Why Not Making an NFL Roster Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me

By: Tom Ottaiano, CEO, Today’s Business

Dreams don’t always work out. Sometimes the journey you had your mind set on doesn’t pan out the way you intended. What you do after that is crucial. It’s when you really learn what you’re capable of.

Training for the Goal

Playing in the NFL was a crazy dream, but I knew I had to give it my best shot. Sometimes even saying your dream out loud helps make it more real. It started with a conversion with my family and friends. I made it known to them that I was going to put myself in a position that was going to provide the most opportunity. 

About nine years ago, I was introduced to Marc Megna, who trained me throughout the entire pre-draft process. He put me through the wringer and introduced me to a new mentality. He told me something his mom always told him and it was to “dream big and never quit.” My transformation when I started training shocked a lot of people. I went from 307 to 275 pounds. I was quicker, stronger and leaner than I had ever been. I started to look like an NFL player.

Going for It 

Getting as close to your big dream as I did is surreal. I made the 90 man roster for the Jets. Nothing will ever match the feeling of stepping out onto the field I never thought my feet would walk on. Playing alongside some of my idols almost didn’t feel real. People I had looked up to for years were right there. I was in it.

Rethinking Failure

The first time that you experience failure, it’s going to crush you. It will make you question every hour you spent fighting for your goal and every thought you had about it. Failure is not glamorous. It’s not fun. But the most successful people in this world are able to shift their view of a failure they experienced and turn it into a lesson. You learn from your failure, and you either try again or you take a different path. 

When it came to the NFL, I got to the show, but I didn’t get to dance. I was cut twice, once from the Jets and the second time from the Vikings.  I never wanted to experience that feeling ever again. I wanted to control my own destiny. My dream did not come to fruition as I hoped it would. So I found a new dream. One that I had more control and autonomy over. 

What better way to control your own destiny and do what you’re passionate about every day than to be an entrepreneur? I was ready to dance this time.

View this post on Instagram

Hung up the cleats for a suit #tbteam

A post shared by Tom Ottaiano (@tomottaiano) on


A New Journey 

I took all the energy, passion and grit I had put into the NFL and channeled it into my new venture, Today’s Business. Alongside my partners and best friends, Billy and Chaz, I was able to start building a new dream. We were ready to tap into digital marketing like no one else had. Changing the game was our only option. After three offices, thirty more employees, and hundreds of clients, I can confidently say that not making an NFL roster was the best thing that ever happened to me.