"When I was in college, at Texas Southern, the only thing I did was run around guys until they got tired. No technique. I outran 'em. In my first minicamp with the Giants I learned more in one day from my position coach, Earl Leggett, than I learned in four years of college. Mostly about hands. You use a lot of boxing techniques—jabbing, leverage, getting the other guy off-balance. Earl used to get us so tired at the beginning of practice, making us do that high school drill where you jog in place and then drop to the ground. Thirty of 'em. He'd say, 'I'm going to take you to the wall! I'm going to see what your mom was made of, what your grandparents were made of!' Then we'd have a normal practice. That's why I don't get tired much. I've learned how to train. I could have played two more quarters against the Rams, I was so fresh."
"See how I don't come off the ball like a bat out of hell?" says Strahan. When the ball is snapped, he appears to be running at three-quarters speed. "I come off the ball kind of easy, trying to see if Faulk's going to do what I thought so I can decide what kind of move I'm going to use. I act like I'm going to bull Tucker. See the key? Power, power, power. I make this rush look the same as the last one. I have to make a split-second decision on whether I'm going to go inside or outside. But it's one-on-one, so I think I can beat him outside instead of maybe getting stuck in traffic.
"I take it up the field, like a power move. Tucker shoots his hands, I take a step at him, he stops his feet, and that is so big. I swipe his [left] hand, start to go outside. But not too far. You want to shorten your trip to the passer, because if you go too deep, the quarterback will step up in the pocket, and you'll never catch up to him. Too far to run."
"So I step back downfield on Tucker. One step," Strahan says. "Now I think, I've got him. Look." Strahan has lowered his right shoulder to the midsection of the grasping Tucker and angled straight for Warner. "I turn my hips, lower my shoulder, take the corner hard, continue to run," Strahan says. "There's nothing he can do."
Well, there is one thing. With Strahan barreling past him, Tucker hugs his opponent's right shoulder and tries to tackle him. "I've got the corner on him, so he's stuck," Strahan says. "That's crucial. He pretty much has to ride me into the quarterback. I have no idea if I'll get the holding call, but I'm not thinking about that."
"First of all, I think the sack is overrated," Strahan says. "I know guys, not really good players, who come in on third down and get sacks, and people think they're good. Some guys who are very good players, like Greg Ellis of the Dallas Cowboys, have great games but don't get a lot of sacks. They play the run and harass the quarterback, which is what [playing defensive end] is all about. Like in the St. Louis game: When we graded out, I had hit Kurt 12 times. Some games you play your best, you hit the quarterback 100 times and you don't get a sack. Some games you get sacks on two plays and the rest of the time you're nowhere near him.
"On this play I'm in a rush to get to Kurt because I'm close, he's still got the ball and I see it, and this may be my last chance in the game to make something big happen. Even though Tucker's holding me, I see Kurt"—now the tape is rolling in super slomo, and Strahan takes his last two agonizing steps—"and I know I got him. Just another second.... There it is! Right there. I got him, I got him, I got him, I got him." Warner cocks his arm, but before he can pull the trigger, Strahan, with Tucker still hanging on, plows into the quarterback. The ball pops loose, and the Giants recover. Tucker is flagged for holding, but that's a moot point.