Mike's Ready

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan met the media for the final time before Sunday's NFC Championship Game. As usual, Strahan was very animated and entertaining. Here's what he had to say.

How much fun has this season been for you?
Great.  This is more fun than I expected at the start so I am definitely enjoying every game, every opportunity, and I am extremely happy that we are where we are and hopefully smiling after next week.

More fun than sitting on the beach in California?
More fun?  No.  You know what?  Sitting on the beach in California is a whole different type of fun, so this is fun for what it is.  For a job, it is fun.  For being around these guys and competing, it is fun, but very few things, if you ask most people, ‘Would you like to go play in freezing temperature or would you rather sit on the beach?'  What are they going to say?  The beach.

What will it be like chasing Brett Favre around?
Never fun.  It is going to be tough; he is going to do what he is going to do.  We all know what type of player he is, we all have the utmost respect for him and his ability to make that team better, which he has done.  It is going to be extremely interesting to see how this game goes.

Have you stopped to consider how your career has intertwined with Brett Favre's?
I look at all the stories and everything that has been written that is like this is Brett's last swan song or his chance to go the Super Bowl and all that stuff and I look at it as the same way for me.  Maybe it is the same way for Toomer, maybe it is the same way for Feagles, and I am sure they have other guys on that team who feel it is like the same way for them, too, but Brett being the great player that he is, the Hall of Famer that he is, everybody is going to probably focus on that a little bit more for him.  We all feel the same way about ourselves.  He has a ring.  He can hang it up and say, ‘I was a Super Bowl Champion at some point,' but all of us don't have that and some of us are still pressing to get it.

Do you think that the two toughest-minded teams are in the NFC Championship Game?
I think so.  When I look at that team, especially last week, two fumbles, down 14 to nothing and to come back the way they did.  Not just come back, but to blow out Seattle, very tough-minded team and it is the way they played the entire season.  This is going to be a game of will, a game of whoever wants it the most.  That is what the playoffs are all about, so this is going to be a very interesting battle.  Us, a team that has a strong will and plays well on the road and that team that has a strong will and plays well at home.

What has Steve Spagnuolo done for this defense?
I think he has elevated everybody.  He has given everybody confidence in that what he calls is going to be successful.  We are prepared.  We never feel under-prepared or over-prepared.  You feel like you know just what you need to do and it seems like whatever call he makes is the right call at the right time as long as you execute it.  He has just given us a lot of confidence in ourselves and mostly confidence in what he calls.

What is different about you guys when you are on the road?
I think when we go on the road we all really stick together.  We realize we need to stick together in order to win.  For some reason we like adversity.  I think we like everybody against us.  It just makes us play better for some reason; to be more cohesive.  At home it is different getting booed at home than it is on the road, on the road you kind of embrace it and it makes you better, but at home it kind of puts a dagger in you.

Is this the best Giants team you have been on?
I don't know.  It is hard to compare.  Every team is different.  Even the team that we went to the Super Bowl with was totally different than this team.  I almost feel like this team is a bunch of vagabonds who have kind of stuck together and it is working out for us and as long as we continue to do that, we should be successful.

What do you think about the whole Eli-Seinfeld situation?
Taking Seinfeld off?  Are you kidding me?  Do they realize they have Seinfeld DVDs?  I mean there are DVDs, we can always watch Seinfeld.  If they think that is going to mess him up… wow I need to move to Green Bay.  I could probably be very successful there with some of my ideas.  Not to say that people there aren't smart, but that is just that one situation.  It is amazing.

What would mess with your routine?
What would mess with my routine?  Training camp. Yeah, making me go to training camp would really mess with my routine, ha ha ha.

Did you talk to the younger players about your previous experience in the Championship Game?
I told the young guys that my biggest message to them is that it is still a football game.  Now the magnitude of everybody in here and the magnitude of the game and the pressure and the feeling from the crowd, all that stuff is enhanced, but once you start playing it is just football.  Nothing else outside of that changes and that is what we control.  It is not controlled by a fan screaming, it is not controlled by what is what written in the papers, it is only controlled by how we perform.  The guys have a great grasp of that and I think we have shown that in the last few weeks.  No matter how big the game is in everybody else's minds, for us it is still football once we kickoff.

Did you and Amani have that grasp in 2000?
No, even when we went to the Super Bowl I was telling Amani that after the game the one thought I had was, ‘Man, I wish I could do that over.'  It went so fast, it was surreal.  You didn't know how to handle it, all the breaks and the time that you had and just the game went so fast that you wish you could get back and just experience it again and have a chance to slow it down and really enjoy it a little bit more and hopefully have better results.  Hopefully that is what is going to happen this time.

Describe your relationship with Amani?
Amani and I have a funny relationship.  I love Amani.  He is one of my best friends on the team but every day he just has gap toothed jokes and I talk about how big his nose is.  I mean really that is it.  He looks like Gonzo from Sesame Street.  Amani and I have fun.  I think we probably have more in common away from the field.  We talk about cars and everything in between, but it is great to see him having success.  I call him the G.O.A.T.  On game day I call him the G.O.A.T., the greatest of all time, because the stuff that he has done here is amazing.  He continues to do it and especially in this day and age where they always want somebody younger, faster, and stronger and he continues to produce.  Last year I think we saw how important he was when he got hurt and our offense just sputtered and pretty much died without him.  We all realize how important he is and how he carries our team.



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