As the defending Super Bowl champ New York Giants arrive at training camp and prepare for the 2012 season, the country will be curious as to how they will respond.
Defensive end Justin Tuck is going into training camp with one mission: Refocusing
"It all starts over," said Tuck. "Last year is history. You learn from history and you learn how to get to the top of the mountain. I think we, along with the Patriots, are the team that has that experience from last year. Every team is starting 0-0, so we're all, just like a marathon, I hope we're the kings this year."
Tuck had his ups and downs in 2011, suffering a neck injury that sidelined him for four weeks. Even though he's entering training camp healthy this year, he remembers well he was just as healthy last season. However, he feels like he's in a better place.
"Well I came into camp last year pretty healthy, too," said Tuck. "I think more than anything, my mind is in the right place this year. I haven't had a lot of personal problems as I did last year. God bless. So, hopefully that stays the same and hopefully I can continue to focus on football. I think that's the biggest difference coming into this camp compared to last year."
Tuck's biggest concern going into 2012 lies with the rest of the team. He explains how it's important that yes, they're coming off a Super Bowl victory no one expected them to win, but the importance of keeping your head on your shoulders and remembering the tough schedule ahead.
"I'm curious to see if we come in hungry like I think we will be," said Tuck. "I'm curious to see where our mind is. I know guys have been training. I know guys are physically ready. But it's a different grind when you're on top of the mountain. But in the public eye we're not the hunters, we're being hunted this year. It's a different mindset when you're in that situation."
The Giants will not only have a spotlight on them for winning a Super Bowl, but they were also the first time to win less than 10 games and go on to win it all. It's another point that Tuck discusses is something important to remember other than winning the ultimate prize.
"You just can't allow yourself to think about it. You gotta be humble and remember the reason why we turned around a team that was 9-7 to a Super Bowl team," said Tuck. "It's going to be another tough year for us. We know what our schedule looks like. So it's important for us to work as if we didn't make the playoffs. Work as if we didn't win the Super Bowl because all that's going to be needed to get back to where we want to be this year."
The Giants have four Super Bowl titles, including two in the last five seasons, but Tuck isn't exactly calling this organization a dynasty just yet. He does hope to be the first in the NFC East. "We're not a dynasty yet," said Tuck. "So we've still got work to do ourselves. Right now there's not one here yet. So hopefully we can become that first dynasty."
In the end, Tuck is ready to have a fresh start going into 2012 and not dwindle on last season. He's focusing on cleaning the slate and starting the season as if they lost out on the playoffs in 2011. He'll do what he's always done: play when he's needed and help lead the team to victory.
"Me and my old age, I'm less concerned about me personally and what I do on the field personally as far as stats than I am about what we do as a team. It's important for me to win football games," said Tuck. "I have no say on when I play. That's the coach's jobs. They tell me to go play and I to play. That's how it always has been and that's how it always will be."