Expert Interview with adidas’ Jeff Morris on Football and Playing to Win

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Interview with Jeff Morris, adidas Football Product Manager…

What was the first sport you learned to play as a child?

I think the first sport I learned to play was probably basketball. I grew up on a farm in Oregon with my nearest friend living about 6 miles away, so I played a lot of “one-on-none” out on our gravel driveway with an old 7-foot hoop. Somehow I found a way to pretend to be both Michael Jordan and Clyde Drexler at the same time – each of them would trade shots down the stretch until the final seconds when the Clyde version of me would turn the tables on reality and hit the game winner over Jordan, and the Blazers would bring home another world championship.

What sport do you enjoy most today?

From the day I started playing it at age 10 until today, football has been and always will be my favorite sport. I try to continue to play it as much as possible, whether it’s flag football through a local rec league (league champs!) or just tossing the football around the office.

What motivates you?

I’m motivated by challenges. The process of being confronted with a challenge, thinking through different scenarios and ultimately coming up with a solution to solve that challenge, is a very fulfilling process for me.

What tips do you have for others wanting to try or excel at this sport?

If there’s one piece of advice I can give about playing football, it would be to know your assignment on every single play. The beauty of football is that it takes all 11 players doing what they are supposed to do on every play for that play to work. If one guy misses his assignment, the play will fail.

How would you describe your sport style? (High Performance, Gear Getter or No-Frills)

I would say I’m a combination of high Performance and Gear Getter. I definitely have my go-to gear, but at the same time, working at a place like adidas makes it easy to get the latest and greatest gear, and it’s fun to try out the new stuff early.

What do you like best about working for adidas?

The people, hands down. The people are what make adidas such a fun and energetic place to work, and are one of the main reasons that it is so easy to come into work every day. I consider many of my coworkers to be close friends, one of them even became a groomsman in my wedding!

What does “play to win” mean to you?

Even though I have a pretty laid-back personality, I am a very competitive person. To me, “play to win” means exactly what it says – when I play sports, I am trying to win the game. Some people say the purpose of sports is to have fun. I disagree with that statement. The objective of a sport or a game is to win. Fun is simply a byproduct of the competition

What’s your favorite adidas product and why? adidas adizero smoke

The adizero Smoke, of course! I love how visually eye-catching it is. The idea for this design came from one of our designers who took an old cleat and spray painted it in three big, bold color-blocked sections. He had the shoe sitting at his desk and every time someone walked by they would stop and pick up the shoe. What’s great about it is whether you are looking at it from 5 feet away, watching on TV, or sitting in the stands at a game, you can always tell the player is wearing the adizero Smoke.


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