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Bill Polian wishes he drafted Andy Dalton in 2011

Can any organization match the lineage of Indianapolis Colts quarterbacks, from Most Valuable Player winners Johnny Unitas, Bert Jones and Peyton Manning to current star Andrew Luck?

Battista: What it means to be QB2


Backup quarterback: It's a thankless job, but someone has to do it. Judy Battista explores what it's like to be forever standing by. **READ**

Had former team president Bill Polian pulled the trigger on early-round quarterback insurance when Manning was going through a series of neck surgeries in 2011, the final link in that quarterback chain would have been broken.

Not for nothing, Dave Dameshek would have also missed the opportunity for an obvious N"if"L scenario.

According to NFL Media's Judy Battista, Polian has told Bengals coach Marvin Lewis that he wouldn't be working as an ESPN analyst right now if he had only pulled the trigger on Andy Dalton as Manning's backup three years ago.

It's an interesting thought. Dalton proved NFL ready, guiding the Bengals to the playoffs as a rookie.

Manning's absence exposed a bare-bones roster that was exacerbated by the league-worst quarterback play of Kerry Collins, Dan Orlovsky and Curtis Painter. Surely Dalton would have managed another win or two, which would have taken the Colts out of the "Suck for Luck" campaign.

If Dalton had landed in Indianapolis, the Colts would still be enjoying the presence of a pair of future Hall of Famers in Manning and master team-builder Polian. Dalton, meanwhile, would be biding his time on the bench, wholly unaware of the second-tier quarterback market.

The flip side is watching Luck in a different uniform, likely the millennium blue and new century gold of the St. Louis Rams.

Fortune often favors the bold. In this case, the Colts literally lucked into Luck.

*The latest Around The League Podcast highlights the winners and losers from the first week of preseason action. *

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