The Sit Down: Troy Vincent

A couple of weeks ago, we introduced you to powerhouse chef, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, writer, and mother of five, Tommi Vincent. Today, it’s Troy Vincent (Tommi’s husband of 27 years) who’s the next person in The Sit Down hot seat. A former three-time NFL All-Pro Cornerback and 15-year league veteran, Troy has served as the President of the NFL Players Association, the Senior V.P. of Player Engagement at the NFL, and now the NFL’s Executive V.P. of Football Operations. We first met on the field, in 1996, at the Meadowlands and at Veterans Stadium, in Philadelphia, when he was playing cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles. Back then, he was a worthy opponent (they served the Giants with a loss both times). Today, he is equally admirable: Troy’s goal is nothing less than working to change the conversation back to what is right about football by celebrating the value of the game to those who play it and those who enjoy it. Along with Tommi, Troy’s also a passionate voice and leading advocate against domestic violence and sexual assault. His perspective on leading a successful life—both personal and professional—is inspiring. Led by an unshakeable faith, he acts with purpose, he cares for everyone around him, he practices humility, and he understands that the path to winning in life is paved with intention and a positive attitude.

His backstory: “My childhood memories about success in sports came from coaches who offered encouraging words. At the age of 10, my youth football coach, Mr. Banks, and when I was a 16, my head coach at Pennsbury High School, Mr. Dundala, both said the same thing to me: ‘If you focus you efforts, you could possibly make something out of sports.’ I just happened to believe them.”

His career: “Instead of the word ‘pride,’ there is a sense of satisfaction with the body of work with much more to be done. Certainly, my playing experience on the field was a great blessing. Off the field, in the locker room and in the community, I’m doing my best to use the platform the good Lord has provided to be a blessing to others—whether it be that young man or woman who needed that extra bit of encouragement to attain a goal, or that player wanting to get better at what he does, or that former player transitioning into his life after football. The turning point may not be a single event, but rather the collective experience of a journey with many defining moments.”

His day-to-day: “First and foremost, my role in to protect the integrity and competitive fairness of the professional sport of football. There are several aspects to that, such as establishing a culture of clarity, consistency, and credibility to players, coaches, clubs and fans in order to develop the future player, preserve and innovate the game, and protect the NFL brand. A typical day begins early and ends late: there usually is a mix of all things football, from club relations to officiating to engaging with players and Legends. There is the business of football, which also involves managing a large staff with many working parts. In addition, there is attention to NFL diversity and inclusion efforts and social-justice initiatives. At the end of the day, the best part is to reflect on my actions making a positive impact on the game or on someone’s life, and what can be done to improve the next day.”

On the NFL: “The NFL presents extraordinary opportunities to positively influence the game, those who are playing or have played, those associated with the game, and the fans. There have been many projects that make a difference. There is no greater ambassador to the game than those who played it, and the Legends Community is involved in mentoring players, outreach to fans, teaching the youth about the values of football and proper technique, and so much more. It is an honor to embrace and celebrate the heroes from the past. We are working hard to amplify the values of football and protecting players from unnecessary risk through youth football. The NFL partnership with Historically Black Colleges and Universities celebrates and honors the historical impact of HBCUs and their players on the game, and to provide career opportunities in the game of football.Assisting the NFL in being the leader in workplace diversity and inclusion, developing the Total Wellness initiative for active players, coaches and Legends, being a part of shaping the NFL’s Social Justice Initiative and policy on domestic violence all have been fulfilling.” 

His advocacy: “As a childhood survivor of domestic violence, we can never do enough to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Tommi and I have witnessed the devastation of domestic violence and sexual assault in our family and in others across the nation. We take every opportunity to lend our platform and voices to support and encourage victims and survivors, and recognize the efforts of those who are dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault. In addition, our family has taken a stand together, through our lifestyle brand Vincent Country, to provide safe zone activations for children, visit shelters, and encourage people to speak out. We want to be intentional change agents who provide solutions and put action to our words as examples to others.”  

His work ethic: “I’m a lifetime learner: no days off, a persistent drive to perfection, and [the pursuit of] operational excellence.” 

His success secret: “For me, there is tremendous faith, which builds confidence, hope, and optimism. A positive attitude is more than half the battle. Treating others as you would like to be treated is foundational to success. The specific keys to my success can be summed up in being a good listener, a bridge builder, making sure everyone is represented, being intentional about diversity of thought, and making sure all stakeholders are included—all part of leading and succeeding by serving others.”

His must-haves: “My must-haves are my Bible, my family, music, technology, and my Ford F-150.”

His parenting P.O.V.: “Being present, flexible, accessible, creating a structure around family, being available as well as being vulnerable to both my wife and children.”

His influences: “My grandfather, Jefferson Vincent, was a man of tremendous faith who understood the principles of leadership, integrity, honor, and respect. He not only was a wonderful man, a father figure to me, he also connected with me in a way that transferred those values and his strong faith. These were the qualities that shaped my life and serve as my guiding principles to this day.”

The talent he’d most like to have: “That talent would be singing so there would be no more pretending that the acoustics in the shower make me sound like a Grammy winner.”

His words to live by: “Success is intentional. Winning begins with the right attitude.” 

What’s next: “As a player, it was important to take the game a play at a time, control what could be controlled, try to get better on each play, and seek to be the best. It is the same in the business of football. None of us know what the future holds so it is important to live out what is in front of us and be the best we can be. My goal is to serve this great game by preserving it while our business continues to grow. We need to grow our game in a measured and responsible manner by maintaining its integrity and value while expanding our global footprint.  It is exciting to be a part of the NFL family, to bring a player’s perspective to the business, and to assist in shaping the future of our football ecosystem.”