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  • Writer's pictureHuddle Up with Gus

Matthew McConaughey

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

GUS FREROTTE: Hello, everyone and welcome to huddle up with Gus. I'm your host, Gus Frerotte, and thank you for joining us. You can find us on, and you can also find us on and wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. You are joining us today in the new 16 31 Digital news studio and we are glad to be produced by MTV. We are excited to be on KSIX, you can find us there on Sunday mornings at 10am, right before the NFL gets started. Today is a great day. We were joined this week by a great guest who grew up in Texas, told us about how sports shaped his life. Matthew McConaughey joined us, sat down with us this week, gave us a lot of insights that we didn't really know about him. Matthew and I were friends back in the days when I played with the Redskins, the Washington football team. And it's kind of funny, when we sat and talked about all these green lights that he has because of his new book called Greenlights, a lot of things had to go back and forth, you know, we talked about the old days, and what was the old days? It was the Redskins. We talked about the new days and how Daniel Snyder might call him to help him name the Washington football team. But, you know, the insights that Matthew gave us into his life, all the green lights that have helped him through his life, the way he took his journals, wrote his story down, went out into the desert, took quite a few days, I think it was over 50 days, at different periods of time, to write his new book, and to really, hopefully, help us all turn those yellow and red lights into green lights to move our life forward. And I really hope you enjoy this episode. And now I think we should join the huddle.

GUS FREROTTE: Alright, Matthew, we are ready to get in the show. I just wanted to get into some stuff that we always talk about with our guests, and that's how sports shapes your life. And, you know, knowing you and reading your book, I actually listened to it because it was nice hearing your voice, and I think you did an amazing job reading it. So I listened to that and I think that, you know, I never really found out, I mean, you talk about Chris Hanburger a little bit back in the day, but how did you fall in love with sports at a young age?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, we grew up I mean, there's, excuse me. There was always some sort of ball in the house. I got two older brothers, they were decent athletes. My middle brother Pat turned out to be a really, really good golfer. We all played football up until about the eighth grade. My two older brothers played like ninth and 10th and that's about as far as we went. So whatever season it was, that's the ball that we played with. It was football season, we played football. If it was baseball season, we played baseball. I took up golf later on, played some tennis, played 12 years of soccer. You know that's just the game. We played basketball, that was what we did during the season. That's just kind of what we did, which most of the other neighborhood kids did. You know, I became, early on growing up in Longview, Texas, about two and a half hours east of Dallas, I became a, what was then called the Washington Redskins fan, which is now called the Washington football team, and it was because of a few simple reasons that a four year old mind will fall in love with the team. I mean, watching Westerns with my dad, and I'm rooting for the American Indians on horseback. I liked the guys with the arrows, instead of guns. After that, my favorite foods hamburgers, Redskins got a middle linebacker named Chris Hanburger, that's another great reason to like this team. So I was a big underdog in Texas, obviously, especially growing up outside of Dallas, to be what was then called a Redskin fan. There was one guy across the street, Scott Smith, who actually was the only other Redskin fan I knew in Texas. I used to go to the Texas Stadium, shirtless, painted burgundy on top, with a head dress and you know those shammies you use to dry your car off with?

GUS FREROTTE: Oh yeah, yeah.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah I had to have a shammy wrapped around my waist with a rope tying it on, I’d be barefoot and I'd be right there on the 50 yard line, in Texas stadium when the Redskins would play the Cowboys. I was at, as you know, the last game at RFK, the first game of Jack Kent Cooke and the first game at FedEx. I have burgundy soil in a mason jar from the end zone of RFK. And then just grew up loving that team. I thought that's what I wanted to be. At that time they were called the Washington Redskins. I wanted to be a Redskin football player. John Riggins was my guy, and I was the guy in the backyard, I was sort of a late bloomer, so I wasn't very fast, but I had strong legs and backside. And I was hard to get down in backyard football. My thing was a beast named desire, you just couldn't get me down. Well that didn't last, that started to go away, everyone got bigger and faster than me, starting around the seventh or eighth grade. So my football career didn't go much further than that. But sports, man, I mean, it's still my favorite. It's sports is the truest version of reality TV. That's just, it's just, you know, I go to a 2005 National Championship when the University of Texas beat USC, you cannot write that script in my business or Hollywood, that's the single most dramatic event, piece of entertainment I've ever seen. The ebbs and flows of that game. How, you know, I just, and it's been a great teacher in me for preparation in my own job, because as you know, you want to prepare so much that you're not thinking about what you have to do on the day, you want to go in knowing your game plan so well, and knowing the opponent's game plan so well, that you can call that audible with just an instinct. And that's, for me, that's when I do my job the best.

GUS FREROTTE: Right. And do you think like, you brought up a really interesting point that you can't replicate a game like that, and I think the movie industry has tried to do that, but you don't, I mean, even though there's been some amazing sports movies out there, I don't think any fan has ever gotten the same feeling as being at a true game.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: No, but I'm not a huge fan of a lot of sports movies, because it's never as good as the real thing.

GUS FREROTTE: Right, I agree. And I, you know, and I think that there are some that are fun, like Slap Shot, they're kind of funny, but it's never, I mean, I could never do, to be honest with you, I could never do anything in my life that will replicate that feeling I had when we beat the Cowboys that day at RFK and that was the last game. I've tried since I've left the game, for 15 years now, but nothing has worked.


GUS FREROTTE: Right. And I've been an entrepreneur, I've done -

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Nothing got you that buzz.

GUS FREROTTE: Nothing. I mean, I love my family, I've been married 26 years and my kids are all grown, I get so much enjoyment and pride out of them, but I don't, it's hard. I heard you on a podcast with Chris Long, on his podcast Green Light, and talking about just what do you do when you leave, because you love some something so much. And I feel like you're so lucky because you get to be, you do the job that you love for so long. I mean, you can be 90 years old and still make a movie.


GUS FREROTTE: Right. And I had this short period.


GUS FREROTTE: And I just wonder, what do you feel like? Like, is that part of why you always wanted to be like, play at the highest level ? Like, you saw all that?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, you know, I was going to be, I was headed towards law school and it wasn't until my sophomore year in college that I decided to change my career route, and try to get into the storytelling business. And so I went to film school at University of Texas. Look I, you know, to this day, still love sports, and I'm around my alma mater at the University of Texas, Longhorns. And, look, I'm 51, but I still sit there and watch them practice or something and will see a cornerback, you know, be a step late on knocking down and on making a pass and incompletion by tipping it now and I'll kind of hop and think that, oh, I could have got that. And then I realize, no, no, you couldn't have got that.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: No. But it still feels like it was four years ago when I was in college, right, my body tells me different, but it's still, in my mind it still feels like that was just the other day. I now have a job where I can go, you know, I've played three lawyers. I much prefer preparing for a role for three months, working in that role for three months and then saying, hey, now I've done six months as a lawyer or whatever vocation, whatever character I'm playing, now I'm done, I can quit go to another job, I can go play another part. It is a real advantage of what I get to do, I get to go try to, you know, live in all everybody else's different shoes, of different walks of life, from astronauts, to quarterbacks, to lawyers, to poets, to biographies of people. It's part of what I love about my job, because I've always been keenly interested in people and how they were the best at what they did, or in my job, how were they the most true at what they did, because my job is not always about winning, it's one of the great things about sports, is sports has a, you can declare the winner. It's a hundred meter dash, the first one that crosses first wins, you're the winner. It's not a grey area. In my job, art is much more subjective. You know, it's hard to say what's the best of something and sometimes I wish it could be more clear cut, that there was more of a measuring standpoint to go like, no, this is the winner. This person is victorious because of this, this and this. But it's much harder because art's just more subjective.

GUS FREROTTE: Now, you grew up, you said, you always had a ball in the house. I know you have kids now, are you kind of doing that with them where you always have a ball, go play, go do something. When we were growing up, we all, I was never inside, and I think kids today have changed. How do you feel about all that? Like, are you trying to get your kids out and doing as much as possible?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, I mean, yes, and we're trying to roll with the times of this electronic age, this digital age.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Because I see great assets in certain games they play, digitally. Hand eye coordination, seeing their brain work, choices they got to make, but we're very, try to be as responsive as we can about what games we allow them to play and we very much limit the screen time, because I grew up in a household like you did. If it's daylight outside, you get your butt outside.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: I remember mom saying many times, "You're not going to watch somebody do something for you that you go out and do for yourself." And there's great lessons in that. You go out, you learn to negotiate with kids, you know, the bully comes up, you got to work your way out of that situation. You get picked on team, sometimes you get picked first, sometimes you're picked last, some people don't play fairly. How do you call them out? What's a good game? What do, you know, somebody hits you too hard, or you hit somebody too hard and they get ticked off, you know, and you, it's good for negotiating life, you learn life lessons of how to get out in life and deal. We still push our kids to get out quite a bit and they have to for quite a few hours a day they have to be outside moving around. They're playing all the sports right now, you know, I'm trying to keep, make sure that they don't get locked into only one sport this early in their life. My kids are 12, 10 and seven. So one of them loves soccer. The other one loves football. I'm like well keep playing them all, you don't need to specialize in anything right now. Be an athlete. I remember meeting you. Can you still dunk?

GUS FREROTTE: No. I wish, I wish.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Because when I met you, folks out there, this man didn't need a running start. Standing under the rim, up two hand jam, on the basketball court. You were obviously an athlete.

GUS FREROTTE: That was a long, yeah, long time ago.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: You know you could see you move. But I'm trying to get, you know, teach our kids, hey play all the sports.

GUS FREROTTE: And that's what I did, right, and that's what I wanted to tell these stories about people growing up, because I think sports is so important for all of us. And hearing your story, like, yeah, there was a path that you took, but sports probably shaped and influenced you in a way. Hey look, your book is amazing. I love hearing the stories about your dad and your mom and I mean, my dad, I remember going home, two bullies were picking on me, they stole my bike, threw it in a tree and I went home crying. He was working in the garden after working in the mill all day, and he said you better go get your bike and not come back home until you have it. And that story reminded me of a lot of stories that you told about your dad.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, scary proposition, but what is the stuff we remember? Experiences. We remember experiences much more than what we were told or given advice for. And I'm bet you were scared, and, you know, as could be to go back and get that bike. But then once you got it, I bet you respected that bike a hell of a lot more, bet you probably took better care of it, and I bet you grew up a lot. You know our parent are good, you know, that's what I mean when I say negotiate in the world. You know, it's as parents of, especially when children are younger, you see them out in the playground and somebody, they get in an argument or somebody starts to get into some kind of fight. You're tempted to go oh, I need to go interrupt, I need to go stop this, but there's great value in going no, no, no, I'm going to sit back. I'm going to see how my child negotiates this situation. Because that's the real world and we're not going to be there all the time. So let them go negotiate, let them get scared and come home without their bike that the two bullies threw in the trees and tell him no, you're going to have to go back or you're not going to school tomorrow until we have your bike back and you're going to go get it. There's great value in that.

GUS FREROTTE: Well, how many green lights do you think sports has given you?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, as an approach to what I do, it's given me endless green lights. As I say, I mean, you know, you played football, you played a bunch of sports, but you got football, that's a team sport, most sports out there are team sports, then you have something like golf, which is an individual sport. I played a lot of golf, I enjoyed that sort of inanimate object, that there wasn't a real opponent, the opponent was yourself and how you dance and play the course. The course is already built. Now, yes, the wind can pick up after you strike, hit your shot, and all of a sudden kick up to 35 miles an hour in your face and knock your ball down, you and your club, but that doesn't happen all the time. Usually, you can measure it. So there's a real art form to that individual sport. But football, let's take football, for instance, and team sports. Yeah, you're playing for the other person, you're playing for your team and the best teams play for each other. But at the same time, I still see it as a very selfish sport, meaning if everybody, if every player says I'm going to play my position to the best of my ability on every single play within the context of what needs to happen, and what play is called, well, then the collective team is going to play better. So I do see it as an individual responsibility, and an individual game as well within a team sport that it is. But then again, that's how I look at life, I believe in the collective and I believe in groups and communities and different tribes and what have you, but there's still, it's up to the person in the mirror, each one of us to say, how good can I be at what I'm going to do? Whether it's the game of life, whether it's with their relationship with their spouse, or as a father, or with our job. So it is an individual sport, but we are collectively combined when we're really good at, if we're on a team or individually, everybody wants to be the best or everybody individually wants to be damn excellent at what they do. That's what you're bound by. That's the collection. Because, as you know, you get, you know, you got six, five linemen, and four of them want to be the best every play and the other one is kind of like when the hell's halftime, I'm tired.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, that's when that guy sneaks in on your backside right over that guy who said he was tired, you know?

GUS FREROTTE: Right, that's when you're pulling yourself up out of that nice RFK dirt that you have in a jar.


GUS FREROTTE: So if you take sports and everything you learned from it growing up and your love for it, how did you translate that into the work that you do today? Because it is a team that you're going to. Yeah, we don't get to see the behind the scenes and all the work, like I think about like when I met you in our facility, and I see you on the sidelines at games. We rarely get to see that as fans of what you do now, in those and all those processes. So if you are the star or the quarterback of that group, what responsibilities do you have to lead that team?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, well, one I'm going to show up as or more prepared than anybody. I'm going to be the master of my man, my character. Yes, somebody wrote it. Yes, someone’s directing me, but I'm the master. It goes through me. I'm going to know my character upside, downside, left, right, I'm going to come to the scene, I'm going to come to the set every day with four versions of the truth to give you on my character. Throw at me whatever you want, I don't care. You tell any of all those other actors they can do what they want, say what they want, I'm ready. Press record. We're live. I can call them, I can call it my proverbial audible if you do something that's not scripted.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Or if the director wants to change something up, I'm like, yes. Always. Yes, yes, yes. I go in with an attitude that as soon as I walk out of my trailer, the camera's rolling. Not between action and cut. I am my man when I walk off the set until I go home at night. So for that 12 hours, in my mind, I'm like, it's live. There's no audition, it's all one take. You have one take and the camera's rolling right now, be your man McConaughey, that's what I tell myself. So and that comes from preparation. I've tried to, when, you know, I was younger, I tried to arrogantly act like that, but if I wasn't prepared, I couldn't, you know, I couldn't back it up.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: But now I've learned to prepare to where all my work is in pre-production.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Meaning that your work is in practice and in reps, and if you do the right work in the preseason, my pre-production, when it's game time or when I'm on set, I'm not working, I'm playing, because I did the work.

GUS FREROTTE: Right. You did the work.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: I'm not thinking about it. It's not in my head. It's moved down to my instincts, it's moved down to my body. You see how many teams out there, they get a new DC, new defensive coordinator, and it's got this really, you know, complicated defense, pretty good reason to bet against that team next year, because you'll see players thinking. And if you see a player thinking, if you see a safety or cornerback thinking, you've got Westbrook or whoever has got to step on him because the corner was thinking. So you got to make that transition from intellectually learning something to where no, it's passed that, now it's in my instincts, it's in my gut, I'm not even having to think about it, I'm moving with it. I'm reading the context of the situation, I'm reading the tells on my man that I'm covering, I'm ready. I'm calling audibles in stride, you know, in the game, that's when I know I do my job the best. And I would guess that that's when, you know, athletes do their job the best, when they're not out there having to think about it, they're actually doing it.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, if you have to think about it, and it's fourth and seven, you know, and it's a big part of the game or third and long or whatever, you name it, you're not going to be successful. And, you know, it just makes me think about how similar but different they are, and, you know, I compare football to a lot of things, and sports to a lot of things, and I was just thinking about that, how your preparation and how our preparation would be the same and what your game time is, right? Your game time is when you're doing all these great things. So tell me what was your game time? What was your, I see your prep, was your game time when you wrote this book, when you were going out to the desert? I mean, to me, I was like, how do you do that? Like, because that was a crazy preparation, your preparation, it took 30 years of you writing in a journal?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, 36 years of preparation by writing in the journal, and then to get the damn courage to say I'm taking those journals away to go turn it, see if it's worthy of being a book, which I think it ended up being and hope it did, because that's what it is and that's what I got out there. But so when it was game time for me to go do that, as you know, what's the hardest part about working out or doing so many things that we're afraid of doing, or don't want to do? The hardest part about working out is tying your damn shoes, right, and getting out the door.

GUS FREROTTE: Right. I do that before -

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: And for me too, as soon as I've loaded all my, you know, you don't want to do it, but as soon as you do it, that's the hardest part and you're glad you did. For me that was it. As soon as I loaded up my truck with all my journals and my steak and my bourbon and my water, Then I was like, Okay, I'm doing this, I'm in. So I went to the, I like to go where I can have no other incoming frequencies, meaning so I went away to solitary confinement to this place with no electricity, no internet service, nothing. It was just me and my journals, which is basically me hanging out with me over the last 50 years. Alright. And I didn't want to... What was that?

GUS FREROTTE: Did you take one of your Airstreams, one of your silver bullets?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Nope, nope, left those at home, that was too much luxury. I needed just a shed. And I knew that I would get bored, I would get frustrated, I would get lonely, I would get like I don't feel like writing, but I didn't want to have an alternate escape. I wanted to be like, okay, if you're bored, or you don't know what to do, you know, you've got one thing to entertain you, and that's your journals. So just keep going to that. So for total of 52 days, spread out over different sort of 10 and 12 day parcels, I spent in solitary confinement writing the book. And that was it, I ended up loving it so much and got so hot, you know, when you get in the zone, I was working 17 hours a day on average, writing. And my only, my biggest challenge was putting the pen down and going, you need to get some sleep.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: That became the hardest thing, is just because my mind was just on fire and I was writing and it was coming out of me and the words were coming out of me, and so that was the hardest part after a while, was just to remind myself, you got to get some sleep or you're going to burn out.

GUS FREROTTE: Well, I don't think you'd burn out. You know, I was listening to you talk and then I've watched several of your podcasts that you've done with a lot of other people, and I was wondering in my mind, if you would be a great rapper, because you're so poetic and you put words together so well and I wonder if you've ever thought that?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, yes, and look, a version of what I do is rap.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: You know, and you know the original, my favorite rapper, the original rapper, Bob Dylan. That guy was a rapper, man. If you ever listen to Bob Dylan, that's what he's doing, rapping. He was a folk poet, but he was a rapper. So yeah, I do have a tendency and an affiliation for putting music to words. And, you know, I speak lyrically. I'll, you know, I'll come up with a slang or a jargon that feels and sounds and tastes like a title to a great rock and roll album, and that's just how my mind works with words. And a lot of the writings in the book are sort of have that sort of like, oh, we're in the rock and roll era right now. We're in the beatnik period of the 60s like Jack Kerouac, just spitting out jazz. And that's, yeah, that's how my mind kind of computes and put sentences together a lot of times.

GUS FREROTTE: Well, I loved your podcast for that reason, right, because you were given a little short clip about what this meant to you and then you would play the song that meant so much to you, and you just went song after song after song. And I'm not saying I was a fan of all the songs you listed, but there were so many that I connected to as well. And I thought that was a great way to do a podcast. I've never seen that done before. Where'd you get that idea?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, I did one, U2 asked me to do their first one when they had their new U2 station, so I did 11 U2 songs, of my favorite U2 songs, and I DJ'ed them and I actually spoke for like sometimes two minutes as an introduction to a song. And then, you know, music, I listen to a lot of music, every character I play, I may have a different album that I create for that character. I have a different song for every scene I've ever been in when I go on set. And so the Spotify list that I put together for Greenlights, were songs that over my 50 years, meant something to me. So there's a bit of a chronology with the music that I chose. Some of the songs I love, some of them are not my favorite, but they were a seminal song for me at that time. And so I just put that together and then late at night, you know, mixed a cocktail, came in a dark room, started laying down some introductions as McConaughey the DJ for Greenlights.

GUS FREROTTE: I love it. I love it. You're like the first baseman that we know he's going to hit a homerun and we hear his music come up and we all fall in love with it, right? So there's somebody on set for you, playing your music, that when you come in, this is what I want played and you're getting ready to come up and base is loaded to hit a Grand Slam.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Sometimes I'm carrying my own jam box, and sometimes I don't have a jam box, but I'm just playing my chest like in Wolf of Wall Street, you know.


GUS FREROTTE: Hi, this is former NFL quarterback Gus Frerotte. 16 31 digital advertising is your one stop shop to promote your business and get new customers. For award winning creative to getting ads online, in display, video, OTT, connected TV and streaming audio, go to

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GUS FREROTTE: Welcome back, everyone. Thanks for joining us in the new 16 31 Digital news studio produced by Amp TV. You can find us on Now let's join the huddle.

GUS FREROTTE: You know and if we go back, you know, I loved, the other part of your book that I really loved were the bumper stickers, because I think that it makes so much sense, right? Because what you said was when you're riding down the road and you see a bumper sticker, you immediately kind of get an idea of that person in that car. So what I wanted to ask you is if you can think about the Redskins, what would be your bumper sticker if the Redskins, well the Washington football team, had one on their car right now? What do you that bumper sticker would say?


GUS FREROTTE: That's right. H-T-T-R, right.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, yeah, that's what that would probably be. Yeah. What's it going to be now? Hail to the Red Wolves? What's it going to be?

GUS FREROTTE: I don't know.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: You know what I mean? Do they keep that song and just change out Redskins? I don't know. We'll see.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, help us with a name, bumper sticker. That's it, right. So we're putting it out there.


GUS FREROTTE: I'm surprised that Daniel Snyder hasn't reached out to you to try to give him some understanding of what the name should be.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: I'm surprised too, Gus. Daniel, if you're listening out there, you've got my number, man. We talked. We've talked a few times since this name change has even come up, but you haven't even asked me yet. McConaughey, give me a lyric, give me a bumper sticker, give me a name.

GUS FREROTTE: That's right. What better wordsmith, right? Just tell Daniel that you two will go out into the desert for about, it doesn't have to be 50 days, maybe 20 days and we're going to come up with a name.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Can you see me and Dan Snyder? Can you see Dan Snyder in the desert in a cabin with no electricity for 52 days? That would be awesome.

GUS FREROTTE: Right. How long do you think he would make it?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, he'd make it longer than he would initially think he could. Because you know him, I mean, he'd show up, he wouldn't even want to, he'd look at the place and go, oh, no. Oh, no. Oh, no, no, no, no, no. No, this ain't me. Sorry, not me. If I could just get him in and let it and he'd be like, man, is it dinnertime yet? You're like, man, it's still 1pm, you need to slow your time down, because, you know, his mind moves fast, you know.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: You have to slow him way down. He'd be uncomfortable for a while, but I think he could last. Oh, boy, this is going to be tough, but I think I could keep him there for a week. I'd have to put a helmet on him and a chin strap on him and a mouth guard, because he'd be going out of his mind being locked up out in the middle of the desert in a cabin for a week, but I think we could get him there for a week.

GUS FREROTTE: I'm definitely taking the under on that one. There's no doubt in my mind, especially when you pull out a head of lettuce and put some ketchup on it, you know, he's like, I'm out of here. He's not eating that.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: We'd have to have pastrami sandwich, yes, he's a foodie.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, he's definitely a foodie. Like bourbon and some crackers isn't going to cut it for him. You know, and I think this is great because you have been a fan and you're not only a Washington football team fan, but you're a huge Texas Longhorn fan and you've actually engrained yourself into that whole university community society in more ways than one. And so can you tell me what your favorite part of being a Texas Longhorn is?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, look, you come to University of Texas to play athletics. You are expected to compete for national championships. Right, the facilities, have the talent and the coaching positions, it's an expectation. I am right now enjoying my role as Minister of Culture there, which is I'm trying to align the same values it takes to put a winning team on the field with the same values it takes to have a winner in the classroom, in the university as a scholastic destination. They're very similar, as you know, by what it takes to win in a sport as it does take to win in life. I'm also working on the relationship of the city of Austin with the University of Texas. I'd like to see a future where the city of Austin hires more graduates from University of Texas than any other city hires from their local university. I'd like to see the university and the city start to reciprocate and feed off each other that way. Look, we've got a long standing pride, this is a great, here's a great example. And there's a lot of debate about the eyes of Texas right now. So I don't want to get into that debate, but I will get into what I think is beautiful about the ritual of us singing that song. We sing that song, win or lose. Now the really beautiful part is that we sing that song when we lose, because what is it basically saying? We have a long view here. We may have lost the battle today, but we're going to win the war.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: That's a sense of pride and history and tradition and expectations about the long future we're going to head into as a university that I really like. There's a great entrenched and rich tradition and expectation of excellence and a halo of excellence that is expected for being a Longhorn.

GUS FREROTTE: Well, you know, and so following you., and like I said, after I finished, I've been trying to find my passion, my place, whatever you want to call it, but you seem to have so many and you do them all so well. And I don't know if you are somehow getting extra hours in the day, but I'm just trying to figure out how you do so much at such a high level? Can you give us a little insight to how you do that?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Good question. I'm very organized. I mean, look, I have, there was a time in my life not so long ago-

GUS FREROTTE: I heard about you keeping your list to go to the bathroom.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Oh, I'll put that on there. I'll put any easy, fun thing to do during the day on the list. I love having a longer list and be able to mark more things off of it. You know, a few years back, I did feel like I needed more hours in the day, and I felt like I was sort of making B minus, C plus in the five things that are on my proverbial Monday morning desk. And I looked down and I said, you know what? This music company, this music label and this production company? Let's get rid of that. Liquidate that, get rid of it. So I got rid of two of the five things and had three things in front of me. Acting, the foundation and my family. And I said, instead of making B minuses in these five things, let's make A's in these three things, and put more energy and intent into these three things. And it for the most part worked, I was able to concentrate and give more time to the things that really mattered to me. I do have a big life, I got a lot going on. I think I'm very good at compartmentalizing. And here's the other thing, though, I don't do anything now that I don't authentically have a passion for or that I don't authentically believe in. And if, you know, if we go do something, if we go do some work that we don't believe in, it's the wrong kind of hard, because all works hard, good work is hard, but it's the wrong kind of hard if we don't believe in it.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: And I get, it's the wrong kind of fatigue. I'll be the wrong kind, I don't like being tired at the end of the day, feeling like I worked my butt off but I ran in circles and I'm like, I don't even know what I, if I built anything today. I don't know if I pulled anything up. I don't like, that's the kind of fatigue I don't like. What I do like is a good day's hard work and at the end of the day going okay, that cocktail is going to taste good, because I earned it, you know. And so I've been pretty good and I just try to keep work in front of me that I believe in.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, I think that's so important for anyone. And I think what is great is that anybody of whatever your status is, or wherever you are in life, can read your book, and get something, a little bit out of that, because the way you just said that, can be anyone. It doesn't have to be a professional athlete, a movie star, it could be anyone in any walk of life and you can take these things and just tell yourself that today is going to be good day, I'm going to go do work that I love and I'm going to be happy when it's over.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, and you know, not everyone can do work that they love. You know, I understand that. But I also know, I've done things in my life and still do, that I may not love it, but it does enough for me that I need to do it that I'll work to be good at it, and once I get good at it, I kind of learn to love it because it feels good being good at something. You know what I mean?

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, really.

GUS FREROTTE: So I still do work, and I mean everyone, people out there who are like, hey, man, I got a job that I don't love, you know, what do you, how are you talking to me? I'd say well, I'm still talking to you because you can go, if you go do something well, even if you don't love it, you can learn to love something because it feels good to do something over and over again that you're good at.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah. No, I agree with that. And so, you know, if I think about it, when I was playing, because I never got to go to my dad's work when I was a kid, right. He worked for PPG for 42 years, I never got to go see where he worked, I wasn't allowed in the factory. So, for me, I took my kids in the locker room. Sadly, my daughter couldn't go in there a lot, but when I could take her I would, but my boys were always in there because I wanted to see them in what I was doing all the time. Do you try to do that with your kids and show them what you're doing so that they can see the work that you're putting in?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, I do. You know, I'm real fortunate in that regard. You know, before Camilla and I decided to have children, she said to me 'On one condition'. I said 'What?' And she goes 'You go, we go.' So my family comes with me wherever I go work on set all around the world. So I go concentrate on my work all day, but when I walk through that door, my kids are there jumping up and we're saying hi, and they're busting my bubble, you know, and I'm out of it, now I'm dad. So, you know, that kept me from having to go to work, be intensely at work for three months, then come back home to see my family, and have to make up for lost time, because my family's with me, I don't have to do that much. You know, I talked to a lot of men that were fathers that were older than me that are in my business, about how they do it, and I talked to a few of them. And each one of them said, 'Look, you're going to have to decide, the kids are either going to stay with their friends, or they're going to go with dad.' And everybody I talked to let their kids stay with their friends and didn't bring them with them to set. And every single one of them, in hindsight, said they regretted it.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: So, they come with me, and that helps a lot in our relationship, plus in my relationship with my wife.

GUS FREROTTE: No, I agree. You know, and I always thank my wife too for being so supportive because I played for seven teams, we, for 15 years, we travelled the country, and we lived all over, sometimes rental homes, sometimes we bought a home. But that was the most important thing to me, and I couldn't have survived all those cuts and losses and wins and everything that I went through, the red light, yellow light and the green lights, unless I was able to go home and share it with them every day. I thought it was so important.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, and you know, good on you. You had a spouse that supports you, you know, and that's asking a lot of our spouses, especially, you know, nowadays when, you know, a lot of women have even more independence and go have their own roles and succeed in their own ways and their own vocations in life. It's hard. It's a privilege to be able to have a spouse, on either side, that can support you with their time that much and especially if you have children.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, it is hard and I thank my wife Ann every day and now she works as a nurse and a therapist and I try to support her, you know, the roles have changed and it's kind of funny how that is, and I think that's what makes a family strong.

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GUS FREROTTE: Hey everyone, welcome back in the huddle. You can find us at or wherever you listen to your favorite podcast. Now, let's join the huddle.

GUS FREROTTE: You know, so you've spent some time in the huddle with me today, but I wanted to ask you if you could go join any huddle right now out in the NFL, which one would you like to be in?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Ooh, what huddle would I like to be in right now?

GUS FREROTTE: Because I know you still watch all the games.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: And in all the sports?

GUS FREROTTE: No, let's just say the NF, right now.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: In the NFL, what huddle do I want to be in right now? I want to be in, boy, there's so many quarterbacks down and out right now, aren't there?

GUS FREROTTE: Don't say the Cowboys, don't say the Cowboys, because you would just get annihilated.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: No, no, no, no, no. You know what, I tell you who I like as a quarterback and as a person and how and the demeanor with which he runs his offence and huddles up and the poise that he keeps, Russell Wilson from Seattle.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah. You know what, you know what's funny, I was thinking that, because I feel like that's exactly how you would be in the huddle, because you never see him frazzled. You see him taking care of everyone around him, and he's always in the right spot at the right time and that's just, that's kind of what I was thinking that's how you would be. You would be that guy in the huddle.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: No, hell, I'd hope so. He does have quite a bit of poise and especially for that height. You know, I gotta say, I'll tell you a funny story. I did this movie Two for the Money, where I played this quarterback in college, who went on to become a game touter and picker, but we went out and shot this scene, it was cut back to days, you know, earlier years of my character where he was playing football and he was a quarterback and he set the goal line and went for the run and got hit, broke his leg. But the scenes leading up before they got the leg broken, were his great passes, completions and winning drive. Well, the crew that they hire on movies to be the stunt football teams, are ex division one football player, all right.

GUS FREROTTE: Not little guys.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: And I'm 5'11 three quarters. Not little guys. I'm 5'11 three quarters. And look, they're all told, this is a scene, whatever you do don't hit number one on the call sheet, me. So I know they're not going to hit me, but the first six passes where I draw back, and I know the route, it's a 15 yard cross, I'm throwing it, lead him in, I got a good, arm all that stuff. I airmailed that receiver by 20 frickin feet because these monsters were coming in at six foot five, I'm like going how do the Drew Brees' and the Russell Wilson's see over this? Finally I had, on the sixth take, I was like okay, you drop back here, you look left, you look right. At this point, when he cuts, throw it, all I could see is the scoreboard way above all the guys, the defensive lineman, and I said throw it at that scoreboard, just throw it about 25 yards. That was the only pass that I completed and that was the take we used. But all of the five early ones just airmail ,man, just out of sheer fear going oh my gosh, they're going to crumble on top of me. So yeah, it's a hell of a job to have the poise back there.

GUS FREROTTE: Well, that's, you know, when you talk about that, and earlier you were talking about golf, right, to me, it's a little bit the same. When you're playing quarterback, everything is out, right. It's just me, that receiver, I'm beating the DB. I can't control anything else, right. I only can control how I throw it to that guy. Maybe if I make a guy miss because I move my feet or whatever. But it's a mind game, and you got to focus, you got to get rid of everything else.


GUS FREROTTE: And golf is so like that.


GUS FREROTTE: And, you know, you might throw a pick, it's just like I might put my drive two fairways over, I gotta let it go and go to the next play.


GUS FREROTTE: But you, it's great-


GUS FREROTTE: That you got to kind of feel that. You know what I mean? Because when you get knocked, when you get your dick knocked in the dirt, and you got to get back up and make the next big play, it's one of the hardest things to do in the world.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: I, yeah, yeah, but that's it. You said it. You gotta, you get back up, dust off, forget the last one, move on.

GUS FREROTTE: So have you ever been on set where it just hasn't been a good day and you had that happened to you over and it just wasn't going? And so how did you pull yourself out of that? What, I mean, you were going through red light after red light, I've been there, I've done it, right, and I gotta get out of this. How am I going to get to a green light?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, there's two manners. I've done it both ways. I have gritted my teeth and forced my way through it and said, I'm coming out the other side and I'm sticking and I'm going to go out and endure this until I absolutely just get it. And I've also had to take the more Eastern view, where I'm like, you know what, I'm going to take a little walk, I gotta press reset, I got to go get a new perspective, I got to come back into this scene fresh. I got to go think about something else or let my mind wander to nowhere in particular. And both have worked. I would say for my job, where tension is an actor's worst enemy, that Eastern approach of I'm going to take a little walk, check out, have a new perspective, come back in and start anew, is a better way to do what I do when I'm stuck in a red light.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, I think that's so smart. So, you know, I just appreciate you telling us some stories about how sports have helped you, how has it affected your life, good and bad, and how you're going to, you know, maybe take some of these things on and take teach your kids about them, because I think that passing those stories on are so important. And you know, we're lucky, I don't know which cover you like better, the one with you on it or the one with just your, you know, green light on it, but I think, it's special.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: The Greenlight's under it.


MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Well, thank you. Thanks for reading it, thanks for talking to me about it.

GUS FREROTTE: Yeah, no, it's awesome. And I appreciate you sharing your life with us, because, you know, you grew up like a lot of Americans, it wasn't easy growing up. You know, you had struggles, right, and if you love something, you have a passion, it's just what you, I love the part where you told your Dad, 'Dad, I'm not going to be a lawyer. I want to go to film school.' And you just said that that's what made him happy, that you had a passion and you were going to follow your dream.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: That is what made him happy. He saw his youngest son choose his own path at that time. And I think in my dad's heart, he was happy even though I was not going to do what I was always expected to do, he, I think he took some honor in going, yes, my son's being a rebel, he's going to go his own way. He didn't even ask me permission to. Yes, that's what you need. That's what you need to succeed.

GUS FREROTTE: Well, hey, I appreciate you joining me, Matthew, it was great to catch up with you, it's been a long, long time. And, you know, thank you for sharing your stories. I look forward to, you know, hopefully seeing you sometime in the near future and, you know, sharing this book with everyone, because I think we can all get so much out of it. So tell us how everybody can get your book or, you know, some last words of wisdom for all our fans out there?

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah. Hey, Greenlights, go to, you can find it, you get the book there, but it's at any bookstore, all over the world right now. I mean, from the your local bookstores to your Barnes and Nobles, it's out there. And the audible version is out there too, which I do read and I perform. Look to say a howdy in an outro, see you later, here's to catching and creating more of these green lights in our own lives and in other people's lives. And I would say this, you know, a lot of times we think that creating a green light in our own life and in someone else's life, we often think that's a contradiction, that those two don't go together, but I don't believe it's true. There's ways in which we can make a choice that is both selfish for us and selfless and the best choice for the most amount of people as well. And that's the place I hope that we get to, especially right now, at a time in our nation where we have such great divide, we got to start, we got to figure out a way to trust each other again, we got to figure out how to believe in each other again, and I think it's through our values where we can say, you know what, let's at least have a conversation even though we may not have the same points of view or the same politics. Meet you in the middle.

GUS FREROTTE: Awesome, wow, meet you in the middle. Well, thank you for spending some time with me and Huddle up with Gus and the new 16 31 Digital news studio, we really appreciate your time and good luck with the rest of everything. And hopefully I'll see your kid, your son, playing out for the Texas Longhorns someday, you never know.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: That might happen. There's one of them it might happen. I don't think it'll happen with all of them, but it might happen with one, I can think of.

GUS FREROTTE: I would love to see it. Alright, thank you.

MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY: I appreciate it, I enjoyed it. Nice catching back up with you.

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Joining me in the Huddle this week is Will Blackmon. He played for several teams in the NFL like I did but had a plan for his transition after the league. Blackmon attended Bishop Hendricken HS in Rho

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