I’ll be honest, I didn’t believe my husband when I got home late Saturday night that Andrew Luck retired. I thought he got duped by a fake Adam Schefter Twitter account or was trying to get a reaction out of me since my draft is Monday. I proceeded to sit on my family room steps and scroll through 100’s of tweets until I caught up (I was out all day, hadn’t checked in a while, and this was so not the time to catch the other 5 hours of news). After 10 minutes I finally conceded and agreed that the news was almost unreal and shocking. Ironically, just days earlier I had a similar reaction to the news of another franchise star, Bethenny Frankel of the Real Housewives of New York (RHONY), had also decided to leave the show. I know, try to hold back your sobs.
When a franchise player suddenly up and retires it makes waves, no doubt. The Andrew Luck retirement news was one of the most shocking decisions the NFL has experienced, second maybe to only Gale Sayers or Barry Sanders some said. Bethenny was a polarizing character to her audience but equally valued as a call-it-like-I-see-it tough girl that also cried at the drop of the hat and experienced many life-altering moments before our eyes on national TV. Luck, on the other hand, was a happy-go-lucky, loveable old soul that had a generational talent accompanied by a slew of unfortunate injuries. Luck made a classic appearance on Parks and Rec (“settle down there guy”), was genuinely liked by players, media, coaches, and fans, and was the heir to Hall of Famer, Peyton Manning. There was really nothing not to like about Luck. The league will undoubtedly miss a great player (not that we’ve had much of him over the last 4 years), but the NFL is a next man up league so one man’s demise is another’s shot at life-changing success. Draft folks, Jacoby Brissett is that next man up and he is nothing to sneeze at. You won’t get Andrew Luck-type success, especially right off the bat, but this dude can play. Brissett was Tom Brady AND Andrew Luck’s backup QB, with more athleticism than both, and a cannon, he is still a nice draft choice for 2019-2020.
Similarly, RHONY will severely miss Bethenny’s funny quips and fast-talking, biting one-liners that have fueled her triumphant return to the gold-standard Real Housewives franchise. Love or hate her (many do), she is a fascinating human that we have followed from her early days on the very first season on RHONY, single, living in a tiny apartment, dating her first Jason, a businessman, while trying to get her personal chef business going. Cut to the spinoff shows (Bethenny Getting Married, Bethenny Ever After), the astronomical rise of the Skinnygirl brand, and her philanthropic efforts across the country and beyond, her divorce and dating life, we’ve been on a ride with her, good or bad. (I’d like to note that my sister and I met Bethenny at a book signing for Naturally Thin YEARS ago, and I still have my signed copy. Can’t say I have any Andrew Luck signed memorabilia, though, he is probably worth more.)
How will both franchises perform in the wake of losing their generational talents? That remains to be seen. The Indianapolis Colts have the most solid team they’ve had in years, a great coach in Frank Reich (I’m biased, he helped the Eagles win a Super Bowl and seems like an overall great guy, I curse Josh McDaniels every day for ditching the Colts last minute causing them to take our dear Frank away), and a young QB with great tools to succeed. RHONY has a big hole to fill in a cast that had great chemistry, friendship and fights with years of history between them. Plugging in a new lady (or two) will not be as easy as it sounds. This franchise has been built on humor, heartbreak, and real relationships that have set it apart from the other franchises over the years (see RHOC still pushing Gina and Emily on us. Loving Braunwyn though). Franchise QBs don’t come around often. If you look around the NFL, the league is full of teams desperately trying to find The Guy (see Cardinals hire of Kingsbury, trade of top choice Rosen, Jags bringing in perennial backup but stud Super Bowl QB Nick Foles, the Giants, and their QB controversy, need I go on?) At the same time, a great reality show is only as good as the personalities of the stars, RHONY brought Bethenny back after a hiatus because she provides a commentary, a balance, and a different story from all the other women, yet still meshes well and is part of the group. If we graded Real Housewives like we grade NFL quarterbacks, many would have given Bethenny a top grade for her performance last season. I can’t say which will succeed more in 2019-2020, the Colts or RHONY, but I think we are all in for an interesting ride, NFL and Bravo fans alike.