Pressure Is on Andrew Luck to Follow Up a Pro Bowl Campaign

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Pressure Is on Andrew Luck to Follow Up a Pro Bowl Campaign
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Shadows grow longer with time, Andrew.

Andrew Luck's magical rookie season drew to a close in Honolulu.

He threw for more yards than any other quarterback in the 2012 Pro Bowl and offset a pair of turnovers with two beautiful touchdown throws.

With the bow firmly placed on 2012, Luck now faces a greater challenge: topping himself.

Luck is one of just nine rookie quarterbacks to make the Pro Bowl.

The first three are all in the Hall of Fame.

Joe Namath didn't make the Pro Bowl in his second season, but did lead the league in passing yards and would go in his next three seasons.

Bob Griese did return to the Pro Bowl in 1968 and added six other trips in his decorated career.

Then there's Dan Marino. His stellar rookie season was followed by one of the great passing campaigns in NFL history. He put up 5,084 yards and 48 scores in his sophomore turn.

Of course, making the Pro Bowl on the first try isn't a punched ticket to Canton. Vince Young pulled it off and followed it up by throwing nine touchdowns and 17 picks in year two.

Most of the rookie honorees have come in the last two years. Five rookie quarterbacks made the game from 2011 to 2012. Cam Newton actually improved in his second season but missed out on an invitation, in part because Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson outplayed him.

The same could be said for Andy Dalton. His second season was measurably better than his first. Other than his sack rate, he played just as well in 2012 as he did in 2011, but Luck stepped up and outplayed him.

There's a degree of randomness in whether or not a player makes the Pro Bowl. Most of the rookie quarterbacks only qualified because of injuries to other more qualified players.

Still, the bar has been set high for Luck, and the heat will be on for him to meet it. There are areas where he has to improve, and fans will be looking for him to make a major leap forward.

Even if he does, however, Newton and Dalton illustrate just how difficult it is to get that second straight invitation to the Pro Bowl. Even if Luck raises his completion percentage and cuts his interceptions, he won't be judged on the rookie scale any more.

How hard Luck works and dedicates himself to advancing his craft over the offseason will go a long way to whether or not he gets rewarded with a second all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii.

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