Former Giant Justin Tuck announced this week that he will be hanging up his cleats after 11 seasons in the NFL. Tuck spent the majority of his career with the Giants and had a major impact on the franchise’s success.
The Notre dame product was selected in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft, joining an already talented defensive line that included Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. After a quiet first two seasons, Tuck had a breakout year in 2007, recording 10 sacks and 47 tackles while only starting for two games.
Tuck really made a name for himself during Super Bowl XLII later on that season. He managed to record two sacks on Tom Brady, one of which forced a fumble that was recovered by the Giants right before halftime. Tuck and the defensive line harassed Brady and the Patriots for the entirety of the game, holding one of the most prolific offenses in NFL history to just 14 total points. The Patriots had scored at least 21 points in all 18 games prior to the Super Bowl.
The following season Tuck proved that he was a force to be reckoned with as he recorded 12 sacks, 67 tackles, 3 forced fumbles and a pick-6. Tuck was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl appearance and was named a First-Team All-Pro. Over the next few seasons, Tuck solidified himself as one of the best overall defensive ends in the NFL.
In 2010, Tuck was named defensive captain replacing Antonio Pierce. Once again, Tuck responded with another impressive season en-route to another Pro Bowl appearance. He finished the year with 76 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles and 5 fumble recoveries.
The next season included some ups and downs for Tuck, however the Giants were able to finish the season hot and found themselves facing off with Tom Brady and the Patriots once again. Tuck made his presence felt early, sacking Tom Brady in the endzone which resulted in a safety on the Patriots first drive of the game. Tuck set the tone for a defensive unit that once more pressured Brady all game, holding the Patriots to just 17 points. Tuck became the only player in NFL history to record multiple sacks in multiple Super Bowls as the Giants went on to defeat the Patriots 21-17.
Tuck will be remembered as not just one of the best defensive lineman, but one of the best players in franchise history. Due to major impact he had in both of the Giants Super Bowl wins, combined with the fact that he anchored a historically fearsome defensive line, it would be fair to consider Tuck as a top 20 Giants player of all time.