PHOENIX -- Michael Strahan has been to space and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but in the New York Metropolitan market he will always be known first and foremost as the Hall of Fame pass-rushing force that helped the Giants stun the unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII right here in the Arizona desert 15 years ago.
Strahan, 51, is paid a ton of money to have opinions about a lots of things, but Tuesday he had his football hat on as FOX Sports, the network that will broadcast Sunday’s Super Bowl LVII between the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, held its own media day inside the sprawling Phoenix Convention Center.
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For an hour, as long as you were willing to compete with Entertainment Tonight and other celebrity networks hungry to get their questions in, Strahan was available to answer almost anything you wanted. The only thing off limits was his prediction for Sunday’s big game. For that, you’ll have to wait until Sunday.
We’re here for football, so we’ll focus on the football questions, particularly the ones relating to the Giants, Jets and Eagles.
Could you see Aaron Rodgers playing in New York?
“With the Jets, yes. I think the Jets have a great young receiving corps, they have a running game, they have a defense. I think they could be the team that he is the missing piece. He would be a good (fit). I don’t think he wants to go to a team that he has to figure out what they are. The Jets have an excitable coach, too, so I think it would be great. It’s a big city and Aaron Rodgers has a big-city kind of vibe. He can do it.”
Do you think Rodgers would like New York?
“I think he’d love New York. Yeah, who wouldn’t love New York?”
Aren’t a lot of guys scared off by New York?
“Yeah, I don’t think Aaron Rodgers is really scared off by much of anything. He is about as cool and as chill and can handle any situation as well as anyone. I just think he wants to win and be in a situation where he is happy and maybe appreciated and I think New York definitely would show him that.”
What do the Giants need to do to get to the next level?
“I think for this year they’ve exceeded expectations, I think (Brian) Daboll and Joe Schoen are going to go out and get the kind of guys they need. They probably need some secondary help. I think offensive line always. I think wide receiver is probably the biggest addition and the Giants will probably go look for a home run hitter and, not to take anything away from what the guys there have done, but they need some playmakers.”
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Speaking of playmakers, what should they do about Saquon Barkley?
“You have to keep Saquon. Jesus, the guy had an incredible year. You can see that Daniel Jones is better with him in there, the team is better with him in there and he’s a leader in every single way. I think Saquon Barkley is definitely one of the players that you have to keep on this team in order to build off what they did last year.”
What did you think about the job Daboll and Schoen did?
“Fantastic. I spent a lot of time with those two and, first of all, they are incredible guys. I think what they have done is build a culture where they care. The guys appreciate them for that and the guys are willing to work hard for them because of that. And they’re honest and I think that’s the biggest thing.
“For Daboll, this is a guy who walks into the offices of people in the front office who he never needs to know and he says hello. He built a community around him and I think Joe Schoen does the same thing. Just to know what those two have brought to New York in a very short period shows me that the future is going to be really bright under these two. I think they’re great talent evaluators and they’re going to work things out and hopefully New York I’ll be doing one of these and we’ll be talking about the Giants in the Super Bowl.”
What did you observe about Daniel Jones?
“I think Daniel Jones has got a lot of flak, man. This is a guy who hasn’t been in the same system with the same coach, same coordinator or anything. This year, with a receiving corps that was depleted, it’s just amazing to me that they made the playoffs and he took over games when he needed to take over. I love Daniel. I think he’s going to be great for the Giants. Put the right pieces around him and I think he can make this offense pretty proficient.”
So the Giants’ quarterback situation is in good hands?”
“I think it is.”
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Should the Eagles be considered one of the best defensive teams in NFL history if they win this Super Bowl?
“I think they already have shown that they are one of the best ever. The ever thing is kind of an arbitrary argument. I think this defense has shown what it can do, so I’m pretty sure right now that they’re not concerned with being the best ever, they’re just concerned about winning this game and they’ll be the big part of it.”
What was the intangible thing that made your team 15 years ago Super Bowl champions?
“Teamwork. We really had a deal to not let each other down. I think we had a responsibility without even talking about it. We were responsible for each other and we could show it through out performance. I think that was the difference for our team that we learned along the way. We are a team and we can’t win individually. If we win, there’s enough credit for everybody.”