Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Night Lights - An Interview with Bill Romanowski

Today I have the distinct pleasure of welcoming Bill Romanowski to my blog. We share the same high school - Rockville High School in Vernon, Connecticut - as well as the same passion for reaching for the brass ring. Most of you know him as Romo, one of the fiercest linebackers in recent NFL history, but he has since graduated from the National Football League and become an author, an actor and most recently a CEO of a successful nutritional supplement company.

Bill, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to hang with me on my blog and answer a few questions, the first of which I have to attribute to my ten-year-old son:

[JET] My son wants to know why you loved being a linebacker so much and was that your original choice in position or did you just fall into it naturally?

[Bill] That position chose me. From the time I was ten years old playing linebacker came easy to me. The one thing I liked about it is you have a chance to be in on every play. Linebackers get to fly around and be in on a lot of plays and to me that was a lot of fun.

[JET] What are your best memories of high school?

[Bill] Playing football for the love of the game with my buddies. There’s a certain camaraderie that comes with it, it’s a special thing, a bond - kind of a blood, sweat and tears thing going through what we used to call hell week together.

Growing up as a little kid I used to watch my brothers play football in high school and I always dreamed of playing. Being a Rockville Ram was special to me. Like I said, just playing for the love of the game and being out there with my buddies and the laughs, the wins, the losses, everything that goes with it.

You know, a lot of people think that football builds character, but I think more than anything it reveals character.

You see how tough someone is out on a football field. You see how hard someone is willing to work, how dedicated they are. How passionate they are and those traits get revealed on the field.

You may not be the biggest, the strongest, the fastest, but guess what? If you work hard and are out there flying around that’s seen, that’s revealed.

[JET] Since this is coming out around the time of graduation, do you have any advice for today’s high school graduates?

[Bill] Yeah, absolutely.

Follow your dreams.

Find something you’re passionate about.

Don’t let money be that thing you’re chasing after.

Make sure you choose something you love to do, something that you would do for free. When you go to college, pick a subject you absolutely love, that you love to do and the money will come.

[JET] As one of the lucky ones who got to live their dream, can you tell us what your favorite football moment was - pro or otherwise?

[Bill] Wow. I had so many.

Probably the moment that stands out the most for me is beating the Greenbay Packers in the Super Bowl when I was a Denver Bronco.

I came into the league and won two Super Bowls back to back and I was kind of spoiled - [laughs] - not kind of - very spoiled.

Then from there, we lost three NFC Championship games, got traded to Philadelphia, then landed in Denver and I realized how hard it is to make it to the Super Bowl. How special it is to win a Super Bowl.

To go in and be underdogs and to win . . .

I remember on the very last play I was blitzing Bret Favre and he threw the ball pretty quick because he knew the blitz was coming. This was on fourth down with very little time on the clock and John Mobley - one of my teammates - knocked down the pass and the game was over and we won.

That moment - knowing how special it really was - was the highest high I ever felt in the game of football.

[JET] Beyond Football, you’ve also taken a stab at both writing and acting. What was your favorite movie that you appeared in? Why?

[Bill] The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler.

I’ve had fun with all the movies I’ve done, but The Longest Yard - it was the greatest group of guys from Chris Rock, Adam, Burt Reynolds, Stone Cole, Steve Austin, Michael Irving, it was just an unbelievable group of guys that came together and we worked our butts off every day but it was almost like being in the locker room. It was so much fun every day and we had some great laughs.

To me that was the most fun and it had a lot to do with Adam Sandler and the way he handles the movie set and the people he has on staff. That one was really special.

[JET] As far as the writing front is concerned, as an author, I’m always intrigued at how others approach writing. What was your experience like?

[Bill] That was one of the toughest things, one of the toughest projects, putting my emotions, my feelings on paper, writing the stories, deciding what goes in and what comes out.

You know, I told the story from where I was emotionally at that point and the growth that came with the experiences I had - good and bad - and what I learned from it in the very end.

Just the process of going through that was very . . . healing. It was spiritual.

It was one of the toughest, most demanding things I’ve ever done, but one of the most rewarding.

[JET] Did you have any Aha moments?

[Bill] Oh, I had a lot of them and they kept coming to me. It’s like ahhh, man . . .

Looking back on it now, there’s things I would have done differently. I’ve grown and continue to grow as I go along and there are things I feel differently about. And things that have come out since then that I’d love to get into and maybe that’s where the second book comes in.

[JET] Have you started a second book?

[Bill] I haven’t . . . I’ve started it in my head.

[JET] As a writer, I’m very familiar with that concept.

Your autobiography hit the New York Times Best Seller List - how’d that feel?

[Bill] You know what, with all the goals I achieve, I think I celebrated for like five minutes, but then it’s time for the next goal.

I’m just a driven guy that as soon as I attain a goal - it’s ok - I’m ready for the next one.

[JET] I particularly liked the conversational tone of the book - just like this conversation. Your autobiography garnered reviews ranging the spectrum from outright praise to searing criticisms. For something so close to home, how did you deal with the harsher criticisms?

[Bill] The New York Media? How’d I deal with them? They were just pussy cats. [laughs] Holy Moley.

No, really.

How’d I deal with them?

It was like - tell me something I don’t know and it’s what I said in the book and if you don’t like the truth, I’m sorry.

If you’re going to tear me up about something, just read the book first before you trash it. That’s the biggest issue I had with people that wanted to put it down - to put me down - before they even read the book. There were certain guys that came out and said a lot of things but I figured they didn’t know me and they have no idea what I went through. I remember I would say they’re the guys that believe everything they read in the news papers.

[JET] Now onto a more serious subject. . . :-)

With so many football stars throwing their hat in the arena - is Dancing with the Stars in your future? :-)

[Bill] You know what - I would love to go on there. I heard someone talking about the fact that having athletes and folks like that Pussy Cat Dolls on the show is a little unfair, saying this is what they do every day but really - that’s a little different from doing the tango.

I’ve always been intrigued with it and I like to dance. I think it would be a really big challenge to see if I could translate my athletic skills onto a dance floor.

There’s a part of me that says ok - I’d just apply my same work ethic to what I do each and every day whether it be football, nutrition, the book, movies, and apply it there. I’d make a run at it if Dancing With the Stars asked.

[JET] I usually ask a quick ten questions of my blog interviewees - random information, a little geeky - but it’s still fun, so here we go - my quick ten:

[JET] Paper or plastic?

[Bill] Paper

[JET] Miami Vice or Starsky & Hutch?

[Bill] Starsky & Hutch

[JET] Ginger or Maryann?

[Bill] Maryann

[JET] Beach or mountains?

[Bill] Beach

[JET] Country or Rock-n-Roll?

[Bill] Rock & Roll

[JET] Steak or Tofu?

[Bill] Steak

[JET] Joe Frazier or Muhammad Ali?

[Bill] Muhammad Ali

[JET] Vampires or werewolves?

[Bill] Werewolves

[JET] Zombies or demons?

[Bill] Demons

[JET] Horror or Comedy?

[Bill] Comedy

[JET] Thanks for indulging me. Before we wrap up - can you tell us what you’re doing these days?

[Bill] What I’m doing today is nutrition. Nutrition had a big impact in my football career and I learned how powerful nutrition is at a pretty early age after reading the book Ultimate Sports Nutrition. Whatever issue you have, a good supplement program can help.

For me being in the NFL I made a living with my body and I wanted to be the best there was in the game and I wanted my body to be the best and the only way I was going to do that was by taking care of it. And I was obsessed about it, but it worked.

I learned an awful lot in that process and when I got out of the game, I’ve had issues with multiple concussions when I was playing and went around to several different doctors and they all told me the same thing: There’s nothing that you can do . . . time is your friend . . . we don’t know if you’ll end up like Mohammad Ali.

So I took matters into my own hands, hired my own scientists, nutritionists and doctors and came up with a formula for me and for my brain to turn it back on after all the concussions. I had a lot of success with it and said you know what? I think I’m going to start a nutrition company and this is going to be one of the ways I give back.

I took what I learned from all these great minds in nutrition and formed a company around it to help people with issues they have. Our first product was a brain focused mental performance product, the next product was a natural sleep aid. Then it took two or three years but we’ve come out with a really good weight loss shake called Lean One and now we also have a multivitamin.

So basically right now my focus is nutrition and living a healthy life style.

I want to change the world through functional nutrition.

[JET] Thank you very much for joining me today.

[Bill] Thanks for having me!

A brief bio:

Meet 4-Time NFL™ Super Bowl Champion & CEO Bill Romanowski

As a NFL football player with a 16-year career that included an almost unthinkable 243 consecutive games highlighted by five Super Bowls, Bill Romanowski showed the kind of awe-inspiring skill and accomplishment that earned him a place in the national spotlight. So, too, did a passion for the game so intense it earned him an enduring reputation for badass ferocity.

To those who truly knew him, the fierce scowl and bold headlines were the caricature of a man on a personal quest to find the ultimate tools for enhancing his performance. Despite his individual achievements, Bill always regarded his greatest feat as helping his teammates. He dedicated himself to giving them the tools to become better athletes, from the best nutritional supplements and access to top massage therapists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors to teaching rookies about mental toughness and more.

At the end of his pro career, Bill’s quest took an urgent new turn: the incessant punishments of the playing field had robbed him of his ability to achieve mental clarity and focus along with his quality of life being in serious jeopardy. Putting his years of knowledge to new use, Bill sought out the best doctors and nutritionists to arrive at a formulation that would restore his mental function.

Today, Bill has broadened his quest to share the benefits of new knowledge, healthy living and superior nutrition to help people live optimal lives. As CEO of Nutrition53, a company that incorporates his career playing number into its name, Bill has built a new team of top doctors, researchers and nutritionists - to create the highest quality functional nutrition formulas available today. From staying lean to sleeping well and thinking clearly, under Bill’s guidance, Nutrition53 is providing people with real tools and answers to help them achieve their goals - and “live like they mean it”.

To find out more about Nutrition53, please visit their website at

For a more in depth look at Bill and his football career, check out his autobiography, ROMO - My Life on the Edge: Living Dreams and Slaying Dragons. Honest and eye opening, I highly suggest this for anyone with sports as the epicenter of their life!

You can purchase it here on Amazon:

Catch you all next week!



J.P. McNeill said...

Hi Bill, Hi J.E.

I've got a couple questions for Bill... I am a big fan of movies, and one of my favorites does happen to be The Longest Yard... I was watching the outtakes a few days ago and in the scene where you bash your head into the locker, Adam Sandler and Company had changed the door from the theatrical version to a real metal door. How bad did that hurt when you bashed your head into that? Were you seeing nymphs?
It looked pretty painful...

Second question... What was it like tackling the Bandit himself, Burt Reynolds?

Third Question, Ths one is for Bill and J.E... As a writer how did you get through the frustration of editing your own book? As a writer myself, I feel like each time I delete something, I'm punching a puppy or a wood nymph. (Sorry J.E. I couldn't help myself.)

Good luck to both of you. Can't wait for the new book J.E!

J.P. McNeill

JETaylor said...

Hey JP - thanks for stopping by. In relation to editing - I routinely stomp on wood nymphs . . . and sometimes they bite back. ;-)

Seriously - that's where the blood, sweat and tears of writing comes into play. Getting the story out is easy - at least for me - editing it into a compelling read isn't. Especially when you've written something you think is particularly witty - but in reviewing what you wrote you realize it does nothing to move the story forward.

Hitting the delete button - killing those words - is painful - but it's got to be done.

Editing for me not only includes cutting content - it also involves digging deeper into my character's psyche - adding dept to emotions and visceral reactions to engage the readers further. So the additions to scenes help mitigate the rest of the cuts dying a slow death on the floor around me.

Anonymous said...

"Read the book before you trash it." Sage advice - if you don't try, it's true you can't fail, but you also won't succeed and your passion unengaged remains but a fantasy.

Now, dancing with the stars, or perhaps dancing beneath the stars with 4 nymphs, would be a diversion from daily routine?

A question for Romo, if there were one moment n tme you could redo, rewind, would you do it and, if you care to share, what would it be?

Thanks J.E. for showing the creative muse at work and play. Write On!

JETaylor said...

Goodnews/Badnews - there was a fair amount of traffic here but only Kate and JP piped up to comment.

Therefore instead of a drawing - I'm sending you both of you a signed copy of Survival Games. Please email me at with your address and if you have any preference of what the autograph should say and I'll get these out by the end of the week. Thank you both for amusing posts. comment!

Karen Donley-Hayes said...

This is pretty neat - and I love the comment about a moment of football standing out as special being winning the Super Bowl. Heck, here in Cleveland, we'd be happy just to GET to the Super Bowl!! Ha!

A really fun read - thanks to JE and Bill both!