WSJ – Luck has become famous for congratulating – sincerely and enthusiastically – any player to hit him hard. Any sack is met with a hearty congratulations, such as “great job
or “what a hit!” He yells it after hard hits that don’t result in sacks, too. It is, players say, just about the weirdest thing any quarterback does in the NFL.
It’s stories like this that make me glad the Patriots already took care of the Baltimore Ravens. As fun as it was going into the Ravens game with a pure hatred for the opponent, I can only take that level of stress so often. With Andrew Luck and his delicious neck beard coming to Foxboro I can breathe easy, for I know he will bring plenty of compliments for the opposing team with him and he will leave with a yet another Belichick-induced loss under his belt. At this point the story lines have been worn out but to be quite honest there weren’t many to start with. The best thing about this game will be whether or not Adam Vinatieri can continue his streak of never missing a field goal when it matters most (Thanks Adam!).
The NFL missed out on the always lucrative Patriots/Broncos match-up when Peyton Manning fully developed into a ghost of his former self, with the new version being transparent for a full playoff football game rather than just the second half. Instead we are graced with a Brady vs. Luck match-up, one that to this point has looked a lot like Maximus vs. The Emperor on repeat, with a huge nod to the running game. (Patriots average margin of victory in the past three games vs. The Colts: 26 points.)
It’s not easy to root against Luck and the Indianapolis Colts. Alright maybe that is an exaggeration. Jim Irsay, their owner, is simply a huge dirt bag. But forget that. For now, let’s focus on the good.
Colt’s head coach Chuck Pagano is the type of guy you want to succeed. His battle with cancer in the midst of his first season with the Colts was captivating and inspirational. Members of the team shaved their heads to show their support. If you haven’t seen his locker room speech during his first visit back to the Colts locker room, you should really take a look. There is just something about that type of thing that captivates me. That’s a big reason it won’t be nearly as fun to watch Tom Brady and the Patriots blow them out of Gillette Stadium this Sunday as it would have been if Peyton Manning was currently packing his Depends for a trip to Foxboro.
Luck might be “next” in the AFC, but Brady is still the line leader. Somewhere in this make-believe AFC Quarterback’s 3rd grade class Big Ben is stuffing Andy Dalton into a locker.