I love Strahan. I know what the soon-to-be Hall of Fame defensive end meant to the 2007 Super Bowl team, and how great a player he was. I know he is now a FOX studio analyst and that he is paid for his opinions. I am, however, getting a little weary of his slams on his old team.
I won't equate Strahan to Tiki Barber, a reference Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News alluded to in reporting Strahan's comments, but I will say this. It's time Strahan stops getting a free pass for some of his harsh criticism of the current Giants.
When it comes right down to it, what Strahan is really saying when he criticizes the leadership of the defense, its ability to finish games, etc., etc., is "these things would not have happened if I was playing."
That is revisionist history. Hey, Mike, newsflash for you: These things DID happen while you were playing.
Check the 1997 playoffs against the Minnesota Vikings, when the Giants blew a nine-point lead in the final four minutes and lost, 23-22. Seems to me that you were an All-Pro that year, Mike, that you had 14 sacks. Seems that even after Minnesota recovered an onside kick your defense was on the field with a chance to win the game. And did not get it done. Are you "ashamed" of that one?
Check the 2003 playoffs against San Francisco -- the infamous Trey Junkin game. You were an All-Pro that year and recorded 18.5 sacks. That game never would have been left in the hands of an old long-snapper who should have stayed retired if your defense had not gone "soft and relaxed," as you accused the Giants of Sunday, and frittered away a 24-point lead in the last 19 minutes. Are you "ashamed" of that one, Mike? What did you do to stop it? The lasting memory I have is you going up to Terrell Owens after a two-point conversion by the 49er wide receiver that made it 38-22, and pointing at the scoreboard. Don't tell me you weren't relaxed and didn't think that game was over.
I know how great Strahan's career was, and I know how terrific a leader he became in the final couple of seasons of his 15-year career. It wasn't always that way with Strahan, though, and now that he is on the outside getting paid as a TV talking head he seems to want to gloss over that. Strahan was part of plenty of bad football during his Giants career, part of plenty of games the Giants should have won but did not, was part of plenty of internal strife that was -- at times -- of his own making. These days, when he criticizes the Giants he seems to conveniently forget those things.
Strahan forgets that his feud with Barber that divided the Giants' locker room in an offense vs. defense situation. Is that leadership?
Strahan forgets that it took him several seasons to get on the same page with Tom Coughlin and stop questioning the Giants coach and grating against his methods.
Strahan's comments themselves might not be entirely wrong, but acting as though things like this never happened on his watch or that he was never part of the problem is revisionist history. Shame on you, Mike!