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Justin Tuck on Super Bowl wins, career

For the 20th ESPYS, ESPN has selected the 20 greatest sports moments of the past 20 years. At No. 17, Justin Tuck and the New York Giants stunned fans around the world when they upset the undefeated New England Patriots 17-14 in Super Bowl XLII. Justin Tuck recently spoke with ESPN.com about that game, his charity and his expectations for this season.

You're talented and fortunate enough to have been a part of two Super Bowl-winning teams. What goes through your mind once you've won it all?

Immediately after winning both of them, honestly you're just thankful for your teammates, the fans and the opportunity to be a part of history.

When it comes to your two Super Bowl wins, does one stick out more than the other?

It's hard to beat the first one, for the fact that it's your first one. In dramatic fashion, I love both of them for different reasons, but the first one is always going to have that new and fresh feel to it. So I think the first one is a little bit better than the second one.

What does it mean to you to come back this season alongside Jason Pierre-Paul and Osi Umenyiora?

I think this trio here could possibly, at the end of our careers, go down in history as better than the trio of Osi, Jason and Michael Strahan. I think we have that much talent. We're going to be in New York for a long time it looks like, so hopefully we can play great and go down in history as one of the best defensive line combinations ever.

What do you think you need to do to ensure a division title this season?

We have a great amount of talent on our football team. Obviously starting with Eli Manning in the quarterback position, with what he was able to do last year and how he's going to deal with that. Defensively we have a lot of starters returning. So if we're able to stay healthy, I think we'll be very successful. I know our division is probably the toughest in the NFL, but we enjoy playing in it and we really want to go out there and give our best for the week.

Which quarterback are you looking forward to playing against the most?

When people ask me about quarterbacks I always tell them the "next one." We play the Cowboys in Week 1, so I guess Tony Romo. All the QB's we face this year are great. If you ask me that question after Week 1, it'd be whoever we play Week 2.

What personal goals have you set for yourself this season?

I try not to get into the numbers game, but I want to play all 16 games and get back to the dominant football player I've been in previous years. I don't think last year, during the regular season I wasn't the type of player I have been because of injuries, so staying healthy is a main concern for me this year.

What lessons has being captain of the defense taught you?

I think a lot of people think that being a captain means you're always right or that you get the last say, but for me, it has taught me more about following. I think to be a great captain you have to listen to your teammates' suggestions and problems. So I've learned more about following in that leadership role.

When you thought opposing players were taking advantage of your neck injury, you just made a new helmet. Can you talk about your new helmet a little bit?

I just wanted to make a new start and make something fresh and new. So I've started to promote the one I have now and it's creating a lot of buzz. The facemask itself already has its own website. So it's kind of funny to think that people are so fascinated by it. I was just doing something to protect my neck injury, and it ended up taking on an entire life of its own.

Through all your success in your athletic career, whether it comes in high school, college or your professional career, what moment has been your proudest?

My proudest moment was winning the Super Bowl. It's the greatest thing I've done for our team.
The undefeated Patriots were the favorite and they came in as the No. 1 seed, but we fought through a lot of adversity and continued to stay strong as a football team. I think that says a lot about the character of the people that played with me in those two Super Bowls.

Can you talk a little bit about your charity and what inspired you to make it?

My charity is called "Tuck's R.U.S.H. for Literacy." My wife and I are very passionate about kids and education. We felt as though the educational foundation for our kids has to start with reading and writing. So we started to provide books and reading materials and after school programs to tri-state Title I schools in some of the worst areas in New York and New Jersey and back in my home state of Alabama. The kids were not getting necessary funding and materials to prepare themselves for improving their school. We're raising awareness and putting it to great use.

What do you think is the greater celebration, the Tuck Bow or the Victor Cruz Salsa?

Definitely the Cruz Salsa. He's funny. It's great, it's a part of his culture, and I told him I was going to steal it one time after a tackle this year. It's an awesome celebration.