Justin Tuck pens article reflecting on Super Bowl XLII
Wednesday served as the 13th anniversary of the Giants' epic win over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Of course, the most memorable moment from this game is David Tyree's "Helmet Catch" which set up Plaxico Burress' game-winning touchdown reception just four plays later. This play has been ranked as the No. 1 play in Super Bowl history.
However, what cannot be overlooked is the outstanding performance from the Giants defense that day. One player that stuck out in particular was Justin Tuck, who this week penned an article for The Players Tribune reflecting on the big victory.
Here is an excerpt from Tuck's article:
[The night after we upset the undefeated Patriots in 2008, I was up in my hotel room in Phoenix when I heard a knock at the door. I looked through the little peephole and saw Strahan and Osi standing in the hall. Stray had a box of cigars. I guess he was making the rounds before everybody went out to party.
He had already told Osi. Now, he was coming to tell me.
He was retiring.
Now, to understand the range of emotions I felt in that moment, you have to understand the history of me, Stray and Osi. I mean, we used to talk so much s*** to Stray. We treated him like he was the old fart and we were the two young bulls coming in to take the Giants to the promised land. We would heckle him in practice, yelling, "They drafted us to replace you, old man!" We'd call him a dinosaur and tell him we were going to push him out of the league. We always gave him a hard time. And he dished it right back to us.
But one thing we never did was say thank you.
We never told him what he truly meant to us. How much we learned just from watching him. How he helped us mold our skills and find the things inside us that would make us great. How if it weren't for him, we wouldn't have grown into the players we became.
Without Stray, we would not have been world champions.
That night, we got our chance to tell him.]
The 2007 Patriots offense was one of the greatest in NFL history. The unit averaged an incredible 36.8 points and 411.3 yards per game during the regular season on their way to a perfect 16-0 record. To put that into perspective, the next highest-scoring team averaged 28.4 points, while the next highest-yardage team averaged 370.7 yards per game. On top of that, New England's offensive line surrendered just 21 sacks prior to the start of the postseason.
But in Super Bowl XLII, the Giants defense stifled Tom Brady and the Patriots, limiting them to just 274 total yards and 14 points. Big Blue's D was also able to get to Brady throughout the game, sacking him a total of five times with nine quarterback hits and one forced fumble.
Leading the way for the Giants' pass rush that day was Tuck. The defensive end was the only Giant to register multiple sacks of Brady, finishing the game with two sacks, two quarterback hits and the one forced fumble.
Former teammates cheer on JPP in group chat
The group of former Giants defensive linemen stays close through what can best be described as a never-ending text chat. Justin Tuck, Michael Strahan, Mathias Kiwanuka and Fred Robbins communicate virtually every day, while others occasionally stop by.
"That's been going on for a long time," Tuck said this week. "That chat is mostly staying on top of each other to make sure that we're doing the right thing in our retirements to be as successful as we were in football. Monday through Friday, honestly, we're mostly just talking about health, life, business, that type of stuff. I would say we rarely talk about football."
Except when they join a much larger group - the millions of fans across the country watching NFL games.
"We're all sitting around watching football on Sundays, so anything that goes on we chime in, ask guys what they thought, so on and so forth," Tuck said. "I would say we rarely talk about football. We only basically talk about football if it's some hot button topic that's hitting the air waves at that moment in time or on Sunday."
They found such a topic on Jan 24, when one of their own, former Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, twice sacked Aaron Rodgers to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, 31-26, and advance to Sunday's Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs in Tampa.
It will be JPP's second Super Bowl. Nine years ago, he had two tackles and batted down two Tom Brady passes in the Giants' 21-17 victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Brady is now his teammate on the Bucs.
"(The group's comments during the title game) were generic – 'JPP is having a good game, Tampa's defense looks well,'" Tuck said. "Obviously, we were rooting on Jason, hoping he makes it out. When he won the game, just celebrating the fact that one of our guys is back in the Super Bowl and has a chance to win another Super Bowl, but also the fact that we are very understanding of what he went through to get back to that spot. I think we're all looking at it as, in some cases, as anybody that has a little brother. We're all in that category of being a big brother to him in some capacity and we're obviously just rooting him on."
View photos of former Giants and current Buccaneers defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
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