In this month’s cover story, we spent some time with Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, and walked away with the sense of a man who is thoughtful and poised beyond his two years in the league. Add to this his speed, size, and ability to adjust and you could paint Luck as a QB with it all — brains, brawn, and arm. Here, gleaned from the full story on stands this Friday, are seven reasons, both physical and mental, that we are going to put our money on Luck and the Colts this season.
1. He’s Fast — Faster Than You Think
Just 1/100 of a second slower than the QB that was taken at #1 the year before Luck, Cam Newton, Luck posted a 4.59 for his 40-yard dash.
2. …And Hard to Bring Down
Luck surprised Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, whose arm tackle failed to get the rookie to the ground. While every QB is going to take their fair share of hits, one of the most fearsome defenders in the game having no problem admitting Luck isn’t as easy to bring down is a pretty big deal. “I don’t know how much [Luck] can bench press,” Matthews said. “I guess I have to work out a little harder.”
3. He Has the Footwork of a Soccer Player
He made the transition from the pitch to the gridiron as a kid, but he lived in Germany long enough to figure out how Europeans play the beautiful game. If you look close enough at Luck scrambling on the field, you can see some of the old soccer player in his footwork.
4. He’s Brainy Off the Field
We’ve all heard he went to Stanford, but he also likes logic puzzles, is interested in architecture, and tries to get his teammates to play Settlers of Catan with him. He’s even read all of the books that spawned HBO’s Game of Thrones, but doesn’t care to watch the show itself (“I don’t want my vision of the world and the characters to be ruined,” he says.)
5. …As Well as On
Luck can run fast, and can throw the ball with the best of them, but he also sizes up what to do with an open field better than most quarterbacks. He’s shown plenty of brains for a young guy, but Luck knows he has a ways to go: “The no-huddle that they run and the things they do are just as complex as any running scheme,” Luck says about the way world class QBs like Peyton Manning and Tom Brady run their offenses. “That’s like rocket science in the football world.”
6. He’s No Flame-Out
You hear of professional athletes figuring out new and more elaborate ways to spend their millions, and then there’s Luck pulling out a Samsung flip phone from sometime around 2007. One of the best young players in the NFL has never owned an iPhone, and when his previous flip phone broke several months back, he simply went on Amazon and bought a new one. All Luck cares about is that the phone “gets the job done.”
7. He Has it all in Perspective
“There’s a certain backyard element to it,” Luck says about the key to being a successful quarterback. He doesn’t need to make the highlight reel every night, but that sort of attitude could be the key to Luck’s rise to the top of the quarterback mountain, and more importantly, winning.