Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Michael's World

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Michael's World

Article excerpt

It's Monday morning, 3 a.m., and Michael Strahan is reading. His morning talk show goes on the air in a few hours, and he's studying up on the day's guests. Odds are he's had no sleep - his plane from Los Angeles has barely touched down in New York - and odds are better he won't shut his eyes before "Live with Kelly & Michael" goes in front of the 9 a.m. cameras.

"Just running off adrenaline, feeding off a live audience," is Strahan's self-described Monday attitude. "Just go out and do what you've got to do. It's an hour of going, going, going."

For a man whose life once was measured in three-hour adrenaline rushes, a regular Sunday football date for the Giants lasting 15 seasons, the former football star has proven himself equal to this one-hour television challenge.

And more.

With one foot in two TV worlds, a cross-country straddle from Fox's Sunday football show on the West Coast to ABC's weekday morning show in Manhattan, Strahan has done what so many of his NFL brethren have struggled to do before him, making a smooth and satisfying transition beyond athletic glory. He has followed a dominant football career -- Strahan was recently announced as one of 15 modern-era finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame -- with a burgeoning one in television. In the ratings report for the week of Dec. 31, 2012, Strahan and co-host Kelly Ripa rose to No. 1 among syndicated talk shows, and next month, will be hosting their own red- carpet show at the Oscars.

"I don't get a ton of sleep, but I love it,'' Strahan said in a recent phone conversation. "I'm fortunate enough to have two incredible jobs that most people would love to have. I always had a thing in me to prove I could do something else outside of playing football, and being on Fox talking about it, it's incredible. I love the guys and it's so much fun. And now, with 'Live' and the morning show, it's a totally different demographic, a totally different audience, and it blows my mind.

"It's something I never even thought."

It's a busy life for sure, but one the 41-year old embraces with the same unshakeable ferocity that brought down a record number of opposing quarterbacks in 2001, and one that casts him in the rare role of bona fide crossover success, from interviewing to celebrity to pitching products.

"I'm not surprised by anything that Michael Strahan accomplishes because he has a dynamic personality, one that people naturally cling to," said Tom Coughlin, Strahan's final coach with the Giants.

Strahan didn't set out to be a star, rather growing up as the relatively shy youngest of Gene and Louise Strahan's seven children, spending the bulk of his childhood on the German army base where Gene was stationed. Football beckoned for many reasons - he had an uncle who made a brief NFL stint and his father had been a pro boxer - among them a chance to shed extra pounds. And as he developed into an outstanding defensive player, as he moved back to his native Houston to live with an uncle and play his senior season for a local high school, as he earned a scholarship to Texas Southern University, as he signed his initial Giants contract as a second- round draft pick, the engaging personality behind a trademark gap- toothed smile continued to emerge. …

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