Andrew Luck Leads Colts Into National Spotlight In 2015

Intro: Three years ago today, the Colts selected Andrew Luck with the top overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. What does Jim Irsay think looking back on Luck’s progression into his fourth NFL season?

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INDIANAPOLIS – The Colts better get used to a little variety in their 2015 schedule.

Primetime matchups make up nearly a third of their games in 2015, a sign that outside expectations for this year's Colts remains high.

After three seasons, the draw of Andrew Luck and the Colts carry some serious weight around the NFL.

Back in Luck's rookie season of 2012, the Colts appeared in just one primetime game—the mandatory Thursday Night matchup, which every team in the league plays in each year.

The bright lights will shine on Luck several times in 2015 and that's to no surprise to Owner Jim Irsay.

Back in the 2011 season finale, when Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew stretched for a late first-down run against Indianapolis, thus clinching the game for Jacksonville and therefore giving the No. 1 pick to the Colts, Irsay knew.

The elevator ride down to the visiting locker room in Jacksonville marked the end of an era, and at the same time a beginning of a new one.

Luck was the centerpiece of the Colts moving forward, yet remaining a mainstay in any conversation involving the elite teams in the league.

"When you watched (Luck) in college, when the play breaks down, in that half a second, he does things that are so innate and so unusual," Irsay said during the Colts playoff run last season. "That's when the magic happens.

"He just decides in a split second, and he has the athletic and the physical skills to do that with his arm strength, with his feet. So really the sky is the limit."

The strictly physical, quarterback tools scouts critique year in and year out are of no issue to Luck.

Irsay goes as far to say he thinks that Luck could be a Pro Bowl tight end due to his athletic ability and rare strength seen at the quarterback position.

A quarterback embracing contact is a scary thought for any teammate or coach, but that fear is only greater for a defense trying to contain such a unique player.

What ultimately put Luck in rarified air when he left Stanford are the intangibles that are hard to quantify.

"With Andrew, it's exciting, he's so humble. What you see is what you get," Irsay said.

"He's so authentic and that's the reason our team rallies around him because he is a hardworking, humble guy, and he does not want any special treatment. He's a football player. He's a football player."

The Colts enter 2015 firmly in the spotlight with beliefs inside and outside of the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center having them as one of the last few teams (or team) standing.

Luck is the general of that march, one the Colts hope takes this team back to where the quarterback spent his college days---the Bay Area, site of Super Bowl 50.

"I really think the best is yet to come with him," Irsay said as he watches another of the game's finest signal callers lead his team.

"It's exciting to watch, because he's a guy who you know when all of a sudden that magic moment comes, when everything breaks down, he makes a decision and makes a play that's just incredible. That is what you've seen from him through the years, so it's just exciting to stay tuned and see what else he's going to produce as he goes forward."

Some of my favorite black and white images of Andrew Luck from the 2014 season.

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