Andrew Luck and the Not Bad, Very Good Year

The Colt’s quarterback is learning to enjoy success.
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The Colt’s quarterback is learning to enjoy success.
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Andrew Luck is having a monster season. The Colt's quarterback has thrown for over 300 yard in all but one game this season while reminding defenses around the league that he can get to the corner (and the end zone) almost at will. He’s too young – three years in the league – to be considered “elite,” but he’s playing at a consistently elite level. And, it's warrants saying, he’s not just hurling long balls to receivers with velcro palms (cough, Stafford, cough), he’s marching up the field like a young Tom Brady would have if young Tom Brady hadn’t spent the early aughts watching Drew Bledsoe take snaps.

And he’s a nice dude. That matters, especially in the era more defined by scandals than by highlights. No one has a bad thing to say about him and he’s got something nice to say about everyone. He’s even guileless when promoting products. He reached out to BODYARMOR, the sports drink he now represents, because he liked it and they said, “sure, we’d like to work with you.” Now that’s happening. Stories about Andrew Luck tend to be short and uncomplicated. Hell, his career has been short and uncomplicated.

In fact, the only thing that’s complicated about Luck is the offense he runs. When he talks about his life in the NFL and about his team, one thing becomes absolutely clear: The guy is having a great time. Good for him. Couldn’t happen to a better dude.

You’re having an incredibly massive year. Do you think you finally have the chance to become more than Peyton Manning’s successor - to be Andrew Luck and have that be it's own thing. - What would that mean to you?

Honestly, I’ve never worried about being Peyton’s successor or the perception of being the next Peyton or who is he or what he is. To me, what matters is family, coaches and their perception. Not to disregard anyone’s opinion, but I’ve done my own thing and my teammates have treated me accordingly…. I just want to be a good quarterback and a decent person that’s doing the right thing and helping his team win.

You know where you’ve failed to live up to Peyton’s legacy? Commercials. That guy is amazing at commercials. Have you started working with an acting coach yet?

[Laughs] I have not. I realize I’m really bad and probably will continue to be really bad.

One of the things that’s remarkable about your offense is how fast you play and that you maintain pace through the entire game. How are you guys maintaining that speed?

Coach Pep, our offensive coordinator, has done a great job getting everybody the ball and letting those guys make plays. You’ve got the three tight ends who can ball; you’ve got the five receivers who are really good; you’ve got great running backs. We’re just getting the ball around to everybody and they’re racking up the points, the yards, and the big plays.

Do you think part of your ability to do that is that you have some of these veterans on the team as well as young talent?

Absolutely, I think there’s a great mix of young and old personalities that really mesh well. There’s Reggie Wayne, who’s been here 14 years, and then DonteMoncrief, a rookie who’s coming in making big plays.

A few weeks ago, you were demolishing the Giants and it looked like you spent the entire second half laughing. What the hell were you laughing about?

I’m not sure. I do think you go through a large range of emotions in football. You get mad. You get happy. Sometimes you just got a smile on your face and you enjoy playing.

Do you do anything to keep it light?

Sometimes you play better when you’re enjoying it. Every now and then guys will crack jokes or something will happen and usually it’s when we’re winning. When we’re losing, no one wants to laugh.

What is it like watching Griff Whalen, your college roommate, be successful?

It’s really awesome. This’ll be our seventh year playing together. We were on the scout team our freshman year at Stanford together until Griff got too good and went and started returning punts for the team. We had the same room sophomore year on - although we don’t room together now.

I think we both realize that it’s pretty special to play professionally with the guy that was your roommate in college and he’s such a great dude and a great teammate.

You have a reputation for being level headed. Who keeps your ego in check when you’re throwing for 300 yards a game?

My girlfriend definitely keeps me in check. I think the locker room dynamic is great. You know as soon as you get on a high horse about something, you’re getting knocked down pretty quick.

Who’s the guy in the locker room who tells you to shut up?

Everybody, at some point, has told me to shut up, but it’s Wayne more often than not. It’s awesome to have an older presence like that. A guy like that who’s been around and seen everything: You know when he tells you to shut up it’s for a good reason. 

Photos by Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports