Giants center Shaun O'Hara is a leader in the locker room and on the offensive line. The nine-year veteran recently sat down with NFL.com to talk about his childhood idols and his favorite place to dine out in Manhattan.
How is life different after winning the Super Bowl?
It's not different. I'm not doing anything I don't normally do this time of year. I'm still training, I'm still getting ready for training camp. I think my perspective on things has changed. Once you win the Super Bowl, I think now you just start to expect success from yourself and from your teammates. I think when you're constantly striving to get to that Super Bowl, you don't know what it takes to get there. You don't know what you have to do to get there. You think there's some magical potion or some magical aspect of working out or practicing or playing the games that will get you there, and really there isn't any one thing that you can do. So, I think your expectations definitely change a little bit. The only thing different now, as an offensive lineman, I'm used to flying under the radar where nobody knows who you are and nobody recognizes you. And in New York that has definitely changed. It's a little different. Even outside of New York, it's weird to have people come up to you and they know who you are and your name. I know that's directly correlated to winning the Super Bowl.
What player did you most admire while growing up?
Really I had two players. Walter Payton was the first and Mike Singletary was the second. I kind of wanted to be a mixture of both of them. I grew up kind of being a Bears fan and watching the Chicago Bears defense and watching Walter Payton, so those were my two big NFL influences.
What was the best training camp prank you've been a part of?
It's hard. Like a good magician, you don't want to reveal any of your tricks. But there was a player who happened to steal Eli Manning's E-Z Pass (electronic toll collection monitor) off of his car. With training camp in Albany, N.Y. and the drive up there, there are a couple of tolls you have to go through coming from New York City. So that was a pretty funny prank to hear about how Eli kept going through the E-Z Pass lane and it kept saying "toll unpaid," and he couldn't figure out why his E-Z Pass wasn't working until he gets home and realizes that it's not even in his car.
What's your favorite and least favorite training camp drill?
I hate all training camp drills. Everything about training camp I dislike. My favorite training camp drill is probably that first scrimmage where everybody's still kind of fresh. You're not sore yet and kind of eager to get those first hits in. It kind of wakes you up and reminds you that you're back playing football again. My least favorite training camp drill is the conditioning test. That's day one and no matter how good of shape you're in, there's always that fear and paranoia that something may happen -- you may strain a hamstring or your back tightens up and you don't pass the test and you have to run extra for the rest of training camp. So that's always weighing on your mind.
What's your favorite sport other than football?
Basketball. I played during high school and that was the one thing I missed most. As I started getting heavier, it was too hard to play. I played center and I loved it. It was fun. It's great exercise, it keeps you in shape. I also threw discus in high school as well. That was always fun. It was kind of the one individual sport that I played where you go home a winner or a loser and you have no one to blame but yourself. That was an interesting aspect compared to all the other sports I played, which were team sports.
If you weren't playing football what would you be doing professionally?
Well, I don't know. Maybe working for the NFL Network, doing some broadcasting. I have a criminal justice degree (from Rutgers), so for a while there I thought I wanted to be a secret service agent and carry a big gun.
Complete this sentence: "If I were commissioner for the day, I would..."
Shorten preseason games to two games and shorten training camp to one week.
What is your favorite movie?
That's tough, there are so many. My favorite football movie is probably "Rudy." I'd have to say "The Big Lebowski" is probably my favorite movie just to sit down and watch that movie over and over. It never gets old.
What the strangest autograph request you've encountered.
Any time kids ask you to sign their shoes. It's always like they're wearing them and then they take them off and ask you to sign them. Then it's like, you don't want to touch their shoes. They always want you to sign their shoes, but you've got to hold it, and I hate signing someone's shoes. I'll sign anything else, but not shoes...unless you're not wearing them.
What's a perfect day off?
A perfect day off would be waking up, fixing a nice huge breakfast -- bacon and eggs, bagel, toast, the whole nine yards -- and then going for a motorcycle ride, then hitting the beach and then going for a nice dinner in Manhattan in the Spring time. I'm a big fan of Nobu...either Nobu or Del Frisco's.