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Andrew Luck has Michael Jordan traits, Colts GM says

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NFL Replay
will re-air the Indianapolis Colts' 45-44 win over the Kansas City Chiefs from Wild Card Weekend on Monday, Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. ET and again at midnight ET.

Luck had more game-winning drives than Peyton Manning had wins through their first 21 NFL starts. Nearly half of Luck's 23 victories have been of the comeback variety.

Luck's uncanny ability to master the crucial moment already has Colts officials sizing him up for the Mt. Rushmore of American athletes.

"He's always been a different animal in the fourth quarter, his whole life," general manager Ryan Grigson told NFL Media's Albert Breer. "... It's like (Michael) Jordan when he'd take that last shot -- he wants the ball.

"This guy, we're so blessed, he wants the ball in those situations," Grigson went on. "Other guys don't want the ball; they want to hand it off. They don't really want it -- they're gonna be half-stepping it. This kid is gonna rear back and throw a bomb when he has all the pressure on him. And that's a thing of beauty. You're born with that."

I made the argument in July that Luck boasts all the tangibles and intangibles to join the discussion for greatest of all time in a best-case career scenario. Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwinespoused the same belief in early October.

After watching Luck throw for the fifth-most yards in playoff history, coach Chuck Pagano can't stop himself from showering his "Meal Ticket" with similar praise.

"There's been some great ones," Pagano told Breer. "But (Luck is) gonna go down as probably one of the best, if not the best ever to play this game when everything is all said and done. We're very, very fortunate to have No. 12 on our side."

If I was starting an NFL franchise from scratch, Luck would be my number one pick. After losing his top running back (Ahmad Bradshaw), tight end (Dwayne Allen) and wide receiver (Reggie Wayne) to season-ending injuries, he put the rest of the talent-deficient offense on his back to win the AFC South.

Multiple teammates attributed Saturday's comeback victory to Luck's force of will. There's not another player in the league who would have successfully converted Donald Brown's fumble into a touchdown as Luck did by force of instinct, athleticism and physicality.

A more subtle expression of Luck's greatness is this key pass to LaVon Brazill late in the third quarter of Saturday's battle. Pushed outside the pocket, he casually and confidently brushes off an oncoming pass rusher to extend the play and hit Brazill on the sideline for a 30-yard gain.

Skeptical football fans might scoff at the idea of a quarterback possessing the "it" factor, but league executives have been searching high and low for "it" since the early days of the league. That practice won't stop anytime soon.

"That's him, that's how he's wired, that's in his DNA," Pagano continued. "We talk about 'it' -- he's got 'it.' You see a lot of guys that would go in the tank and couldn't put (the interceptions) past them. It's like a great cover corner. They have amnesia. He's able to put that behind him, put this team on his shoulders and carry us to another victory."

The latest "Around The League Podcast" recapped all the Wild Card Weekend action.

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