Jeff George was the first big-name gunslinging quarterback in Indianapolis Colts franchise history.
George, an Indianapolis native, had a cannon of an arm dating back to his days at Warren Central High School.
He continued making a name for himself with the Purdue Boilermakers and Illinois Fighting Illini in the collegiate ranks.
Regrettably, George never panned out with the Colts because of his brash attitude and lack of leadership skills.
Let’s reminisce on the Colts career of George.
Jeff George Never Lived Up To Lofty Expectations With The Colts
The Colts made George the first overall selection of the 1990 NFL Draft.
30 years ago today, Jeff George went No. 1️⃣ overall to the Colts.
📺: 2020 @NFLDraft April 23-25 on NFLN/ESPN/ABC#Illini | #ProIllini pic.twitter.com/fZ4z9tMOk6
— Illinois Football (@IlliniFootball) April 22, 2020
Indy badly needed a game-changer at quarterback at the turn of the decade.
Although Jack Trudeau led the Colts in passing yardage in three of the previous four seasons, he didn’t have the upside George had.
The Colts wanted George so badly they traded Pro Bowl offensive lineman Chris Hinton and wideout Andre “Bad Moon” Rison to the Atlanta Falcons so they could lock up the No. 1 overall pick in 1990.
George led a weak quarterback class that year – the only signal-caller who panned out was the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Neil O’Donnell.
At the time, George’s six-year, $15 million contract was the largest rookie deal in NFL history.
Some pundits even believed the rocket-armed George was the next Johnny Unitas.
Sadly, George played more like Jay Cutler than Johnny U during his five-year stint with the Horseshoe from 1990 to 1994.
With George under center, Indy regressed considerably in his first two years in the NFL.
The Colts won seven games in George’s rookie year and then inexplicably hit rock bottom with a putrid 1-15 win-loss record in 1991.
To this day, it has been the worst showing of the franchise since it relocated to Indianapolis in 1984.
George and co. eventually regrouped – they won an average of seven games in his last two years in the Circle City from 1992 to 1993.
Regrettably, George, the highly-touted savior of the Colts franchise, never led them to a postseason berth during his four-year tenure in Indy.
He had 41 touchdown passes and 46 interceptions during that time frame.
Worse, he won just 14 of 49 games as a starting quarterback for the Horseshoe.
After almost four years, the Colts finally came to their senses.
They traded George – who butted heads with fans, teammates, and coaches – to the Falcons following the 1993 NFL season.
Ironically, Hinton and Rison – the two players the Colts traded so they could draft George first overall – became Pro Bowlers in Atlanta.
We are Jeff George (11) days away from @Colts football. Are you ready?! pic.twitter.com/kw4vPArEAF
— Colts366 (@Colts366) August 29, 2018
As for George, he had several up-and-down seasons with the Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, and Washington Redskins before hanging up his cleats prior to the 2006 NFL campaign.
The Colts eventually became postseason contenders after they jettisoned George and made Jim Harbaugh their starter in 1994.
To aptly sum up George’s career with the Colts, he had the physical tools and incredible arm strength to succeed at football’s highest level.
Regrettably, George severely lacked the intangibles quarterbacks need to excel in the National Football League: discipline, grit, accountability, and above all – leadership.
Had he done well in those areas, he would have taken the Colts to greater heights in the 1990s.
Sadly, he has become an afterthought 32 years after the Horseshoe made him the highest-paid rookie in NFL history.NEXT: Darius Leonard Wants To See A Star Teammate Recognized Virtually