If you’ve watched an NFL “mic’ed up” segment before, you’ve likely seen players saying some pretty aggressive things during pregame huddles, on the sidelines and in the actual game itself. But it’s pretty rare to see such bold talk directly in an opponent’s face right before kickoff.
That’s the strategy Eagles defensive lineman Brandon Graham adopted ahead of Saturday’s divisional round playoff matchup with the Giants. In a video shared by NFL Films’s Twitter account on Tuesday, Graham was chirping up a storm as the two sides met at midfield for the coin toss, setting the tone for what would eventually become a blowout win by Philadelphia.
“We’re running right at you, nine-seven!” Graham yelled at Giants defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence II. “We’re running right at you!”
Graham then directed a warning to Giants running back Saquon Barkley.
“And you know not to run this way!” Graham chirped at Barkley.
Graham’s next target was Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
“Hey eight!” Graham yelled at Jones. “You know I’m on that throwing arm all day, eight.”
Graham lobbed a few more barbs at the Giants captains before and after the coin flip, then chuckled to himself as he jogged off the field.
You can watch Graham’s delivery below. It’s a veritable clinic in trash talk.
By the end of the night, Graham looked like a genius. The Eagles romped their way to a 38-7 win, with Graham notching two tackles and one sack. He was classy after the game, though, shaking hands with both Barkley and Jones while telling Barkley, “You know I got to mess with you, boy. Good s—t, boy.”
Graham’s pregame antics bring to mind those of Rafael Nadal, who—thanks to clips shown in Netflix’s new tennis docuseries, Break Point—carried himself with plenty intensity in the tunnel prior to a French Open match, which he eventually won. Where Nadal opted for physical exertion with ample grunting, Graham let his words do most of the work pregame before backing them up when the action started.
Both tactics ended up successful, and we can only hope that Graham has the microphone again ahead of Sunday’s NFC title game against the 49ers.