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Justin Tuck's half time speech


Lughead
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Yeah it worked.

 

 

 

Another collapse was com ing for the Giants. Another 30 minutes and another season would likely end in disgrace, failure, sorrow.

 

And right then and there, inside an angry, prideful halftime locker room, the complexion of a game, of a season, changed.

 

"Guys are just talking amongst themselves, and you could just hear excuses being made . . . not necessarily bad ones, but just saying like, 'I thought we had this and I thought we had that,' blah, blah, blah," Justin Tuck said after Giants 24, Jaguars 20.

 

That's when Osi Umenyiora stood up from his chair.

 

"I'm looking at his face, and I can tell he's about to say something," Tuck said, "and he just burst out and says, 'Man, c'mon guys, we sit here squabbling about this little stuff -- it don't even matter no more. We got a whole 'nother second half to play. And right now, playing like we're playing, we're gonna get ran outta here. We're gonna get embarrassed in our own place.' "

 

Maurice Jones-Drew and the Jaguars (153 yards) had run the ball down Big Blue's throats in that first half, and the Giants, trailing 17-6, had been booed off the field.

 

Now Umenyiora sat down and defensive coordinator Perry Fewell began making adjustments, from passive to aggressive.

 

"Our passion is low," Fewell told Big Blue. "We need to get up and stop feeling sorry for ourselves and take it to this football team 'cause they're taking it to us."

 

Tuck: "At that point, man, we called it up, and he's still talking a little bit. . . . I just started my speech."

 

"A halftime speech for the ages," Barry Cofield said. "I was teary-eyed running back on the field."

 

I said to Tuck: "Give me verbatim as you remember it."

 

"Oh, you can't hear verbatim," Tuck said. "That's a friendly paper. And what I was saying -- it'd been a lot of bleeps.

 

"But basically what I said. . . . you know the thing about me, guys know that I love inviting guys to my house. I love cooking dinners for them. If they want to spend a night at my house, it got too late, they don't feel like driving home, I got an extra bedroom, they can sleep in my house. And basically what I said, 'That's only a luxury to my friends. Jacksonville is visitors.

 

" 'And they came in our house, and they took over. They kicked down our door, they're eating our food, they're sleeping in our bed, they didn't wipe their feet at the mat. They really disrespected us in our own house. And I don't allow that. And you shouldn't either.' That's, like I said, the friendly version. And I really challenged them to come out in this second half and end this here. Because I'm tired of hearing about this up-and-down season. I'm tired of hearing about us getting off to a fast start and not being able to finish."

 

The locker room was quiet.

 

"And I heard Brandon [Jacobs] in the background saying, 'Yeah, Tuck!' " Tuck said.

 

How long did you speak for?

 

"About two minutes," Tuck said.

 

And how loud were you?

 

"Very."

 

Is that as loud as you've ever been in a football locker room?

 

"Yeah."

 

As a Giant, or ever?

 

"Ever."

 

Were you louder than John Mara at the end of last season?

 

"Yeah," and he chuckled.

 

The Giants finally took the lead when Eli Manning and Kevin Boss combined on a 32-yard catch-and-run touchdown against a blitz with 3:15 remaining.

 

"It was on our shoulders," Umenyiora said.

 

Then Jaguars quarterback Garrard, from his 27, drove to the Giants' 29.

 

"Guys were almost throwing up on the sideline," Tuck said.

 

The brink of exhaustion; the brink of extinction.

 

"We were gonna bend but not break," Tuck said.

 

And so Tuck and Antrel Rolle sacked Garrard back to the 40. Then rookie Jason Pierre-Paul recorded his first sack. Then Terrell Thomas sacked Garrard, who fumbled, and Rolle recovered the fumble. Game over. Season not. Eagles lose to Bears.

 

I asked Tuck: "Why do you care so much about being a New York Giant?"

 

"I was basically Wellington Mara's last draft pick. After they drafted me, he walked out of the room, and he went up to his office. . . . It just resonated to me that sometimes you're just destined to be somewhere," Tuck said. "Why was I destined to be here? I don't know, but I'm gonna go wholeheartedly trying to find out what my purpose is for this football team, what my purpose is for this city. And just make sure every time they talk about me, they say that he gave it everything he had. A lot of people forget where they come from [Kellyton, Ala.] when they make it big, and I'm from probably the smallest place in America.

 

"But it's still home, and I'll love it 'til I die."

 

 

 

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Way to go, Justin. You got them going. But real leaders don't pat themselves on the back or say, "look what I did", they defer the accolades to their teammates.

 

Happy he did it, but keep that in the locker room. This is the kind of stuff that gets back to other players who might resent a perception of Tuck taking credit for the performance of the defense in the second half. Hopefully that is not the case.

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Way to go, Justin. You got them going. But real leaders don't pat themselves on the back or say, "look what I did", they defer the accolades to their teammates.

 

Happy he did it, but keep that in the locker room. This is the kind of stuff that gets back to other players who might resent a perception of Tuck taking credit for the performance of the defense in the second half. Hopefully that is not the case.

 

You think?

 

I think a leader was born. Tuck took over that game... not just physically with his outstanding play, but he challenged his teammates to play better and they responded in kind. We haven't seen that out of a Giants player since Strahan's best years.

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Way to go, Justin. You got them going. But real leaders don't pat themselves on the back or say, "look what I did", they defer the accolades to their teammates.

 

Happy he did it, but keep that in the locker room. This is the kind of stuff that gets back to other players who might resent a perception of Tuck taking credit for the performance of the defense in the second half. Hopefully that is not the case.

 

You're right Jim. It wasn't until after the Word Series that the SF Giants players revealed that Edgar Renteria made an impassioned speech during a bad stretch in June that left some of the players in tears. Then he went out and was WS MVP. But that's baseball. I don't see much wrong with what Tuck did- he's normally not vocal. Really all he did was quote Patrick Ewing "Not in my Mother F'in house"

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You're right Jim. It wasn't until after the Word Series that the SF Giants players revealed that Edgar Renteria made an impassioned speech during a bad stretch in June that left some of the players in tears. Then he went out and was WS MVP. But that's baseball. I don't see much wrong with what Tuck did- he's normally not vocal. Really all he did was quote Patrick Ewing "Not in my Mother F'in house"

 

It's usually the quiet guys that get everyone's attention when they speak.

 

All I know is that it was like watching two different teams.....the defense was flying to the ball in the 2nd half....in the 1st half, they looked like they had shit in their pants.

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Yeah the way I see this going down is the players were telling Serby or someone else what a great speech Tuck gave, and then Serby and the rest of the beat writers went to Tuck to get his version of the story. If Tuck had gone directly to the writers to thump his chest I could agree with you Jim but he was just answering a question.

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Wasnt he asked about this speech? He merely answered the question.....right?

 

And I think the Giants players, and not Tuck, were the ones who brought it the media's attention. I doubt Tuck was interviewed after the game and was like, "Yah, I'm the man, I gave an impassioned half time speech that got us all riled up."

 

So the accolades were deferred. And then Tuck was specifically asked about it and gave what I'm sure is a bullet point version of it.

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And I think the Giants players, and not Tuck, were the ones who brought it the media's attention. I doubt Tuck was interviewed after the game and was like, "Yah, I'm the man, I gave an impassioned half time speech that got us all riled up."

 

So the accolades were deferred. And then Tuck was specifically asked about it and gave what I'm sure is a bullet point version of it.

 

And from everything I've read and from his regular appearance with Fatscesa this afternoon he is willing to give a brief recounting of what he said but is not keen to promote himself about what happened. Based on that first Serby article and then what I heard this afternoon on the ride home he doesn't even want to talk about it but seems to know the media will hound him about it unless he gives them something. Lets be honest the "Tuck needs to become a leader" storyline has been going since preseason and the press wasn't going to give him a pass on an impassioned halftime speech that may or may not have led to a complete 180 in how the defense played. "That is between me and my teammates" would not have made the NY press happy when they have been hounding him to be a leader, and not when the last major leader of the defense Strahan readily gave them material. That had to be on his mind. Especially since Strahan is clearly a mentor to him and someone who knows how to handle the NY media.

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Good points by all. The way I read it the first time it seemed like it was a little bit of chest thumping. But I'm sure that this is due to the media playing it up for a good story. I'm sure Tuck was much more reserved about it as you guys stated. All in all, not that big of a deal. I'm glad he took a stand, I think it made an impact. These guys need to give it all they have, they were not doing that in the first half of that game. The talent is there, and they know their assignments. So one would have to assume that the effort was lacking. Good for him that he took responsibility for the situation. The most important thing is that they did turn it around and we got the 'W', because the importance of that win cannot be understated.

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And from everything I've read and from his regular appearance with Fatscesa this afternoon he is willing to give a brief recounting of what he said but is not keen to promote himself about what happened. Based on that first Serby article and then what I heard this afternoon on the ride home he doesn't even want to talk about it but seems to know the media will hound him about it unless he gives them something. Lets be honest the "Tuck needs to become a leader" storyline has been going since preseason and the press wasn't going to give him a pass on an impassioned halftime speech that may or may not have led to a complete 180 in how the defense played. "That is between me and my teammates" would not have made the NY press happy when they have been hounding him to be a leader, and not when the last major leader of the defense Strahan readily gave them material. That had to be on his mind. Especially since Strahan is clearly a mentor to him and someone who knows how to handle the NY media.

who are you?

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Hopefully they use this game and Tuck's speech about how they were playing like garbage as a turning point for the second half of the season. It's going to take at least 11 wins for the Giants to make the playoffs it's starting to look like. The GB game is going to be extremely important. New Orleans is probably a lock for a wildcard spot and if we don't beat out Philly, we're going to desperately need that win against Green Bay.

 

On a side note, it sucks that the Giants aren't honorary members of the NFC West this year.

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