Justin Tuck plays defensive end for the New York Giants. Drafted by the Giants in 2005 from Notre Dame, Tuck has helped the Giants win two Super Bowls. The two time All-Pro has 49.5 career sacks and 18 forced fumbles. I recently had a chance to speak with Justin while he was down in New Orleans taking in the Super Bowl festivities. He was working with SUBWAY restaurants as a Famous Fan to make sure people are staying healthy.
Justin gave me his thoughts on who would win this year’s Super Bowl between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. Plus we talked about his foundation called Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy and who he thinks should win this year’s NFL MVP. This interview took place before Super Bowl Sunday.
Art Eddy: This Sunday we get to see the 49ers and Ravens in the Super Bowl, who do you have winning the game?
Justin Tuck: I think it is going to be a close matchup. If I was a betting man I would put my money on the Ravens. I think they are a team of destiny this year. The 49ers have a great football team and we battle with those guys constantly. So we know how good of a football team they are and on paper I think that they are a better football team than the Ravens.
I just feel with all the things that they went through that the Ravens have that not going to lose mentality. Kind of like how we felt in our Super Bowls. That is why I think that they will pull a win out.
AE: You have played in two Super Bowls and won both of them which both were against the Patriots. Was there anything different for you the second time around and is there anything to playoff experience?
JT: I think for me the second time it was being accustomed to what I would expect. I think the first time you are just in awe. You get to enjoy the moment with your team, but you don’t get the whole concept of the Super Bowl the first time. The second time I think things slow down for you a bit. You know how to prepare yourself for the game. The atmospheres for both Super Bowls were crazy. I had great experiences of ultimately winning both football games. That’s what you come down here to do.
AE: You played against Robert Griffin and the Redskins pistol offense and you have seen the zone read option run by a few teams. Do you think this style of offense will be a preview of things to come or will this play calling had a small shelf life?
JT: I think it is going to be something that some teams use. But the fact of the matter is, depending on what happens Sunday, the read option has not produced a Super Bowl winning quarterback yet. The pocket quarterbacks that can sit back there and make the plays are the ones that help the team win. Things might change come Sunday if (Colin) Kaepernick is able to lead the 49ers to a win. That would be the first running style quarterback to win it I think.
AE: Many people think the MVP race comes down to Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Who do you think deserves the MVP award this year?
JT: I would go with Adrian just because that would be his first. He had a great season this year coming off that ACL (injury). That is not to take anything away from Peyton. He had a great year too. Peyton has got a few of those. I would give it to Adrian just for the fact that it would be the first time Adrian has been up for the award. I have seen the way he can do things and he has been the focal guy. When he has the ball there are eleven guys converging on him. For a quarterback you can get the ball out of your hands. For Adrian once he has the ball there is no one that he can throw the ball too. Obviously everyone knows about the greatness of Peyton Manning, but this year I feel that Adrian deserves it a bit more.
AE: As a Notre Dame alum how tough was it to watch the BCS game?
JT: Very tough especially when you’re sitting in the box looking at it. I was down there for the game. It was tough to watch. Your hat goes off to coach (Nick) Saban and what he was able to do with the guys in Tuscaloosa. I am still proud of my Irish and what they were able to accomplish this year getting to be the number one team in the nation. They didn’t play the game that I thought they would play in the championship game, but they just went up against a great foe and they didn’t play their best game.
AE: Earlier this week I spoke with 49ers great Ronnie Lott about his foundation. He said you guys work together on charity work. You have a great charity called Tuck’s R.U.S.H. for Literacy. Tell me about how and why you started it up?
JT: Well first off hats off to Ronnie and the All-Star Helping Kids. They are a big part of my success in working with the community. He was giving me help on how to be successful in my philanthropy. I definitely look up to him.
The reason why we started this was that me and my wife are very passionate about kids. We are very passionate about education. Reading and literacy is the number one thing for getting a good education. So we wanted to help out and try and work in schools with kids in the area. We have been very successful and it has been going very well.
AE: You are a father and what is the best thing about being a dad and what main piece of advice do you want to instill with your son?
JT: If I was going to tell my son one thing I would say, well there are so many things you want to leave, but I think it is treat people they way you would want to be treated. Make sure you live life to the fullest. Enjoy every moment living. Don’t ever regret anything and live life to the fullest.
AE: You are part of the SUBWAY’s Famous Fan campaign right now in New Orleans and are helping people find a better way to eat healthier and keep up with the New Year’s resolutions. What are some tips that you can offer people to live a healthier lifestyle?
JT: You just got to make sure you put the right things in your body. I always tell people as a reference to treat your body like you are a Ferrari and not a Pinto. If you have a Ferrari you are not putting 87 unleaded gas in it. You are putting the best gas you can put in it. So why would you treat your body any different? Make sure you always eat your fruit and vegetables and putting the right things in your body. Just make sure it is quality stuff because that is your body. You only got one of those and you are not getting another one.
To listen to the entire interview with Justin Tuck click here!