Sportress of Blogitude

Andrew Luck apparently baffles opponents with excessive kindness


The kind of things football players say to one another on the gridiron during the heat of battle arguably could make the most foulmouthed sailor blush. So it is somewhat surprising that Andrew Luck, believed to be one of the fiercest competitors at the quarterback position, doesn’t use trash talk to get into the heads of opponents.

Instead, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback kills them with kindness by being far too complimentary to foes, especially when one of them lays a particularly mean hit on him.

A piece by Kevin Clark published by The Wall Street Journal contains culled quotes from Luck’s opponents that illustrate just how confusing it can be for a player to be treated so kindly by a fierce rival, especially during the high-emotion, high-tension and excessively brutal action that typifies an NFL game.

“In all the years I’ve played football I have never heard anything like it,” said Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan. “Nothing even close.”

Luck apparently offers up such congratulatory messages as “What a hit!” or “Great job” after an opponent lays him out with a hard hit.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Nolan Carroll, recalling a game when he was a member of the Miami Dolphins last season, said he heard “Great job, Nolan!” as he returned to the defensive huddle after putting Luck to the turf just as the QB released the football.

“Then I realized it was Luck who said it. I’m like ‘what’s going on? Aren’t you supposed to be mad?’” Carroll said. “So then I’m the one who gets ticked off because an upbeat attitude isn’t something you see.”

New England Patriots’ Rob Ninkovich also recalled being left confused by Luck’s nice guy persona.

“Thanks for…uh…accepting that hit?” Niknovich said about how he responded to Luck’s complimentary comments after the pass rusher buried the Colts quarterback on a play.

In total, The Wall Street Journal contacted 12 NFL players who have recorded a sack or knockdown of Luck. All had somewhat the same characterizations of Luck’s expressions of friendliness following a play.

Washington Redskins linebacker Trent Murphy, who was Luck’s teammate at Stanford, said Luck doesn’t even know how to truly talk trash.

“His idea of trash talk is complimenting people,” he said.

“He’s yelling ‘nice hit, nice hit!’ and we’re like ‘uh, no one else does this.’” Murphy said about times when Luck would interrupt Stanford film sessions to add commentary.

Former Stanford tight end Zach Ertz concedes that some of Luck’s antics involves some gamesmanship, so in a way, even though it doesn’t sound like it, Luck’s praise of opponents is in itself a form of smack talk in that it takes them out of their game. In playing the nice guy, Luck manages to get into opponents’ heads by being excessively nice.

“You want to say thank you but then you say ‘wait a second–I’m not supposed to like you!’” Kerrigan said.