The Ravens' 340-pound nosetackle, a five-time All-Pro, normally feasts on quarterbacks. On Thanksgiving he'll have others' meals on his mind as a primary fund-raiser for Blitz Hunger, a drive to benefit Baltimore and Pittsburgh food banks.
DAN PATRICK:I ran into you in a restaurant at last year's Super Bowl.
HALOTI NGATA: I actually don't remember that.
DP:You were locked in on a steak.
HN: I was probably real focused on how good it was.
DP:How much can you put away at a steak restaurant?
HN: I have a little brother who can put away a porterhouse for two and still eat. I'm done after that.
DP:Do you buy into what Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs said about the NFL intentionally causing the Super Bowl blackout?
HN: It's tough because the Niners had to go through it too, but that also gave them a chance to change their game plan. I'm kind of with those guys. To have a power outage in the middle of a Super Bowl is just kind of crazy.
DP:You think the commissioner or someone with the league did this on purpose?
HN:[Long pause.] I don't know. I'm just happy we won.
DP:But you said you see what Suggs and Lewis are saying.
HN: It's tough to not think that.
DP:Why would the commissioner want the 49ers to win?
HN: I don't think he wanted them to win. I think he wanted it to be a better game. Because we were up.
DP:Do you think the commissioner was standing right by a giant plug and he pulled it?
DP:Why do you guys hate the Patriots?
HN: We play each other because we're usually at the top of our divisions. We've created a little rivalry. We respect them. But we don't like them.
DP:Is Tom Brady a pretty boy?
HN: Definitely. He wants every call.
DP:Does he complain to the official?
HN: I don't think that's really a question. You guys see it on TV all the time.
DP:Does he say anything to you during the game?
HN: Just like, Take it easy on me. Because he knows I like to lie on him.
DP:Do you stay on Brady a little bit longer?
HN: No, I don't want to get that whining flag.
DP:Do you think Ahmad Brooks's hit on Drew Brees in Week 11 was a penalty?
HN: No way.
HN: [Brooks] tried to keep his head out. He tried to wrap him up. [Brees] is a shorter guy. It was a horrible call.
DP:What size is your ring?
DP:What's the average player's hand size?
HN: Probably a 10.
DP:Can your wife wear your ring as a bracelet?
HN: No. Maybe my kids can.
Buccaneers rookie quarterback Mike Glennon believes coach Greg Schiano is misunderstood. "Outsiders think he's really strict," Glennon told me. "It's not like that. He jokes with the players. He takes in our opinions. I got yelled at a lot more [at North Carolina State] than I do now." ... The Cardinals' Carson Palmer believes NFL QBs have no right to complain these days. "We get the benefit of the doubt over and over again," Palmer told me. "I've been barely hit in the helmet, and [the refs handed out] a 15-yard penalty. My first couple of years you'd get absolutely smoked, and calls weren't made." ... I asked six-time NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson which is more dangerous: driving at Talladega or in a New York City cab. "Talladega," Johnson said. "We crash at Talladega. When I'm in a cab I don't see many pileups. I'm always impressed with the skillful driving in the city."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
FOCUS ON SPORT/GETTY IMAGES (NGATA)
GARY BOGDON FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (GLENNON)
CHRISTIAN PETERSEN/GETTY IMAGES (PALMER)
SIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (JOHNSON)