This is an article from the Feb. 7, 2011 issue
RETIRED SACK MASTER
The Fox NFL Sunday analyst had one sack in the final game of his career: the Giants' Super Bowl XLII upset of the Patriots
Dan Patrick:In the Super Bowl you tried to hit Tom Brady on every play. If you were facing Ben Roethlisberger, would you try to be in the same mind-set?
Michael Strahan: The mind-set with Roethlisberger is, Once you get there, don't let him get away. He pushes you around because he's so big. You have to try to lock down his right arm. If you only get a piece of him, make sure it's that right arm. Don't dive at him—you're just going to bounce off. You have to run through him.
DP:How do you attack Aaron Rodgers?
MS: He's fast. He has a lot of quick-twitch muscles, kind of [dances] around back there. The biggest thing is not allowing him to get through the cracks.
DP:Better defense on Super Bowl Sunday?
DP:What do they do better than the Packers?
MS: Stop the run. Their pass defense against Rodgers, that's going to be the question. Most teams, you need some balance. The Packers can say, "Well, we can run the ball once in a while with James Starks. But if we don't, we can still get it done through the air." Rarely do you see teams that are able to do that.
DP:I see Rodgers throwing for 300 yards.
MS: He may have to, because they won't be able to run. The biggest key is, Can these guys protect him? Because the Steelers have some predators, some guys who are hunters.
DP:What do you think of players using Twitter, especially during a game someone else is playing?
MS: You gotta be careful. You're watching the game as a fan. You think people who follow you on Twitter are your homeboys. They're not. These are strangers who take it and do whatever they want with it.
DP:Did you side with any of these guys who ripped Jay Cutler for coming out of the NFC Championship Game?
MS: I've had MCL injuries. I missed a few games because I sprained my left knee and did the same thing [Cutler did]: I didn't go back in the game. You can walk around. But at certain angles, it feels like [the knee] is going to give out. If that's the injury he had, I definitely understand. I just think the public perception of Cutler—because he never has a smile on his face—make people not want to give him the benefit of the doubt.
DP:Which network has the toughest NFL pregame crew?
MS: Why are you even wasting your time asking that question? We got a D-lineman [Howie Long], one of the toughest quarterbacks [Terry Bradshaw], one of the toughest coaches [Jimmy Johnson]. Then we got low-kicking Jay Glazer. If Jay Glazer punches you straight out, you know he's hitting you in the groin because he's so short. That's a win right there.
DP:Which other network scares you a little?
MS: ESPN's Tom Jackson looks like he can throw down a little bit. But I think he'd be the only one on that set. The rest of them are receivers and pretty boys.
DP:What about Mike Ditka?
MS: He would get down and dirty. But he's got bad joints.
DP:What about CBS?
MS: We'd just go over there and go, "Boo," and they'd run.
• Brent's Bud
After his Red Storm knocked off Duke on Sunday, first-year St. John's coach Steve Lavin talked to me about his extended sabbatical from coaching after he left UCLA in 2003. He said it came down to the fact that he found a second career. "I really began to enjoy my work as a broadcaster," he said. "Barnstorming with Brent Musburger coast to coast for six years... . I wouldn't trade that for anything." As for how he's different now from when he was at UCLA, Lavin said he is using "a little less hair product as the years go by. I don't think the Eddie Munster look is still in, so I've tried to adjust."
• On the Go
Phil Jackson has said that this year is his last with the Lakers, but not everyone is convinced he'll leave. His girlfriend, Jeanie Buss, is certain of his plans, though. "This will be his last year with the Lakers," she told me. "I don't know what he's going to do. He may coach somewhere, he may move to Montana, he may have his own cooking show. I don't know—but I know he's not the type of guy that's going to sit around all day and watch TV."
• Line of the week
Don't look for Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to make a bid to be NBA commissioner anytime soon: "I don't have the personality. I don't have the patience. I'm not a fan of compromise."
THE FINE PRINT: O.J. Mayo says his positive test for DHEA was due to an energy drink bought at a gas station. It was on the shelf next to Alberto Contador's Tainted Beef.
Now Hear This
Listen to the podcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Herschel Walker talks about his Hall of Fame prospects.
2. Clay Matthews III on the Super Bowl and playing in pain.