In a number of NFL cities, the backup quarterback is one of the most popular players in town. In Indianapolis, however, for as much as fans may like Matt Hasselbeck, he's the one player that nobody wants to ever see on the field in a meaningful situation. That says nothing about Hasselbeck himself but rather everything about Andrew Luck, the team's franchise player.
Don't let Luck's importance to the team fool you, though: Matt Hasselbeck is a good player; in fact, he's one of the best backup quarterbacks in the entire league. The 16-year veteran has played in 201 career games (starting 152) and has completed 60.4% of his passes for 34,948 yards (23rd-most all-time), 203 touchdowns (tied for 36th-most all-time) and 148 interceptions, good for a passer rating of 82.3. He led the Seattle Seahawks to the Super Bowl in 2005 and has been named to three Pro Bowl teams. Spending the last two seasons with the Colts as Luck's backup, Hasselbeck has only seen time in mop-up duty in relief of Luck, completing 37 of 56 passes (66.1%) for 431 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for a passer rating of 93.7.
The Colts opted to re-sign the 39-year old quarterback this offseason to a one-year, $3 million deal to bring him back as the backup for their star player for a third season. He is one of Andrew Luck's closest friends on the team and a valuable sounding board for Luck, and Hasselbeck realizes that with Luck under center the Colts have a legitimate chance to win a Super Bowl - the reason he opted to return to Indy instead of seeking a starting job somewhere else.
Obviously, Matt Hasselbeck entering the game for the Colts in a meaningful situation in 2015 would be the worst-case scenario for the team, as it would mean that something happened to Andrew Luck. And if Luck gets injured, the Colts' chances take a major, major hit. But while they almost certainly wouldn't be title contenders, with Hasselbeck under center it likely wouldn't turn in to a disaster like 2011 did and the Colts could still be a competitive team and pull out some wins. But that would be the worst-case scenario, and the hope is that Hasselbeck will be nothing more than Luck's backup, friend, confidant, and clipboard-holder. And in that role, there's not many in the league better than Matt Hasselbeck.