Ring of Honor Inductee Justin Tuck
Conference Call November 8, 2016
Q: Talk about what this honor means to you?
A: The first thing I think of is, ĎHow did Justin Tuck get up on the level with all those great names up there?í The first thing I think of is all the great players and coaches that helped me along the way. When I see Justin Tuck in the Ring of Honor, the first thing Iíll always think about is all of those faces. All of those guys that went to battle every Sunday with me and helped me along the way. Itís a tremendous honor. Iím very thankful to be thought of in the perspective of the Giant greats, considering the company that Iíll be immortalized with. I never thought of it growing up that youíd walk in the stadium and see Justin Tuckís name up there. Iím still at a loss of words for it. I know that that night will obviously bring a lot of emotions and a lot of thoughts, considering the fact that I might be one of the only people that didnít think Iíd ever be up there. Obviously, very humbled and thankful.
Q: What do you think about how the Giants are doing this year?
A: Theyíre winning football games. Theyíre finding out ways to win in the fourth quarter. Thatís been the Achilles heel the last few seasons. I think it reminds me a lot of some of my Super Bowl years. We werenít winning games in a great fashion, but for the majority of the year we were winning football games. You find out a lot about your team. A lot of character stuff comes with that. I think that bodes well when you come to playoff time. Iím excited about that fact. I think thereís still things that they need work on. I think theyíll continue to improve. Iím excited for this run here. Theyíre 5-3 heading to the midway point in a league and a division where anything can happen. Everything is still up for grabs. I always say to myself that when you have a veteran quarterback like Eli thatís been there, done that, you always have a chance. Iím excited for this second half of the season.
Q: You know JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) and have seen Olivier Vernon play. They only have about one or two sacks a piece. Does that number matter? Is it overrated or underrated?
A: It all depends. If I had numbers around me that talk about quarterback hits, quarterback pressures, how long the quarterback is holding the ball. Youíre not going to get sacks if theyíre throwing screens. Youíre not getting sacks if theyíre throwing three-step drops. Youíre not getting sacks if youíre not stopping the run game and you can get into situations where they can play action pass you. Things of that nature. A lot of components come into sacks. I always thought that sacks were kind of an abbreviated number, just because everything that goes into it. Thereís been times where Iíve had crappy rushes and our secondary played really, really great, so I ended up getting a sack. Thereís been times where I beat my guy in a millisecond and he threw the ball quick enough so I didnít get a sack. The stat sheet never shows that. I would lean towards that not being important but I donít have the other materials at hand to prove it.
Q: Who of your contemporaries will be up there in the Ring of Honor in the years to come?
A: I have to vote now? From my vantage point, itís a lot of names. I would take anyone with the likes of a David Diehl who played ten plus seasons with the Giants and won two Super Bowls with the Giants. You had a guy that just retired yesterday, Antrel Rolle. The leadership that he provided was very similar to the leadership that I provided. Those guys that I played with, especially at a time when the Giants were really, really successful. You think about the timeslot of two Super Bowls. I havenít really thought about it, but Iím sure there are names from the í86 and í90 years of guys that may not be up there yet. If Mr. Mara came to me and said, Ďvote on one player to go up next,í I donít know if Iíd have an answer right now. I would have to look at who isnít up there and who deserves to be up there. Add weight to the years they played and things of that nature. I donít know. I donít necessarily know the right answer. I gave you two and theyíd probably be up there at some point. Iím fine with those two names being up there but Iím also recognizing there is probably a lot of other names that can go up there as well.
Q: You said a few minutes ago that you didnít deserve it. Is that just being humble? Come Monday night, do you feel like youíll deserve it?
A: I always say it in this regard - to think that I donít think I deserve to be up there, Iím just recognizing that there was a lot of people that helped me get up there. I do say that I donít think I deserve to be up there but I also say it in the way of saying, look, as of Monday night my name will be up there. Every time I look up there Iíll never really think of myself in that same category as Michael Strahan or LT (Lawrence Taylor), so on and so fourth. What Iíll always think of when I look up in those rafters is guys like Dave Tollefson, Corey Webster, Rich Seubert, all the names of guys that helped me along the way. I donít make plays; you donít make plays in football by yourself. You could be the best athlete in the world. You have ten guys that create opportunities for you to do what you do. Youíre just another guy. Iíll always look at Justin Tuck in those rafters and think of all the other names of guys that helped me along the way. Thatís what I mean by I donít necessarily deserve to be up there.
Q: How do players on a team, who might have different views or beliefs, manage to put all the outside distractions and disagreements aside and to go out on Sundays and win?
A: Once you step in that locker room, everyoneís goal is the common goal. When youíre outside of the locker room there is a lot of other factors that go into it. When you step in that locker room, everyoneís goals should be helping the guy next to him get a win on Sunday. Then, when thatís not the common goal of the guys, thatís when you see the dislike happen inside the locker room. Thereís a lot of guys I played with that weíre not going to vote for the same people today, on election day. Being outside of football, I vote or look differently than they do. Thatís fine, thatís the democracy that we live in. Our kids might not be on a playdate, or our wives and us may not go out and have dinner every Saturday night. Thatís fine. In the locker room sense, I think we all come together for the same common goals. We were able to take those differences and put them aside for the common goal. That was to be able to win football games.