Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson Talk NFL Playoffs in Exclusive with Rachel Nichols

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJanuary 10, 2014

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 29:  Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks passes against the St. Louis Rams at CenturyLink Field on December 29, 2013 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

It's certainly easy to forget that Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck are only second-year players based upon their on-field play.

That also proves true off the field, as it did as the two players sat down for a newly released interview with CNN's Rachel Nichols regarding the 2014 playoffs.

Wilson's Seahawks are the No. 1 seed in the NFC and the prohibitive favorites to reach the Super Bowl. Nichols pointed out that few could have predicted such success for Wilson so quickly, but the determined signal-caller realizes that there is plenty of work left to be done.

Luck's Colts aren't considered a favorite like the squad from the Pacific Northwest, but the second-year signal-caller still finds a way to make his side dangerous every week. Just ask the Chiefs, who fell victim to a 28-point second-half comeback at the hands of Luck and Co. last Saturday.

At times, both quarterbacks sound as much like scholars as they do world-class athletes. That approach is evidenced on the field week in and week out with both players' cerebral style transforming to success on a weekly basis.

It can be argued that the Seahawks have enjoyed more "championship days" than any other team over the course of the season. Seattle went 13-3, and none of its losses came by more than a single score, which means that the Seahawks have been competitive in each and every game.

Seattle will host the New Orleans Saints at CenturyLink Field on Jan. 11, and it's certainly hopeful that the game will resemble the previous meeting between these two teams this season. The Seahawks systematically dismantled Drew Brees and the Saints in Week 13 by a score of 34-7, although the Saints exorcised some road demons by beating the Philadelphia Eagles last week.

The Colts finished 11-5 in the regular season, but playing in the disappointing AFC South didn't allow the team to gain nearly as much respect as the Seahawks were able to gain in the formidable NFC West division.

Wilson has plenty in common with his quarterbacking counterpart in his contest as he and Drew Brees are the NFL's two shortest quarterbacks. Their styles of play are certainly different; however, Wilson acknowledged that he has faced some challenges and criticism regarding his size, just like Brees:

Well, honestly, being a 5'11" quarterback, not too many people think that you can play in the National Football League. And so for me, you know, I knew that my height doesn't define my skill set, you know?  I believed in my talent. I believed in what God gave me. I believed in the knowledge that I have of the game. I believe in that constant quest for knowledge that I always try to strive for.

Brees symbolically broke down barriers for shorter quarterbacks when he won Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. Wilson seems ready to follow in his footsteps, so it is only fitting that he will have to outduel Brees to continue his pursuit of a championship.

Luckily for the Seahawks, Wilson has already displayed a penchant for coming through in the clutch. According to NFL on ESPN, Wilson is tied for the second-most game-winning drives over the past two seasons, with nine:

Luck faces a similar task, even if Tom Brady is taller than Brees in stature. Luck may have proven himself as a winner so far in his short career, but Brady's three Super Bowl wins put him in an elite category when it comes to naming the NFL's greatest winners.

A quarterback's clutch factor is difficult to measure, but Wilson and Luck certainly seem to have it in spades. Their heroics weren't needed every week throughout the season, but things are almost always tighter in the playoffs.

There are no guarantees in the NFL, but these two young arms seem confident and clearly know what needs to be done in order to push their franchises to that elusive championship level.


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