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Post-Aikman Cowboys offer cautionary tale to Colts

Colts fans aren't about to forget March 7, 2012, the day the franchise parted ways with its icon, Peyton Manning, who lifted the organization out of the abyss and reshaped the city of Indianapolis along the way.

Coincidentally, 11 years ago to the day, Dallas waived a concussion-plagued Troy Aikman and watched as the three-time Super Bowl winner slipped into the mist. Depending on how you feel about Tony Romo, one might argue that Jerry Jones has spent every day since searching for Aikman's successor.

Quincy Carter had the first shot in 2001 and learned that escaping Aikman's shadow was an impossible task. The long list of quarterback projects that followed -- Anthony Wright, Ryan Leaf (LOL), Clint Stoerner, Chad Hutchinson, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson and (a far-past-his-prime) Drew Bledsoe -- reads like a trail of tears to Cowboys fans, still questioning whether Romo will ever reach the heights Aikman did.

The theory that Andrew Luck will be drafted by the Colts, step right in, and ease the pain of Manning's departure is easy on the ears, but flatly ignores history. It's no coincidence that the Dolphins are likely to shift into stalker mode in pursuit of No. 18. Miami, after all, has started a laundry list of hobby horses and walking ghosts at quarterback in an endless, expensive effort to find the next Dan Marino.

Maybe this works out for Indy, similar to the 49ers' Joe Montana-into-Steve Young transition. Fourteen seasons of Peyton followed by a decade-plus of Luck rolling out one feel-good box score after another.

The Dallas faithful, still singing songs about Troy, and anyone who grew up with Marino posters littering their bedroom walls will tell you this: It's not that simple.

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