Date: 10/19/2013

MC10 Adds Andrew Luck to Sports Advisory Board

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck has led the Colts to a 4-1 record in his second season. He’s likely the best young quarterback in football. And yet, he hasn’t enjoyed the visibility of some of his fellow young quarterbacks, such as Robert Griffin III or Colin Kaepernick. That’s partly by design. Luck has been held back from glitzy commercial deals in favor of more “creative” endeavors, he said.

On Thursday, he announced a partnership with MC10, a tech startup that makes a sensor that can fit inside a football helmet that measures force when a player receives a hit. Luck will be a part of the “Sports Advisory Board” for the company alongside his teammate, backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who played alongside MC10’s head of sports products, Isaiah Kacyvenski, with the Seattle Seahawks. Luck said a tech startup is an example of an appealing endorsement for him. The Wall Street Journal spoke with him about his marketability, his Stanford education and the Colts’ play this season.

You haven’t done as many endorsements as many other NFL quarterbacks or young NFL stars and this one isn’t a typical athlete endorsement, what is your general philosophy on endorsements?

First of all, let me preface this by saying there are multiple ways to skin a cat and what I do is best for me and may not be best for another person. To me, I make sure I endorse things or get involved with things you don’t have to lie about when talking. Look at your bullet points and talk about it. Make sure you can talk about whatever it is I endorse because I use it every day and it is helpful. I talked to my agent and my dad early on in the process and I said let’s be creative and think about some of the things that are outside the box and specifically to MC10, it’s an outlet for some of the creative thinking that I miss from my college days and what they are doing with the health and safety in sports, I think I can help and hopefully prove that and hopefully help them continue to do good things.

You are joining up with a company that makes concussion warning devices, is there anything in particular that appeals to you about what they are trying to do or something you’d like them to do?

Most importantly, they are a problem solving company. Obviously you have to have some commercial success to be able to sustain the ability to solve problems, but it doesn’t have any ulterior motives. As a player, you appreciate that. In school, I loved doing the group projects, studying architecture, getting in a room and thinking of the problem and drawing things out and figuring out the best way to approach the project and hopefully I can share those opinions and I’m sure I will with folks. Get together with some of the other athletes. As an athlete you appreciate people that are trying to either create a safer way to do things or gather data and metrics on things and obviously the head trauma part of football is a big issue and there’s not much data on it, you aren’t sure what’s happening there.

You mentioned architecture, do you ever get to apply your degree to football in any way?

Maybe there is but I’m not going to say it made me a better football player because I studied architecture. But being out of school for over a year now I do miss some of the things about studying architecture and the group projects and figuring out creative solutions and that’s a big thing of what appealed to me with MC10. It wasn’t just a PR “You are going to talk to these four guys and make sure you wear an MC10 shirt at this event.” They want your opinion. [Colts quarterback] Matt [Hasselbeck] goes to their labs and talks to their engineers and says what could be better and I definitely want to be involved like Matt.

Do you think there’s an element involved here where, because you haven’t been in commercials, haven’t been trying to host “Saturday Night Live” or trying to be super visible that you’ve been overlooked even among your draft class?

You know, I don’t know, I don’t really view it like that. I don’t think it’s hurt me in any way, I don’t know if it would have helped me if I had or not. This is the path I chose to go and I can’t complain about any of it.

The one thing about the Colts offense is they are very clear that they want to run. As a young quarterback, what is your comfort level in having fewer attempts than other quarterbacks in a passing league? When you see some of these unreal numbers from quarterbacks every Sunday and you have conservative stats, is that something you are comfortable with?

Absolutely. Pep’s [Hamilton, offensive coordinator] philosophy, and I’m 100% behind it, and the team philosophy is that you have to stop the run defensively, offensively you’ve got to run the ball. We’ve managed to win more than we lost at this point. Are we perfect? No, but I firmly believe the passing game is better because of that.

Do you see defenses off-balance just because they so rarely see running offenses in the NFL? You’ve got guys throwing 40 or 50 times a week and defenses adjust by throwing more cornerbacks out there or playing smaller defenders or less linebackers, does it seem like they are caught off guard by your offense?

Sometimes watching film you see the defense you are going up against that week and it’s hard to find clips of teams running the ball and going into bigger people formations. I don’t know if teams are caught off guard by it—in modern football you’ve got to throw and run at some point but we’d like to think that running the ball is very important and will help the passing game when that comes along. A gain of two yards in the first quarter, as that comes along, goes to seven or eight yards or 20 yards in the third quarter. You have to be patient with it.

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