Six weeks after saying goodbye to Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts handed Andrew Luck a blue and white jersey and the daunting task of leading a rebuilding team as its quarterback for the next decade.
Luck couldn't have chosen a tougher act to follow — all Manning did was win an unprecedented four MVP awards and a Super Bowl for Indy. But many believe he is the most NFL-ready passer to enter the league since Manning went No. 1 overall in 1998.
"You don't really replace a guy like that," Luck said. "You can't. You just try to do the best you can. Obviously, he was my hero growing up."
His selection as the top pick was hardly a surprise. The Colts informed the Stanford quarterback last week that Commissioner Roger Goodell would announce his name first Thursday night. Right behind him was Baylor QB Robert Griffin III, the Heisman Trophy winner, who was taken second overall by the Washington Redskins. No suspense attached to that pick, either.
After being loudly booed at the outset, Goodell told a raucous crowd at Radio City Music Hall in New York that "the season begins tonight, so let's kick if off." Then he did, congratulating Luck while the crowd chanted "RG3, RG3."
Luck left the stage and slapped hands with some fans in Colts shirts and headed to the interview room.