Interview: Ed Newman, Super Champ Turned Judge

What do NFL players do when they retire? Coaching, broadcasting, and sales are the usual routes but that was not good enough for Ed Newman. Or should I say Judge Ed Newman. Former four time pro-bowler and Super Bowl champion, Newman a beloved former Miami Dolphin is ensuring the law off the field and in the courtroom. We met up with Newman to get more about his story.

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1) Did you grow up playing football and when did it become serious for you?

We played tackle football in  the neighborhood before I was 14.  I joined the middle school  team as an 8th grader.  I always wanted to be the best, so, sure, I was serious about all sports from the first.

2)  You stayed with one team your entire career. Did that make your connection to the Dolphins stronger? Are you still around the team at all today?

I bleed Aqua and Orange blood.  I love the team.  I watch most of their games.  There is a pretty strong Dolphin Alumni group and we work well with Dolphins management doing charity events, and things for the community.

3) You won a Super Bowl and made 4 Pro Bowls. What were those experiences like?

There is nothing better than being part of a world champion team.  The effort to get to the pinnacle is huge, so earning the ultimate trophy is incredibly gratifying.  Teammates, fans, coaches, family members, friends are all patting you on the back.  It’s in the record books – forever.  I’ve got the rings and they get noticed.  I remember in Super Bowl VIII against the Vikings how focused we were.  The last 10 seconds on the clock felt like 10 weeks to me.  I was euphoric.  Nothing is better.  The Pro Bowls were more about pride.  I was a modest player.  I worked so hard to excel.  It was a great thing to have all that work pay off with peers saying that you are the greatest at that time in that position.  All Pro status is a recognition that endures.

4) After you retired were you certain you wanted to be a judge?

No, but I was certain that I wanted to litigate.  I dreamed of being a judge, and then I made it happen with a successful election in 1994.

5) Do you use any skills from the NFL in the courtroom (obviously not hitting pads!).

I try to be efficient.  There is preparation.  There are goals.  You must stay within rules.  Mental mistakes are the most reprehensible.  Grow by experience and gain wisdom along the way.  Try to outperform your opponent.  Be smart.

 6) Knowing where you are today; would you have considered skipping the NFL and just doing your current work?

Football is a young person’s game.  I would not change what I had for anything.  I wish that I had greater durability to do it even longer.  The reputation I gained as a ball player helped me to become a judge, and remains with me today.  Lawyering and judging are skills that last until retirement.  So, while I am very happy now, I would never jump over my football days, if I could.

7) What is one piece of advice you would have for young players entering the NFL today?

Keep your head on a swivel.  Look out for and avoid danger all the time.  Be as physically and mentally prepared for the game as you can be.  Bring the battle to the opponent.  Never underestimate your opponent.  Remember that you are one member of a team.  Be humble.  Lead by example.  Always try to do better, even if you are fortunate enough to be World Champions.

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