SportTechie’s new series features the views and opinions of the athletes who use and are powered by technology.As part of this series, SportTechie talked to Marshall Newhouse about what he has learned from wearable devices, his interest in technology, and his post-NFL business plans.
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Marshall Newhouse is a veteran offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers, with prior stops playing for the Buffalo Bills, Oakland Raiders, New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers. He won the Super Bowl with the Packers as a rookie, and later became the team’s starting left tackle charged with protecting quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ blind side.
He studied advertising and public relations at TCU, graduating in 2010. Newhouse lists “entrepreneur” first on his Twitter profile, even ahead of “Super Bowl Champ.” He lives in Austin in the offseason, and in 2017 he joined a SXSW panel on the intersection between technology, fashion, and politics.
The Use of Wearables
“There’s a nonstop kind of assault in that area for athletes, whatever you want. Whether it’s heart monitoring, GPS, biometrics, sweat—there’s a litany of stuff. I haven’t been an early adopter for a lot of stuff. I’ve known about it, but I haven’t actually implemented it into my routine because I’m so habitual.
“Offensive line is a unique position. It’s still misunderstood by a lot of people who do football stuff for a living. That applies directly to GPS, too. We’re in a stance. Sometimes we’ve moving backwards or applying force in different ways biomechanically. Sometimes we’re moving forward pushing things or pushing other players. And sometimes we are flat-out running, but it’s not as fast or as linear as other positions, so it’s harder to track.
“What they tracked when we had it, it was just distance covered. As a lineman, if I’m covering a ton of distance, most likely I’m running a lot, and that means there’s an exponentially larger wear and tear on my body. They use that data for recovery. I’d be interested to see what Catapult’s doing as far as fine-tuning that to what a lineman does on a play-by-play basis, factoring in his weight and how much force he’s producing and how that affects how he breaks down over a practice, a game, or a season.”
Heart Rate and Sleep Monitoring
“I’ve learned how unique everyone’s body is and how it reacts to stress and stressors and how that affects your performance. When you read a chart after you’ve worn a heart-rate monitor, you realize where you’re peaking, where you’re having lulls, and where your body’s freaking out a little bit. You learn about stuff that you knew innately, but you could never really translate it into a language of sorts and a way to actually apply it.
“I’m 29 and have been playing for nine years, so there’s a lot of stuff I wish I had known when I was in college about my stamina, my explosion, my output, or even what day of the week to hit legs, or when after a hard practice to get stretched—all those little things that go into fine-tuning how an athlete performs.
“I’m a terrible sleeper, and I absolutely knew it. I had actually been tested a few times for sleep apnea, and every time they tell me that I have a mild case but not bad enough to need a CPAP machine. I have known for a decade now that I don’t sleep through the night, but eventually I hope something comes along that helps me with that. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I’m an offensive lineman and we play at an unnatural weight.”
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Origin of His Interest in Tech
“My dad’s a computer programmer, so we built PCs back in the day. Tech’s been in my blood. I used to play video games all the time, and I briefly did it for small amounts of money because I thought I was cool, not knowing that there would eventually be esports. I used to watch the old TechTV nonstop. I’ve always been interested in tech, not really thinking it could be a career choice especially because I was focused on football, but that’s always been a hobby of mine.
“I used to play a lot of CounterStrike back in junior high, high school—probably more than I needed to, if you ask my parents. Then I transitioned off that to console gaming. I’ve been wanting another [PC]. I’m waiting until I retire to get in one place and I’ll probably get back into it.”
“Earlier in my career, I had a lot of good advice and good advisers in my life—from my parents to other people—about something as accessible as real estate. I’ve got residential properties, I’ve gotten involved in small [limited partnerships] for shopping malls, strip centers, and commercial real estate. That exposure jogs your business mind and gets you thinking on a different level about your return on your investment and about how you go into those situations.
“It’s just a constant learning process that transitions into other avenues of business, whether that’s tech, [consumer packaged goods], food and beverage, or stuff like that. That was my first foray, and I still do real estate. The goal is to have that in the background, churning and making money, eventually for my kids to take over. That was my initial interest in getting into it, especially in Texas, which is so real estate- and business-friendly.”
(Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
“I had a mentor of mine, Ryan Nece, lead me around. He runs a venture fund in Silicon Valley, and we just spent four, five days out there—going to booths, talking to start-up founders, venture CEOs, and just immersing myself as much as possible with people in that industry.
“It’s overwhelming. It’s like a flash-bang grenade of the entire industry in one place. On top of that, it’s in Las Vegas. I stayed for the first day in the health tech side, which kind of ties directly into sports and what I do on a daily basis.
“There were a bunch of virtual reality booths, augmented reality booths that, as we’re seeing, are going to revolutionize what you can accomplish in sports as far as rehab, as far as prehab, as far as taking players’ games to the next level. There was a big shift to biometrics and health monitoring. There’s a company called Orig3n—they do a lot of blood testing. They’ve got a partnership with the 49ers, I believe. “
Life After Football
“I did a week at a business summit in New York City [in February] put on by Kaleb Thornhill called Athletes Transition University. He works for the Miami Dolphins, and it’s a way to help NFL players plan for the future and plan for whatever business looks like for them, either while they’re still playing or when football’s done.
“It’s been awesome meeting other players who are doing great things in business and have high expectations for themselves – either in tech and investing like me or in different ways. From a guy like Kelvin Beachum who’s all over the place and just killing it—he’s doing an incredible job in business while also executing his day job, which is football. Or a guy like Ndamukong Suh, who’s really involved. His involvements are less public, but he’s got a lot going on behind the scenes. Then there’s a guy like Justin Forsett who’s literally got a company right now called ShowerPill, which is now sold at Target stores nationwide.
“A lot of athletes are out there doing incredible things in business, and I don’t think it gets talked about enough. These guys are pillars in the community. They’re doing amazing work in the nonprofit sector to give back while also working hard as leaders and innovators – all on top of being professional athletes. I don’t think I’m doing anything particularly unique, but I do want to be a part of changing that public perception of what athletes can do and can be.”
Marshall Newhouse reviewed this content before publication.