Roman Phifer played linebacker in the NFL for 15 years with the Rams, Jets and Giants. He helped the New England Patriots win three Super Bowls. Phifer is a graduate of South Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte. He has shared his story with high school students and is the director of business development for National Amateur Sports in Charlotte. He uses his speaking opportunities to share about his NFL success, his commitment to helping local students, and his role as a husband, father of four children, and community leader.
Q: We have something in common, the name Roman. Why did your dad decide to name you after my father Roman Gabriel, former Rams quarterback?
A: I grew up in North Carolina as my dad did. He was a big Roman Gabriel fan. Obviously the day I was born in 1968 your dad was playing for the Rams. Also your dad attended North Carolina State and played college football there. … I had the pleasure of meeting your dad when I was playing for the Los Angeles Rams. That was real exciting for me.
My dad was a really big fan and he thought it was a masculine name, and that your dad was a man of big stature and my dad said, “Man, I’d like my son to have that kind of stature, that kind of name!”
Q: What you are doing to help students in local schools?
Roman Phifer, left, addresses students in North Carolina. A former NFL linebacker, Phifer encourages students to get involved in sports or extra-curricular activities.
A: I have two teenagers [who] are in high school. … It really hits home. … I’m currently involved in a sports marketing company called National Amateur Sports in Charlotte. We act as a marketing arm for high school athletic programs at a district level. We go out to the local community and look to get corporate sponsors for high school athletic programs via web online platform through downloading and uploading pictures and live streaming. We even have an app where parents can go online and stay in touch with their kids. With all the schools cutting extracurricular programs and athletic programs, we’re trying to ensure that all kids that are athletes in schools have the opportunity to play. As you know kids that get away from athletics [or] extra curricular activities have a tendency to turn to a bad crowd, and sometimes to alcohol and drugs and things of that nature. … We want to help ensure communities that sports continues, because it is a true outlet to teach the life lessons that kids need to learn.
Q: You experienced something that very few pro football players accomplish: three championships with the New England Patriots. What was it like playing for what many consider to be one of the greatest teams in NFL history?
A: First, Bill Belichick is a great coach and he does a really good job of simplifying what it takes to win. … When you are going into a game with the Patriots you are so prepared, confident, and you believe in what he’s teaching you. … It’s a family atmosphere. It’s a blue-collar atmosphere … where guys really care about each other. Everyone comes in with [an] unselfish attitude. It’s really about team first. I know that sounds like a real cliché today, but it’s true when you have as many talented players as we had, and they come and they put their egos aside. That’s when you have a successful outcome. … We continued to try to build and that’s what the Patriots are good at doing.
Q: I was impressed with the spiritual emphasis [within] the Patriots [organization] and remember your chaplain and former teammate Donnie Davis. How big of an impact did he make on the team?
A: Donnie Davis was a real catalyst when he was there leading Bible studies and players chapel services. For me, the great thing about the Patriots that many people don’t know, even more important than the Super Bowl rings, were the relationships established on the team. That far outweighed the results on the field. There was a lot of value placed on spiritual growth and on developing relationships on our football team [that] you wouldn’t know unless you’re actually on the team. … It really keeps guys pulling for each other and allows the team to have an unselfish attitude and the opportunity to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. It’s definitely been a key to the Patriot’s consistent success and obviously you don’t hear about that a lot in the media. As a guy who has been inside, I know how important that is to the success of an organization.
Q: How important is it to develop and use your platform in a positive way?
A: I think God blesses us as athletes [with an opportunity] to make an impact on other people. I think that’s what it’s all about at the end of the day. For me to be blessed to play as long as I had [and] have the relationships and get this wisdom and learn so much, it’s only right to share my experiences. … The road wasn’t always smooth. It was actually pretty tough at times. I want to share with teenagers today and help them avoid some of the [mistakes] that I made. As a former athlete and leader now in the community, I want to make an impact with my platform today, and I think that’s my job to do that.
Q: How can people learn more about National Amateur Sports?
A: They can look us up on our website at www.nasathletics.com or call us at (704) 341-4645. [We] … work with school districts in Charlotte, South Carolina, and even the West Coast.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roman’s Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio can be heard in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. It’s all about faith, family and sports. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook page: Roman Gabriel III Fan Page; connect with him on Twitter: romangabriel3rd; email him: [email protected] or call (910) 431-6483.)