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Matt Hasselbeck Making Jim Irsay, Colts Fans Sleep Easier At Night

Intro: In becoming the third quarterback of at least 40 years old in NFL history to win four consecutive starts, Matt Hasselbeck is making those around Colts Nation sleep quite easily.


INDIANAPOLIS – That pillow Jim Irsay mentioned in 2013, it's never been softer.

When the Colts inked Matt Hasselbeck to serve as Andrew Luck's backup in March of 2013, the Colts owner fired off this tweet.

Irsay knew the value of a quality backup as he witnessed the 2011 Colts trudge their way to a 2-14 campaign that year, with Peyton Manning missing the entire season.

For Matt Hasselbeck, this was new territory.

From 2001-2012, Hasselbeck hadn't entered an NFL season knowing that no fan wanted to see him get meaningful snaps, to put it bluntly.

Hasselbeck laughs now at the common message he hears from fans when he's out in the city.

"Every offseason everyone says the same thing to me, 'We are so glad you're here...We hope you never play,'" Hasselbeck says as life of a backup quarterback.

"I understand that. But my job is to get ready to play. You never know. You never know what's going to transpire and so far my number has been called a couple of times and I'm just trying to do my best to be ready."

The modest Hasselbeck has done more than his best in keeping the Colts atop the AFC South with a charging Houston, winners of four straight, showing no signs of fading.

On Sunday, Hasselbeck and Ben Roethlisberger are the expected starting quarterbacks some 10 years after the whole world watched them in Super Bowl XL.

Ironically enough, Hasselbeck and Big Ben sit No. 18 and 19 on the NFL's career passing attempts list with 5,224 and 5,220 apiece.

The defense Hasselbeck is going to see in primetime this week is a unit he believes blitzes more than anybody the Colts have faced in 2015.

What Pittsburgh is going to see is a 40-year-old quarterback playing arguably the best football of his life.

It's just four starts this year, but Hasselbeck is averaging 255.8 passing yards per game (would be a career-high), has an average quarterback rating of 94.4 (would be his highest since the 2005 Super Bowl run) and is completing 64.7 percent of his passes (would be a career-high).

The appreciation for Hasselbeck isn't lost within the Colts locker room.

Andrew Luck has endorsed Hasselbeck for his "Pro Bowl" caliber play in four starts (Hasselbeck is 97-of-150 for 1,023 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions this season).

Teammates know how fortunate they are to have someone like Hasselbeck, in a time where their season could have spiraled downward.

Excitement and jubilation over Hasselbeck doesn't stop when he gets home, a place where he's dad to three children.

"The most satisfaction I get is just with my kids," Hasselbeck says of playing at this level in 2015.

"I've got a 10-year-old, 12-year-old and a 14-year-old and there was a point, maybe last year, where they asked me: 'Have you ever run a touchdown?'

Hasselbeck, an 18-year NFL veteran, was confused.

"I'm like, 'What?'"

"It kind of occurred to me that they didn't remember anything I did in Seattle or anything I did (in Tennessee). They really get psyched (now) for our games. (So) it's fun for me to see how excited they get when I play."

All of Colts Nation is sharing in their excitement, while sleeping on an equally soft pillow.

A cold and snowy Wednesday afternoon practice!

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