You do realize that he’s revved up for his architecture trip to India. Andrew Luck has a full life, far beyond the lucrative yet intellectually limited boundaries of pro football, which makes me shrug and giggle when he leads the Indianapolis Colts to the second-greatest comeback victory in NFL postseason history.
If some other quarterback does this, I’m thunderstruck and maybe verklempt. When Luck does this, I expect it.
His three second-half touchdown passes in one of the wildest wild-card games ever? He’d rather talk about the drive to Agra and what he expects at the Taj Mahal.
His instincts in immediately spotting a free ball, fumbled by Donald Brown, and, in a flash, fielding it off the ricochet, busting through the Kansas City defense and lunging ball-first into the end zone? His subsequent 64-yard heave to T.Y. Hilton, splitting two Chiefs for the winning touchdown? Hey, what might you know about Mysore Palace and whether it’s more Dravidian or Indo-Saracenic in blend?
Others hyperventilate when discussing Luck. “We lost that ball, Andrew picks it up and finds a way, as only Andrew Luck can,” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said after the 45-44 win. “That was incredible.”
Luck apologizes when discussing Luck, still moping about three interceptions that everyone else had forgotten. “So happy we won. So proud to be part of this team,” he said. “I felt like I was losing the game for us. I’m so happy that the coach and players stuck by me.”
He is a humble, grounded treasure, a homebody with a girlfriend he met back at Stanford. Don’t ask him to do a commercial or talk about his achievements at great length. Don’t anticipate any You Tube video of him out at night, not when he’s at his place watching his favorite taped shows. If America feels as if it personally knows his legendary predecessor, Peyton Manning, thanks to his plentiful TV face time, we don’t really know much about Luck beyond his mind, his beard and his amazing first two seasons in the heartland, where he somehow has eased the Manning transition and made it a delightful experience.
That isn’t to say he’s just some Stanford nerd. The Colts have ebbed and flowed mysteriously all season, beating Manning and the Broncos along with the Seahawks and 49ers yet suffering blowout losses to St. Louis, Arizona and Cincinnati. After an especially ragged first half against Tennessee, Luck retreated to the locker room and tore into his teammates in an unprecedented rant. “It was to a whole new level,” Colts punter Pat McAfee said. “Normally, he has a calming presence, meaning we know what we have to do to win the game. This was a different Andrew.”
Saturday, Luck felt like screaming at himself at halftime. Instead, down by 28 points in the third quarter, he inspired his team on a day when he threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns. Do you ever dismiss this team’s chances in any game as long as Luck is present? He has played only two pro seasons and already has engineered 11 comebacks in the fourth quarter and overtime, more than any other NFL quarterback.
“We never panicked,” he said.
Because he never panicked.