Updated: May 21
Retired Super Bowl Champion,
Author, Speaker, College Football Analyst,
and Radio show Co-host
Finds Lasting Success on the Other Side of Failure
For retired NFL linebacker Rocky Boiman, self-motivation starts first thing in the morning – literally. On his bathroom mirror are dozens of Post-its with motivational messages he’s scribbled down to keep himself striving for improvement. “My finest moment is yet to come,” says one. Another says “I am grateful for: my family’s health, my health, the football talent and career the lord has blessed me with, the love of my family, the opportunity and responsibility to help those around me.” Others are shorter: “Believe.” And “Focus.”
Rocky was raised in a close-knit, middle-class family of four on the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio. “I was blessed with great parents, and I know not everyone is lucky enough to have this,” he says. “Every day while I was growing up – and even still today — I worked hard for my parents’ approval. That’s an important feeling for a kid.”
His football career has been a lesson in how what seems like bad luck can turn into something good. “When I signed with Dallas, I thought everything was great, and then I got released instead. It was hard, and it was also a really defining moment in my career and in my life. You learn over time to say look, these things happen and it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you respond. Kids, whether they’ve been cut from a high school team or failed a class or whatever, can relate to that.”
As a boy, he learned about perseverance. He recounts the time that he and his father spent hours moving an air compressor into their cellar. “When I was maybe 12 or 14 years old, we moved into this new house and we were trying to get this huge piece of machinery, an air compressor, down the basement stairs. And finally I just stood there and said, ‘I give up. This isn’t working. It’s not going down the stairs.’ My dad said, ‘Rock, all I can tell you is the damn thing isn’t going to sit at the top of the stairs here. It’s got to get downstairs so we’ll figure it out.’ And so, sure enough, after some time and some thought, we got it down there.”
What happened to Rocky with the Dallas Cowboys turned out to be the best example he could wish for as far as turning around adversity? Signed to a three-year contract in March 2006, he was subsequently released six months later. The very next day, the phone rang. It was Tony Dungee of the Indianapolis Colts offering him a job. Not only did Rocky sign with the Colts; he went on to win a Super Bowl with that team. He also played for the Titans, the Eagles, the Chiefs and the Stealers before becoming a free agent in 2010.
“When the chips are down and everything is against you, the only thing you really have in life besides your loved ones is your character and how you live your life. Tony Dungee would always say that character and integrity are non-negotiable, 24/7 obligations. You can’t practice them one day and then put them aside another day.”
Even without such a powerful moral compass, Rocky could make an impression on others just for his football skills. At the University of Notre Dame, he was a three year starter, team captain in his senior year, and was Pre-Season All American in 2001. As a pro player, he played in over 100 NFL games with over 30 starts. He holds the Oilers/Titans single season franchise record for special teams tackles with 28, and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week.
But he has a profound spiritual belief that he is meant to do more with his life than set an example by playing a sport. Rocky has done significant volunteering for kids. As he sees it, his volunteer work is simply his fair payment back to the world that has given him so much including the success as a pro football player that he first dreamed of as a seven-year-old. “When I was just a kid saying my prayers at night, I’d say ‘Lord, grant me the strength and the fortitude and the perseverance to hang in there and accomplish this goal, and I promise I will give back here one day,’” he said. “Volunteering feels like the right way for me to hold up my end of the bargain. I’ve been blessed with many great opportunities and many great accomplishments and this is a way of fulfilling my commitments.”
Rocky especially enjoys educating young men and women on the principles and responsibilities of leadership and to cultivate leadership qualities in any or all areas of life including family, business, athletics, and civic duty.”
Rocky’s post NFL career is interesting and highly active. He is a co-host of the Eddie and Rocky show in Cincinnati, a college football analyst for ESPN, a professional speaker and Author. Rocky’s book, ROCKY’S RULES: A playbook for becoming your best in challenging times is inspiring kids and adults of all ages. It is available on amazon.com
Rocky is happily married to his wife, Kelli. They are the proud parents of their three sons, Beau, Bronson, and Bryce.
Applying all the tough lessons he has learned throughout his career as a linebacker to a future in which he hopes to improve the world, Rocky Boiman shows the spirit and intensity of a true Insightful Player® team member.
Instant replay of Rocky’s guiding principles:
1. Believe that every setback carries a lesson for you, and seek to determine what that lesson is.
2. Follow role models who embody strong principles by “walking the walk and talking the talk,” rather than those who are celebrities but lack substance.
3. Acknowledge that facing adversity builds strength. Embrace the opportunities that adversity brings.
4. Hold yourself to a high standard in how you behave toward your family, your community, your team.
6. Take responsibility for your actions, your attitude, and your decisions.
7. Seek out and emulate people who challenge you and who reflect the values you admire.
8. Regardless of whether or not you attend a church or belong to an organized religion, let your sense of spirituality and your relationship with God be your guide.
9. Refute the temptation to take the path of least resistance. Work hard and follow what you know to be the right course.
10. Make the best of your circumstances, even if they are less than ideal.
Rocky Boiman with The Total Tutor
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The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified and Board Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. Insightful Player® was created to transform culture to be more inclusive, kinder, and more loving by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call her landline, 603-897-0610.
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Rocky Boiman is a valued member of the Insightful Player® team. To be named to this team, one must be a person of integrity, such as a current or former NFL player, who shares their personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children.