Make Your Own Luck

Dec 12 / Build Muscle

In his three years flinging footballs at Stanford University, Andrew Luck drew raves from draft gurus as the best pro quarterback prospect of his generation, earning comparisons to legends John Elway (a fellow Cardinal alum) and Peyton Manning (the man whose job Luck would eventually usurp).

So the Indianapolis Colts chose Luck first overall in April's NFL Draft. With potential like that (plus good genes from his dad, former NFL QB Oliver Luck), how could they not? Even if it meant severing ties with Manning—four-time MVP, Super Bowl champ, national icon—and handing over the keys to a fresh-faced 22-year-old rookie.

To Luck, though, all the hype in the world means diddly squat. "It's very flattering, but you don't win any football games because people say you're a good prospect," he says. "So I don't buy into it."

Instead, Luck will try to win some football games—even three would best the the Colts' woeful 2-14 mark in 2011—with his cannon of an arm, pristine accuracy, and soldier-like smarts on the field. He makes his NFL debut this Sunday against the Chicago Bears, and you can bet a whole lot of folks—including those talking heads who have labeled Luck as a franchise savior—will be tuned in to their tubes to see how the rookie fares.

Until then, the QB waits for the longest week of his life to be over, so Sunday—and with it, The Andrew Luck Era—can begin in earnest. Here, he reveals how to live up to lofty expectations, handle pressure with ease, and laugh off a barrage of bad puns. (Apologies for that headline, man.)

Men's Health: With Sunday fast approaching, what's running through your mind right now?

Andrew Luck: I'm not quite afraid of anything, but I'm nervous because I put a lot of work in, and I want to succeed. A lot of people are emotionally and physically invested in this team, so I don't want to let those guys down. And I don't want to lose football games or embarrass myself.

Men's Health: The average guy isn't likely to find himself being asked to lead a football team any time soon, but your position isn't so uncommon—that of "the new guy" who's called on to perform a tough task. How do you lead in a situation like that?

Andrew Luck: I received some very helpful advice: Just because you're picked high, or young, or in somewhat of a leadership position, doesn't mean you know everything—by any means at all. I think there's a lot to be learned from your teammates and older guys around you. And there are many ways to lead. You don't have to change your personality to be a leader. (Heading up a big project? Study these musclemorphosis.com.)

Men's Health: What's been the toughest adjustment you've had to make to the NFL so far, from a lifestyle standpoint?

Andrew Luck: Just sort of organizing your day. There's no more class I have to go to, no more training table I have to eat at, and no more study sessions I have to attend. I have a lot more freedom. So scheduling my day and making sure I build a good, quality routine is something I really tried to do in the preseason to figure out what will work in the regular season. I asked some of the older guys on the team: When do you take care of your body? When do you take care of your bills? Your bank stuff? Your family? That's something I've been trying to learn.

Men's Health: You're partnering with Quaker for the musclemorphosis.com, which urges kids to go outside and play. What can fathers do to encourage their kids to stay active?

Andrew Luck: Well, I was always impressed by how much my dad went out in the yard and played with me and my siblings when we were kids. I'm sure he was tired coming back from work, since he traveled a lot. But he always took time out of his day to go out in the yard. I remember when we lived in Germany, he taught me how to take a 3-step drop outside, and I'm sure the German neighbors were walking by wondering, "What the hell is that weird ball they're throwing out in the front yard?" [Laughs] My dad never really told us we had to go outside . . . it was more that he went out with us. And that carried over. (Plan a great escape with your kids using the musclemorphosis.com.)

Men's Health: Let's flash forward to next February, when this season will have wrapped up. Put on your prognosticator's hat and tell me what your biggest accomplishment was as a rookie.

Andrew Luck: [Laughs] Well, I hope I won the Super Bowl. I realize that's what every team wants to do, but that's why you practice and why you play. If you can make it to the playoffs, you've got a chance to win the Super Bowl. That's sort of our goal.

Men's Health: What's the most cringeworthy "Luck" pun you've ever seen, just so we know not to use it for this story?

Andrew Luck: The worst ones always came when Stanford played Notre Dame, because of the whole Irish thing. "The Luck of the Irish." But I don't think you'll be going with an Irish-themed headline, so you'll be safe.

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