It’s been 13 years but Osi Umenyiora can still make Tom Brady flinch.
The former Giants defensive end who was part of a unit that tormented Brady in Super Bowl XLII dropped in on the quarterback’s virtual Super Bowl media day interview on Monday, this time as a working journalist who covers the NFL in the United Kingdom. When Umenyiora was introduced for his question, Brady shuddered.
"My guy!" Brady said, clearly trying to butter him up. "I’m happy I’m not playing you this weekend."
There is one ghost from that Super Bowl who will be there on Sunday, though. That’s Kansas City defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. He was the defensive coordinator for the Giants in 2007 when they toppled the previously unbeaten Patriots.
"That 2007 game is one of my least favorite football memories, probably because I had a lot of you on top of me and grass stains on my back," Brady told Umenyiora. "You and Stray [Michael Strahan] and Justin [Tuck]. You guys had a great defense. You guys were an incredible opponent that day and you guys deserved to win."
As for facing Spagnuolo again, Brady said it’s "tough."
"I think Spags runs a great scheme and I think he really caters to the strengths of his players," Brady said. "I think his schemes overall are different and I've played him several times over the last 13 or 14 years. I think he’s a tremendous coach. Everyone seems to love to play for him, and it’s a tough game. I know he’s going to have those guys ready to go."
Umenyiora, for his part, admitted that he was one of those who speculated at the start of this season that Brady would not be as successful without Bill Belichick. "You have absolutely obliterated that narrative," he said. He also said he is rooting for the Bucs. "Go do it," he told Brady.
One of the reasons why Umenyiora might be pulling for Tampa Bay could be former teammate Jason Pierre-Paul. Umenyiora stopped by his virtual news conference as well. Pierre-Paul was much happier to hear from Umenyiora than Brady seemed to be. Umenyiora did not have a question, he just wanted to say hello.
"Ain’t nobody like Osi," Pierre-Paul said. "Love, bro. Love, bro. Love. My dog, man."