There are many ways to get ready for a game: Music, meditation, dancing, or just plain banging your head against a locker.
Dave Tollefson dials momma.
Before every game, the Giants' defensive end heads to a secluded area of the locker room to call his mother. But this isn't your normal don't-get-hurt speech. Tollefson's mom gives him a loud, bombastic, fire-and-brimstone pep talk, reported the New York Times.
With his father not in the picture, Tollefson grew up enjoying a special bond with his mother, who encouraged him to play football even though the family didn't have a lot of money. He credits his mom's sacrifices, along with her pep talks, in helping him find success in the NFL.
"I wouldn't be where I'm at if it wasn't for her," Tollefson told the Times. "I'm a momma's boy."
Tollefson has Giants equipment manager Ed Wagner scout out a quiet part of every locker room. Tollefson first calls his wife, Megan, before mom delivers her Al Pacino-like speech.
Wagner says "she rips into him" and basically tells him not to be a "coward" while using "a lot of curse words."
What does Tollefson's mother have to say about all this?
"I'm not going to talk to him like a mom and say, 'Be careful and don't hurt anybody,'" Debi Crocker told the Times. "That's not going to get him pumped up. I would say it's basically potty-mouth, smash-mouth-football-type talk."
Raised near Oakland, Calif., with his twin sister and younger brother -- an Iraq veteran who served two tours as a Marine -- Tollefson learned discipline and toughness from his mother, who tested developmentally disabled students at a Bay Area high school.
After playing ball at a junior college, Tollefsen didn't get any offers to continue his football career. He was working as a carpenter's apprentice with his cousin for more than a year before a friend gave him a call and offered the chance to play ball at tiny Northwest Missouri State.
Originally picked by the Green Bay in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, Tollefsen spent time on the Packers and Raiders practice squads before finding a home in limited roles on both defense and special teams with the Giants.
This season, Tollefson had 21 tackles and five sacks for New York, which will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 46 on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis.
Bet on Tollefsen getting on the phone with Mom before that game -- unless she's in the building. Last year, during a loss to the Eagles, Tollefson sprained ligaments in his knee. His mom showed up in the X-ray room and told her son to tape up the knee and get back on the field.
That's one tough momma.
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