FORMER GIANTS DEFENSIVE END
He just finished his first season as a member of the Fox NFL Sunday pregame crew.
Dan Patrick: Do you miss football?
Michael Strahan: Right now? No. I miss it when it's warm out. [Laughs.]
DP: Why would Brett Favre even entertain the idea of returning?
MS: I have no idea, man. It's time. I don't think he's going to be back with the Jets. It's a shame. Here's a guy who's one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, and now it's like, O.K., get out. And that's what I wanted to avoid. You don't want them to kick you out. You want to leave on your terms.
DP: People don't always like parity, but don't you like going into the season knowing that everybody has a chance to get to the playoffs?
MS: That's fair to the players, fair to the fans. The Cardinals' story this year is more amazing than the Giants' last year. I would love to pick them for the Super Bowl. But all logic is telling you to go the other way.
DP: Don't be afraid. I picked the Giants to beat the Patriots. If you guys hadn't faced them in the final regular-season game, would you have beaten them in the Super Bowl?
MS: It would have been doubtful. We went into the Super Bowl with complete confidence that we could win because we were familiar with them. Had we not had that experience, we would have gone in like most teams, thinking they're unbeatable, and probably would have been overwhelmed from the beginning.
DP: Meanest guy you ever faced?
MS: Erik Williams, Dallas Cowboys. Mean to his mama. Did you ever see Reggie White want to fight anyone except him? You get a preacher to fight, you know you're mean. He would Clubber Lang you right in the back of the head if you turned to watch the ball.
DP: Tony Romo has been criticized for not being a leader. What would you do if you went into the Cowboys' locker room, knowing that it was dysfunctional? Would you confront Terrell Owens? Get in his face?
MS: Why not? What's he gonna do? Beat me up?
MS: Let me rephrase that: try to beat me up?
Alexander the Great
BUCKS ROOKIE Joe Alexander is a fantastic dunker without a dunk contest. Though he ran an Internet campaign for a spot in the All-Star weekend jam session, he didn't make the field. "It sucks because I put together a couple of pretty cool dunks, and no one's going to get to see them," Alexander said. I'd like to see him crash the slam dunk contest. Just show up and start dunking. Maybe take a page from Dwight Howard's superhero motif and wear a mask. ("Who was that masked dunker?" "It was I, Vanilla Sky!") It's not as if the event doesn't need to be livened up. And it's not as if Alexander doesn't deserve to be there.
Have Guitar, Will Jam
ONE PLAYER who won't be in the slam dunk contest anytime soon is Kobe Bryant. Laughing, he told me, "I don't think I can jump high enough to compete with Dwight Howard and those young guys." (But he did say he'd win an over-30 dunk contest "hands down.") So what does Kobe do for fun? He said he enjoyed filming the Guitar Hero commercial, which came to him naturally. "That wasn't acting," he said. "I was just doing what I do every day with my wife and two kids—dancing around and acting like an idiot. It just wasn't Hannah Montana music."
Who We Thought He Was
DENNIS GREEN is a forgotten man. As Arizona's coach from 2004 through '06, he acquired players—such as Larry Fitzgerald, a first-round draft pick, free-agent pickup Kurt Warner—who would become the heart of a Super Bowl team, and his contributions have been overlooked. When you hear Green's voice, it's hard not to think of the Coors Light commercial that features his meltdown after the Cards lost to the Bears in 2006. Green has embraced one of his lowest moments. He told me that when he goes fishing he wears a cap that says WE LET 'EM OFF THE HOOK. "You have to be a good sport," Green said. And he is.
THE FINE PRINT: Jay McGwire is shopping a book about his family and steroids. I believe the working title is My Brother's Keister.
Go to DANPATRICK.COM for more from Michael Strahan and other recent interviews, and hear live audio of Dan's radio show, 9 a.m.-noon ET, Mon.-Fri.
ILLUSTRATION BY KEITH WITMER
GARY DINEEN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (ALEXANDER)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (BRYANT)
PETER BROUILLET/WIREIMAGE.COM (GREEN)
SCOTT WINTROW/GETTY IMAGES (STRAHAN)