by Exeter Jones Comments (27)

From the NFL to a Billion-Dollar Portfolio: Can You Throw a Football Far Enough to Become a Managing Director?

From the NFL to Finance

It’s no secret that I’m borderline obsessed with football.

If you’re across the pond, below the Equator, or “down-under,” I’m not talking about the sport where you dribble around on the pitch; I’m referring to American football.

Don’t get me wrong, I try to stay current on the news in La Liga and the Barclays Premier League (Major League Soccer is slowly being worked into the rotation – albeit begrudgingly)…

But there’s only one sport that I when I watch, I ask any chatty family or friends to keep any non-football related commentary to a minimum or to go play in traffic – cue the NFL on Fox theme music…

Given my quasi-religious devotion to American football, it should come as no surprise that I’m a fantasy football addict. I developed the habit 4 years ago and I have absolutely no intent to seek out professional help to “get clean”.

Hardcore fantasy football players know that the months of July and August are all about crafting draft strategy – which means conducting your due diligence on training camp injuries, drafted and undrafted rookies, and current team composition (trust me – it’s more fun than it sounds).

Last week, as I was face-deep in fantasy draft analysis, I had an epiphany.

Somewhere between playing a Tim Tebow drinking game with ESPN Radio and reading post-market close commentary on a couple of energy stocks, I thought to myself, “What if some of the most well-known NFL players were actually finance professionals?

And if they were, what positions would they hold and what firms would they be at?

With the 1st Pick in the Investment Banking Draft, GridIron Bank Selects…

Think about it! What if Tom Brady were a Portfolio Manager? What if Ed Reed were a Managing Director?

Does it sound a little far-fetched?

Considering that former players such as Steve Young have gone on to experience success in the private equity industry, it’s not that much of a stretch.

And then you have entertainers like Bono and Ashton Kutcher also getting involved in the investing game, further proving just how interested celebrities are in the world of finance.

On the other hand, former Hall of Fame football players such as Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana had their burgeoning investment careers sidelined indefinitely.

But here’s the bottom-line: NFL stars can’t play football forever, and even professional athletes have post-playing career aspirations.

We can all speculate as to what they may do after football, but I’ve speculated on some professional profiles for a few of the most exciting players in football as if they had never even played the game.

You may be surprised at just how transferable the skill sets are…

Peyton Manning

Senior Vice President

Bronco Asset Management

Peyton Manning has been a stalwart figure on The Street since his analyst days at Colt Capital. He was promoted within days of joining Colt right out of college and has never looked back since.

After earning a strong reputation in the industry as one of the top young Analysts over his first two years with the firm, it was no surprise when he completely bypassed the Associate level and became one of the youngest Vice Presidents to quarterback a team exclusively devoted to high net worth sports clients.

Possessing a tireless work ethic and an incredible ability to assemble complex yet comprehensive client presentations, Peyton is what every Vice President and even Senior Vice President aspires to be: the embodiment of a leader and a winner.

A great leader, teammate, and even better spokesperson, Peyton’s sole weakness lies in his tendency, at times, to be too entrenched in his work.

After a freak keyboarding injury forced him to take some time away from the office last year, he suggested that the firm broaden its recruiting perspective – so they began to court younger, external talent to be more competitive in attracting a stronger client base.

Peyton’s injury, coupled with a tough performance year for Colt Capital, ultimately led the firm to go in a different direction and Peyton decided that it was time to move on.

After a multi-firm bidding war to acquire Manning’s services, Peyton decided to join Bronco Asset Management earlier this year and is poised to revamp its asset management division.

Although the team is relatively young and inexperienced, Peyton’s presence has had a noticeable positive impact on the entire firm.

Early internal memos have indicated that he is working around the clock to make Bronco Asset Management one of the top asset management firms this year.

Rob Gronkowski


Pacific New England Bank

Rob is a commodities trader for Pacific New England Bank in Boston, MA.

A once-promising football player in college, Rob decided to forego his senior season of college to pursue his growing passion and trade commodities full-time.

Nicknamed “Gronk” due to his Neanderthal-like size, demeanor, and considerable IQ, Gronkowski has established himself as a valuable member of the commodities trading team for Pacific, and as a lighthearted colleague in the office – regularly throwing keg parties on the trading floor whenever someone in the office can do more push-ups than him.

Since joining the desk 2 years ago, Rob has proven himself to be a major team player, helping to bring in more than $50 million thus far this year.

When asked about his “unique,” yet successful, approach to trading live cattle and lean hogs, Rob replied, “Gronk trade on gut! Eat goats to be strong!”

A man who expresses few words and who exercises even stranger fashion choices, Gronk often shows up to work wearing American flag branded clothing and flip-flops. When asked why he has chosen to wear such items to work, Gronk commented that it made him feel more “patriotic.”

Despite his success in the field of finance, it is rumored that Gronkowski has expressed an interest in fulfilling his childhood dream of playing professional chess. It is not clear whether or not Pacific Bank would let him walk away from his contract, should he choose to pursue this alternative career.

DeSean Jackson


Eagle Investment Partners

DeSean joined Eagle Investment Partners 4 years ago after graduating from South Western Agricultural Grove University (SWAGU).

DeSean is an Associate in the media and entertainment group at Eagle Investment Partners.

As an incoming Analyst, DeSean was an exceptionally fast learner with extraordinary Microsoft Excel agility, regularly completing requests for pitch books in less than 4.4 hours.

Because of his stellar production to date, DeSean was recently promoted within the organization and offered a revised compensation package in the hope that he would remain with the firm for the foreseeable future.

When recently interviewed, Vice President Andy Reid – who heads up the group – had this to say about DeSean:

“He’s a talented young guy. He works hard and we’re just thankful to have a guy with that type of explosive ability on our team.”

Eagle Investment Partners is expected to have a great year in the media and entertainment advisory space, and part of that expectation is dependent upon Jackson’s contributions in his new role.

“I just want to do whatever it takes for our team to keep moving forward. As long as I continue to work hard and continue to be a major contributor, we’ve got a shot to lift that metaphorical Lombardi trophy before the close of Q1 next year.”

Tim Tebow

Senior Analyst

Joseph Mary Advisors (JMA)

Tim Tebow is an Analyst for Joseph Mary Advisors, a long/short equity transportation-focused hedge fund in New York City.

Tebow’s career began in 2010 when he started working at Trinity Capital in Colorado.

Upon joining Trinity Capital, Tim was expected to be highly successful after showing great promise in college. Possessing an infectious personality and a strong team-focused mentality, Tim’s greatest qualities were always thought to be greater than his actual “hard skills.”

After two tumultuous years that saw Tim struggle with basic investment analysis and presentation delivery skills in the hedge fund recruiting process, Trinity Capital decided that it would be best for Tebow to move in a different direction.

Lacking a true Analyst skill set, Tim initially struggled to catch on with a new firm following his departure from Trinity, but after a surprisingly short interview period, Joseph Mary brought Tim Tebow aboard.

JMA was one of the few firms that believed it could hone Tims raw abilities and help him become a more complete Analyst.

Although his arrival at the firm was met with a mixed reception, senior management was supportive of Tim coming aboard in the hope that it would create a more cohesive and cooperative team environment.

Early management reports highlight that Tim is making significant progress in his new role and is expected to be a major contributor to the team at JMA this year.

A fan of American football, Tim briefly commented on whether he’d be a fan of the New York Jets or the New York Giants now that he’s living and working in New York:

“Now that I’m living in the city, I would say that I’m a New York Jets fan,” Tim commented.

“I plan on supporting the team in any way that I can, but I highly doubt that my arrival in New York will have any impact on whether or not the Jets will have a good season.”


About the Author

Exeter Jones is a philosopher trapped inside the body of a writer, trapped inside the body of an alternative investment analyst. He's worked in investment banking, alternative investments, and corporate finance, and his favorite breakfast food is ESPN.

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  1. Might want to update the link referring to Steve Young:

    Thank you!

  2. No one at GS ? :)
    I have a question for those who have an experience associated with it.
    What if I played basketball on a high level while in high school then quit, didn’t play in college; but, I have all trophies, awards, etc (Was a high school b-ball superstar). Will this type of achievement be an advantage at I-bank ? Will I be considered at higher level than other prospective analysts.

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      This is certainly interesting, though I wouldn’t say that you’d be considered higher level because there are other top athletes applying for such roles. I’d mention your experience and focus on the leadership and teamwork skills you learned there. Relevant finance experience is more important.

  3. Oh my God, this is hilarious.

  4. Hi Brian,
    I have a question that is not entirely IBD-related.
    I want to get into the middle office for risk management, especially focusing on Real Estate and Gold options investment, should I take the actuarial science exams or the FRM risk management exam (or both?) Which would be more attractive to the HR? And what are the pros and cons? (I know that means I need to put way more time on study rather than networking).

    1. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      I think readers may have better suggestions for you

  5. Hi Brian,

    I have a meeting with Ronnie Lott later this month. We are meeting for lunch. Any suggestions on networking with a guy like him? Good questions to ask? I know him through my middle school and his son and my brother were friends as little kids.

    He must know a lot of people on the buy-side, but I am not sure how to approach him, plus Steve Young is in PE. Thoughts? Help? Somewhat intimidating!

    1. I would just treat him like a normal person and ask how he got started, ask about his history in the business, future goals, where he thinks things are heading, etc. Worst thing you can do with “famous” people is treat them like they’re famous.

      I would just ask him directly at the end for referrals to anyone else in PE who can speak with you. Keep it casual and don’t try to suck up to / idolize him too much and act like he’s a normal human being.

  6. Hi,

    First I would like to thank you for you inspiring articles especially the tips for Internship.

    I’m gonna do master in corporate finance in August 2013 in Amsterdam. I was planning to do my CFA then decided to not, in order to invest my time in better things.

    I’m investing my time in:
    1. studying Dutch and improving my English ( my native is Arabic )
    2. Reading materials about valuation, LBO and M&A
    3. Excel and VBA.

    I have no work experience and can’t apply for internships ( We don’t have IB in Syria! and can not travel to Dubai )

    I’m considering an internship in Amsterdam at an investment bank at the end of the master.

    Do you have any suggestions for my current studying plan ?

    Thanks in advance

    1. I think your plan sounds fine but you should focus more on getting an internship in Amsterdam… so allocate more time to networking.

      For learning valuation, Excel, and so on, I would recommend the courses we offer:

  7. You guys should come out with a restrux modeling tutorial!

    1. Have thought about it and may do so in the future, but for right now other features are higher priority. Happy to explain in more detail if you contact us through the BIWS form.

  8. I am not a U.S. citizen but I am a Canadian citizen. Is it still a good idea to cold call NYC regional boutiques?

    1. You can, but the citizenship thing will be an issue at most small firms. You may be able to get around it by offering to work for free if they raise it as an objection.

      1. My first responsibility at the regional boutique is to call various investors and pitch an offering to them. Do you think this is normal at most regional boutiques? How would MMs and BBs view this kind of experience? Would I progress to financial modeling responsibilities eventually?

    2. Avatar
      M&I - Nicole

      Yes. Some banks can still sponsor you

      1. Thanks. I will definitely try it then. I found out that NYC has approximately 10 times more regional boutiques compared to Toronto.

        1. Avatar
          M&I - Nicole

          But NY also has more candidates :)

          1. True. So far, I contacted more than 250 firms in NYC and oftentimes, my calls go to voice mail or there are no responses to my emails. I’m going to give it a week before I assume they are not hiring. There are thousands of other firms outside of NY so I am going to try those too. All it takes is 1 to say yes.

          2. It turns out my biggest regret in my life so far is that I did not attempt to cold contact firms in the United States one or two years sooner. After contacting a bunch of firms outside of NY, I’ve already received a few positive responses. This is only less than a week after I contacted them. Others may not be hiring right now but will contact me once the situation changes.

          3. Avatar
            M&I - Nicole

            At least you know now!

  9. There is no such thing as American Football: ;)

  10. Joseph Mary Advisors? Trinity Capital? HAHA I was cracking up reading this at work- great article! Made me excited for both football and recruiting!

    1. Haha thanks for your feedback, glad that it entertained… will pass along the comments to Exeter.

  11. Brian!

    You could at least whisper loudly and tell us who are their finance advisors. They have the best ones…..

    Good weekend to you too!

    1. Hah, good one, we missed that. Exeter actually wrote this one as I don’t follow football too closely myself, but I’ll pass along that request…

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