category as Matt Millen and Obama; rather than add to the very………. long list wrong decisions, can anyone name a single correct decision?

    Here’s some reality fellow Chief’s fans, after 40 plus years of enduring a mostly humiliating franchise without so much as a shred of hope of even sniffing a Superbowl, it’s clear that there are only two types of owners out there; those committed to winning at all costs and those that just treat the NFL as a business. The Hunt family is not committed to winning or Superbowls, just making money off of us. So, for those shallow Chief’s fans out there that actually want a chance at a Superbowl, Andrew Luck appears to be the only statistical chance we have of that happening. Thanks to an owner that’s proven he’s only interested in making money and a GM that’s actually worse than Matt Millen and I didn’t think that was possible, “Suck For Luck” actually provides those of us that see the Hunt/Pioli regime for what they truly are; carpet baggers, as an opportunity for a franchise QB that even Pioli can’t screw up and perhaps the potential humbling of an owner and GM. Who knows, maybe a 1 & 15 season will put some Jerry Jones in them and they’ll actually go out and bet the farm on trying to win at all. Wait, those two never earned anything in their life. They don’t have the savvy or the courage to do what it takes to be a Jerry Jones and bring Superbowls to the fans and his family.

  • September 24, 2011  - ED J says:

    Traumaman keep political view off sports Blogs come one man. As for Pioli and Millen comparison couldn’t disagree more. Jackson was a whiff but if you evaluate the whole 2009 draft were full of busts. The fan favorite including me myself Aaron Curry looking like a bust. I mean he’s being benched by the Seahawks and that’s not team loaded with talent. Give Pioli credit though he has brought division title here. I think his one huge mistake was trading for Matt Cassel. I mean he got fooled into numbers he put up from New England and overlooked fact he was throwing to 2 possible Hall of Fame receivers along with being coached by Hall of Fame coach. Also last yr he was sucker in like most of us by Cassel fluke pro bowl season instead of looking at real numbers. Which was our passing game was bottom of the league last yr and when Cassel faced other top level Qb we didn’t do well. Along with when we got down by 2 scores in the game and had to depend on his arm to bring us back he was incapable of doing so.

    I think Pioli is good GM but he made some rookie mistakes like anyone stepping into new position. But he better take this opportunity to fix it. Next season he better not the like the 49ers have done with Alex Smith which is bring Cassel back as starter next season. He better get a franchise QB this offseaon or he’s gone next yr.

  • September 24, 2011  - el cid says:

    No interest in suck for Luck.

    What if the Chiefs were the worst team in the league and prepare to for the draft.

    1. Do you really believe Pioli would draft Luck?
    2. The price is right but would Hunt/Pioli eat the Cassel salary? History says the team usually lets contracts run complete before cutting ties to players.
    3. Would Luck come to KC? We love the team and area but not exactly NY or SF and the night life may not be for a westcoast guy.
    4. Heard a media type who thought the Chiefs might end up with the 3rd pick. He suggested they would go Def Line because they are so bad there and might get a starter (just like Jackson, lmao).

  • September 24, 2011  - ED J says:

    WHAT el cid owners allow player contract to run out before cutting them. What NFL are u watching? Cassel will either have to restructure his deal next season if we draft Luck or be release. This is NFL no contracts are guranteed. As for us drafting Luck am I the only one who remember their is rookie wage scale. He’s not going get kind of money Bradford or Jamrcus Russell got. Second Luck has no choice if he gets drafted here to come here. Its not like we’ve been a dormat franchise he’d love to come here with all talent we have.

  • September 24, 2011  - el cid says:

    You must not spend much time with the Chiefs. You are right about contracts not being garanteed but I am talking about dead money that counts against salaries, remember Simms?, sat on the bench drawing 1st round money. the Hunts do not waste money if it can be helped. As for Cassel, might well mentor a new Qb. Manning got traded, sometimes the college player does not like the fit. I doubt many would love the have Haley yelling all the time at them. And although you did not mention it, KC might not be a destination location for a young college kid.

  • September 24, 2011  - ED J says:

    Manning forced trade because at that time Chargers had no track record of winning we’re just yr removed from making playoffs. Secondly Harbaugh is a yeller and screamer as well so I don’t think he’ll not want to play here because of Haley. I mean your argument has no validity. Last you brought up Sims how long ago was that. New owener and regime. Didn’t you just see Larry Johnson get cut. Bottom line is alot people said we wouldn’t pay Berry all that money we did. Many people like yourself question whether Piloi would pay that money to safety we did. With less money now being spent in 1st round than yrs past and we’re talking about QB now. No way Pioli not going to draft Luck.

    Also Cassel would either have to restructure his deal or be release. If we take Luck he’s not going continue to make what he’s making.

  • September 24, 2011  - Niblick says:

    I’m pretty sure that most of Cassell’s guaranteed money of 29MM has been paid. I don’t think their would be much dead money if we were to release him, if we so desire and draft Luck. There is no doubt in my mind if we have the top pick we will draft Luck. We could also keep Cassell. With the rookie cap, you don’t have to pay the top pick 50MM guarnteed any more. I also read where we still owe Jackson 8MM in guarnteed money, so their
    would be some dead money if we let him go.

    i’m still going to pull for the Chiefs to win. I don’t think we will have to go 0-16 to get the first draft pick.

  • September 24, 2011  - Chuck says:

    Well the subject has been covered pretty well with all the posts above me, but I will just say its true when you here the term “ITS A QUARTERBACK DRIVEN LEAGUE”. Oh how true those words are. I will just finish by saying that at present time “WE DO NOT HAVE A FRANCHISE TYPE QB ON THIS ROSTER”.

  • September 24, 2011  - Rick says:

    I uh, pretty much agree with Niblick. Good post.

  • September 24, 2011  - cychief24 says:

    Well as a Season Ticket holder who drives from Des Moines I sure heck hope we don’t draft first! After LJ was hurt in ’07 we watched the worst suckfest ever through ’09.

    Like I said before…To blame all the Chiefs problems in ’11 on one player is just simple minded.
    Cassel led us to 10-5 Division Champs last year. SO THE FACT IS HE IS GOOD ENOUGH TO GET KC TO THE PLAYOFFS.

    So what is different this year?
    Missing from ’10: Weis, Waters, Vrabel, Shaun Smith(leadership)
    Moeaki who was a huge weapon that helped the running game go and Bowe not get doubled all the time.
    Berry the first defensive series vs. Buffalo. He is the key to our secondary.
    Now Charles, our best offensive player.

    These are facts.

  • September 24, 2011  - Thomas Salmon says:

    The four things that are needed:

    1. Franchise QB. The Chiefs have NEVER drafted one. Lenny was a cast-off from the Steelers and Joe was let go by the 49ers. Drafting Andrew Luck could be potentially the most important moment in the history of the Chiefs/ Texans franchise. He might not work out, but he is the best prospect out there and I doubt any “franchise QB” currently playing in the league will be traded to the Chiefs.

    2. A solid defensive line. Another perpetual problem for the Chiefs. Whoever scouts defensive linemen for the Chiefs is an abysmal failure. How many high draft picks in the last ten years could have really turned out to be busts?

    3. A competent head coach. Todd Haley has gone from a potential COTY last season to an idiot in the span of less than six games. The reason? He lost the assistant that was the brains behind the offense in Charlie Weiss. Heley’s plan for the lockout and training camp was an abject failure. He transformed a talented young squad into doormats with his lack of ability to adapt to the challenges of the offseason and shortened training camp. HE, not the GM or the owner, is responsible for the training and conditioning of the players! The suckitude on the field was already obvious before any player injuries. The first three preseason games were jokes, and Moeaki going down in the fourth preseason game did not substantially alter the course of that game or the blowouts against the Bills or the Lions. Those games were over right out of the chute!

    4. Repeat #1 above.

    I’m not going to go on and on about how much sacrifice I have endured as Chiefs fan, but it has been considerable. I was in the stands for the SB IV victory as a young child and actually remember some of it. I probably travel about as far to each game as many of the other Chiefs Nation fans.

    I desperately want to see them win. I’ve been observing the failures for decades. Please do something!

  • September 24, 2011  - Thomas Salmon says:

    By the way, the “not drafted by their SB team analysis” of John Elway and Eli Manning is certified crap! Both were essentially draft and trades. Neither played a snap for the team that originally drafted them.

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