Q&A: Wide Receiver/Returner Phil McConkey
BigBlue’56: How HUGE was the special Team’s upgrade this year in terms of greatly aiding our Defensive and Offensive field positions? The bigger question and probably the only question I have is this: Will this type of upgrade help to “mask” some of the Defensive deficiencies we might encounter during the course of the season?
McConkey: Special teams killed the Giants last year and who knows how far they could have gone with good special teams play. They tried to improve that with the draft, now we just have to wait and see if they improve.
BW in DC: How have the magnificent teachings of the game’s greatest living coach – King Parcells – had an impact on your non-football life?
McConkey: Bill Parcells’ greatness is he refuses to accept excuses. Excuses are simple barriers for some, and for others who don’t accept them but will work harder to avoid having to make them. And that works in all walks of life.
HopeJ: Was the adjustment post-football difficult? what advice to the current Giants do you have to help them prepare for life AFTER professional football?
McConkey: Life after football and the transition was not tough for me. It was tough before as a navy pilot. The advice I give to current Giants is take advantage of life in the New York area. Meet people and be nice to them. You never know what and who will impact your life.
RiffRaff: During your memorable career with the Giants, you were an emotional leader. I remember you getting nailed during a punt or kick return and jumping up yelling and screaming as if it didn’t hurt you. How did you get up for the games? What inspired that energetic enthusiasm during the game? Was that manic energy difficult to turn off after the game was over?
McConkey: Sure those hits hurt. I was seeing stars after a lot of those hits. As a little man I can’t let anyone know that they hurt me. The reverse intimidation process is what worked for me. I was 164 lbs and that’s all I know. People use to meet me off the field and they would ask what’s the matter. Fans think that I am like that all the time but I’m not, just on the field.
c_dude: Who do you feel was the most underrated player (offense or defense) you have played with who deserved more credit than they received?
McConkey: Pete Shaw.
Tony T: Who was the toughest player that you played against, and is there anyone playing today that reminds you of him?
McConkey: I’m not sure who the toughest player was I played against but the toughest player I ever played with was Pete Shaw, who was a strong safety who came over to us from San Diego. He was shorter than me and would be blocking on punt returns and kickoffs against players twice his size and laying them out. Then he would get up and make another block and then another if there was anyone left standing. Although, I should mention that no one hits harder than when you are running in the streets playing football in Buffalo, New York and you get hit by a parked Buick.
throwback51: Can you tell us about your Navy “landing” days, since he landed choppers on aircraft carriers in the early 80’s?
McConkey: There are some similarities between football and my navy days. You get pumped up when you are preparing for an important game or mission, but the biggest difference is when you screw up in football, you are likely to get a second chance. In the navy, if you screw up, you are dead.