|One of two sacks by Irish legend Tuck.|
Eli Manning walked to the podium on Sunday night safe in the mind that his accomplishment had solidified his standing as an ELITE Quarterback in the National Football League. What seemed to have gotten lost in the mayhem of the final aftermath was that former Notre Dame player Justin Tuck played as important a role (worthy of MVP recognition) in Eli's and the New York Giants 21-17 upset of the New England Patriots.
Born 29th March 1983, Justin Tuck played high school football in Alabama at Central Coosa County. He played Defensive End and Tight End in high school and recorded 492 tackles with 37 sacks, 26 forced fumbles, and 17 fumble recoveries.
Tuck signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Notre Dame in 2001 and redshirted his freshman season with the Fighting Irish. His first sack came in his Sophomore season against Michigan State.
Nicknamed "The Freak
" by his teammates for his raw athleticism, Tuck holds several defensive records at Notre Dame. Topping the previous record mark of 22.5 sacks by Kory Minor, Tuck finished his Notre Dame career with 24.5 sacks. His career 43 tackles for loss and 13.5 sacks in a single season are also school records.
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Tuck was signed in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft, 74th overall, by the New York Giants. In his rookie season he manly played a backup role to Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora on the New York Giants depth chart. His first sack came against the Dallas Cowboys.
Tuck would go onto become an vital cog of the New York Giants defensive line that upset the New England Patriots perfect season in 2007 and again on Sunday night, which saw the Fighting Irish legend hurry and harass NFL playboy Tom Brady. Tuck sacked Brady twice and forced an intentional grounding in the end zone on New England's very first play from scrummage which resulted in a safety for New York.
In a Super Bowl so reminiscent of the 2007 game, Tuck took over the leadership role on this occasion, much like Michael Strahan did. With :57 seconds remaining in the game, Tuck rallied his defense on the sidelines.
"I think a lot of guys had their eyes lit up," he said. "I said 'This is what we've been working hard for all year, and we've got 57 seconds left to be world champs."
Tuck has one more year on his five-year, $30 million contract signed in January 2008. Whenever his career is over with the Giants, he's going to be missed by the organization. He's planted himself firmly in the New York Giants' & Notre Dame Fighting Irish storied annals.