An Interview With…David Tuckman.

This week on Any Given Sunday (Night), we have an interview with Sky Sports NFL presenter and pundit David Tuckman. You will regularly see David debating the finer points of the game with Nick and Kevin on a Sunday evening, whilst in other areas, David covers poker on networks across the world and sits at the helm of Sky’s very-own NASCAR coverage. We spoke to David to ask him about his beloved New York Jets, his tips for the Superbowl, and his thoughts on a London franchise…

 

Welcome to Any Given Sunday (Night), David. Let’s begin by finding out about your own personal NFL background. Regular Sky viewers know you are a big Jets fan, but what path led you to support the New Yorkers, and what makes you proud to be a Jet?

My first JET game was when I was in my Mom’s womb. One of my basic rules of life: If you’re at the stadium after conception, but before birth, you kind of need to be a fan for life.

What do you think of the Jets season so far? Many predicted a fair degree of success for the team this year, but you must be pleased with how it has gone up until now?

Honestly I could write pages and pages about the Jets. I’ll keep it short. Coming into the season, the expectations were high and they had a target on their back. They were definitely setting themselves up for a letdown. They’ve responded, and with an 8-2 record, they are in good shape to make the playoffs.

They have a ton of holes that they’ll need to shore up if they want to get to where Rex believes they can go though.

What is your favourite story of the season so far? Randy Moss’ never-ending journey? The Cowboys’ self-destruction? Or something else?

My favourite story or the best story? My favourite story is the Brett Favre Saga. I feel dirty about it, but I’m kind of enjoying him go up in flames this year, probably only because I predicted it.

That and Mike Vick. I love dogs more than anyone; I had one for 11 years that I lost a little over a year ago and I’m very sensitive when it comes to animal cruelty. That being said, I’m enjoying watching Vick rebuild his life, his career and his legacy.

I think every fan has one particular play that is imprinted in their memory; that made them jump out of their seats. What is your favourite individual play of all time?

My favorite play of all time?! Wowsers, off the top of my head, I’ll go with a non-play. Dennis Byrd walking onto the field at the Meadowlands. I saw the game and the play that injured him and it still haunts me to this day. Watching him walk onto the field (I was there) was one of the most emotionally inspiring things I’ve ever seen.

On this very blog last week, we discussed the issue of a franchise in the UK. Would you support the idea? And if not, what are the major flaws in such a plan?

Of course I’d support the idea, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t some major flaws. Most have been talked about at length. I just wonder if a team could be competitive in the free agent market. Would players want to live in the UK? I would, but I’m not so sure about others. Travelling across the Atlantic every week would just be so draining for the players and the team. Logistically it sounds like such a nightmare right now. I do think it’s something that can happen, but unfortunately, my guess is that it’s not happening anytime soon.

What I am in favour of for now is each team playing an extra game – a 17th game.  The 17th game for each team would be played at a neutral site – many of which would be international.

In your experience, how do fans in the UK compare to those in the US? Now the ‘cult’ aspect is lifting in this country, are we becoming almost as obsessive with the sport?

Fans in the UK are great, simple. ‘Cult’? Well, it’s weird because some of ‘cult’ aspect of following a team in the States is because you’re from that area. It’s kind of like being a fan of Liverpool FC because you live 10 minutes from the stadium. Nothing beats the impact of growing up with a team in your backyard and cheering for them because your Dad did and his Dad did.

The team at NFL Sunday seem to increase in popularity every year. What’s it like to work with Nick and Kevin?

Thanks for that! I love working with on NFL Sunday. I am very lucky to have that opportunity. As for Nick and Kev, they are both great guys. They both know a lot about the game and they are very welcoming to new faces on the show. They made my transition very easy.

Finally, no interview would be complete with you giving us your tips for the ‘Bowl. Who do you fancy to bring some rare quality football to Cowboys Stadium this year?

My pre-season Superbowl pick was the Packers vs the Jets. Do I stay with it? Jets’ defense has been good, certainly not great. Green Bay have been decimated by injuries. Every other week a new team emerges as the favourite.

I think the season doesn’t really start until Thanksgiving. That’s when it turns cold and the contenders/pretenders start to show their true colours. Who is going to get hot at the end? Who will have that momentum heading into the playoffs?

The Patriots? I still don’t think a defense that inexperienced will be able to hold up come playoff time. The Ravens? A vastly overrated defense, but Flacco is for real. The Colts? Not sure they can overcome the bevy of injuries. The Steelers? This is team you can get behind, but they are struggling with injuries on their offensive line. The Jets? They’re still getting abused week in and week out by opposing tight ends, and Sanchez, whilst brilliant one week, shows his inexperience the next. They’ve been winning a bunch of close games and that should help them come January.

One of those 5 will represent the AFC and I see no reason to change my preseason pick yet.

In the NFC, Atlanta? If and only if they can get home field throughout, have you seen Matt Ryan’s home and away splits? New Orleans? If they can get more balance on offense. They need a running game. The Packers? So many injuries. Might be too much to overcome. Chicago? Really? Seriously?! I look at that team and wonder how they are 7-3. In fairness, their defense is playing lights-out ball. The offense is killing them. Running game too inconsistent and Cutler too mistake-prone.

The Giants? Defense is top notch and so well coached. Good balance on offense. Definitely a team to watch in January. The Eagles? They are everyone’s pick right now! Give top defensive coordinators a few weeks to figure out a game plan to stop Vick and then I want to see how Vick responds before I annoint them Champions. The Giants showed the rest of the league how to slow down Vick and the Eagles on Sunday night, and this is a copycat league. How does Vick respond? Finally, Tampa Bay? They’re not ready for big time yet, although I do like Josh Freeman.

Gun to my head, I have to choose one team to represent the NFC? I’d go with the Giants. Wait. And all New York Superbowl? It’s never happen…

Thank you for your time David, and good luck to the Jets for the rest of the season!

David Dickson.

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  1. Great Interview! As a total Jets fan and recent transplant I miss my NFL football!

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