Whether you’re a professional athlete or just dabble in pick-up games at the local park, almost everyone who’s ever played a sport has some sort of pregame routine. Michael Strahan, for all his success, was no exception to that rule. In fact, the defensive end took things a bit further than most during his time with the New York Giants.
Like plenty of other athletes, Michael Strahan needed to get dressed in a certain order. His process, however, included a bizarre twist: asking his socks which foot they each wanted to go on.
Michael Strahan’s road to the NFL
These days, Michael Strahan has made a name for himself as both a former football player and a natural television talent. Growing up, though, he didn’t seem like much of an athlete.
Strahan spent his formative years in Germany and, as a teenager, as branded ‘BOB’ by his peers. While that nickname seemed innocuous, it proved to be painful; depending on who you asked, it either stood for ‘Booty on Back’ or ‘Big Ol’ Butt.’
That bullying inspired Strahan to make a change in his life. Before long, he was excising regularly and following his father’s weight-lifting regimen. By the time Michael was a high school senior, he had moved to Texas to live with his uncle and play high school football.
All of his efforts paid off, and Strahan, in that one season on high school football, showed enough to earn a scholarship to Texas Southern. During his time in college, the defensive end proved to be a prolific pass rusher; when the 1993 NFL draft rolled around, he had done enough to join the New York Giants as a second-round pick.
Talking to his socks before each game
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During his time on the gridiron, Michael Strahan proved capable of terrorizing any quarterback he came across. Before taking the field, however, he had to get dressed in a pretty unique way.
“My pregame was cool,” Strahan told Graham Bensinger in a video interview. “I liked it. I had a whole routine of doing stuff. Everything was in a certain order. Get there at a certain time, look at my uniform, put things on in a certain order at a certain time. Everything was perfectly timed out.”
In the grand scheme of things, that sounds pretty normal. Things took a turn, though, when Strahan reached his socks.
“I would look at my socks and kind of, not verbally go, ‘Hey, which one of you, which foot do you want to be on today,” he continued. ” Like I didn’t speak out loud to my socks because my teammates would have thought I was nuts, but I would look at my socks and go, “Which one would you like? Which foot would you like today?’ They’d debate sometimes, they’d debate, and I’d have to put the sock on, and then the sock may go ‘I don’t like this one today,’ and then I would switch them up.”
While that routine may sound a bit excessive, the defensive end thought it would help his footwork on the field.
“I just felt if my socks didn’t tell me and I put the sock on, and it was like ‘no that’s not a good one,’ that I’d be clumsy that day,” Strahan explained.
Whatever Michael Strahan did before games, it paid off
With all due respect to Michael Strahan, asking your socks which foot they want to go on—and accepting their response—seems like a pretty weird way to prepare for a football game. At the end of the day, though, things worked out for the New York Giants great.
While it took him a few seasons to hit his stride, Strahan grew into a franchise legend with the G-Men. During his 15 seasons with the franchise, he piled up recording 854 total tackles and 141.5 sacks; 22.5 of the latter came during a record-setting 2001 campaign. Strahan also made seven Pro Bowls, earned First-Team All-Pro honors four times, and earned a Super Bowl ring.
If not for the cooperation of his socks, Michael Strahan may have never found all of that success.