Second year quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III are certainly the future star quarterbacks of the NFL. But if it wasn't clear by now, the Saturday afternoon Chiefs vs Colts game confirmed it. Andrew Luck is the star quarterback of the future. He may lack the star power of Griffin III and charisma of Wilson, but Luck uses his own unique ways to win and it shows by him leading the Colts to 22-10 regular season record in his first two seasons as their signal caller.
A lot of people haven't been shy about their praise for Luck, including Bill Belichick. There was obvious praise for the comeback manufactured by Luck, but it didn't stop there. "He's obviously a smart guy. He works hard, he's tough, he has good leadership skills."
While it's commonplace for opposing coach's to speak well of an upcoming opposing team (for fear of speaking ill could prove to be bulletin board fodder), Belichick could have done his patented "there a good team, they fight hard," etc., using general phrases while never showing his hand. He didn't necessarily have to divulge his feelings on Luck, but he did, and it's obvious Belichick respects him.
The Patriots/Colts playoff rivalry is a storied history, but it will have a different feel than of year's past. That's because number 12, and not number 18 will be lining up under center. But just because the Colts have another quarterback doesn't mean their offense isn't as potent as the offenses Peyton Manning commandeered earlier in the 2000's. While surely the Colts put up some duds in the regular season, they also have some surprisingly respectable wins, against Seattle and at San Francisco; two teams that are still in the hunt to win the Super Bowl. And the 35 points they hung on the Chiefs' defense in the second half (#9 ranked defense in DVOA) is no joke.
The Patriots/Colts matchup this coming Saturday night is an interesting one. It's obviously a duel of great quarterbacks, and could be seen of a changing of the guard, especially if Luck defeats Brady this weekend and Manning (assuming the Broncos win their game), his predecessor, the next Sunday to reach the Super Bowl. There are some interesting questions also at hand. How will the Colts, a dome team, fare in New England outside? Will the Patriots contain TY Hilton? They've had problems with speedy receivers all year, as Josh Gordon vigorously nods his head in approval. But most of all, will the Patriots be able to weather the storm? The Colts can almost score at will when their offense is clicking, so if they score, will Tom Brady & co. be able slow it down and keep Andrew Luck off the field? The Chiefs couldn't, and that is why they will be watching the rest of the playoffs from their couches. Belichick was right for his praise with his Luck, because the Colts' Super Bowl hopes fall directly on his shoulders.