Zak DeOssie is home. Which means he's finally like us again ... snow-bound.
If you followed DeOssie's diary during the Pro Bowl week in Hawaii, you can see why he is four years into what will probably be a double-digit career in the National Football League.
Zak, who lives in Hoboken, N.J., about five minutes from the Meadowlands, gets it.
He gets the work entailed. He has the right people around him to lean on (see family and now a fiancee).
And he's talented.
Before we shut him down for the winter, we sought his advice and/or thoughts about the big game on Sunday between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers.
DeOssie's Giants got whacked by the Packers, 45-17, the day after Christmas. It was a two-fold beating. Not only were the highly-touted Giants embarrassed in the nationally-televised game in Green Bay, but they were all but knocked out of the playoffs.
While it may not hold a lot of water, DeOssie's Giants beat the Steelers in 2008, 21-14, which was also the same year the Steelers won the Super Bowl.
So in some form, he knows both teams.
And he makes no bones about his expected winner on Sunday.
"I like Green Bay," said DeOssie. "They are firing on all cylinders right now. As we know, it's not necessarily the team with the best record that comes out on top this time of year.
"Pittsburgh has had an excellent track record over the recent few years, winning two Super Bowls since 2005, and I expect they will be impressive in this game," said DeOssie. "But the team that plays as the most cohesive unit is the team that plays best, and Green Bay has been doing that consistently. I see them going out this weekend and performing with the kind of heart that can win a big game ... and a Super Bowl title."
DeOssie thinks that among the stars on the field in Dallas, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will be the biggest.
"He has God-given talent, no doubt. But ability can be matched," said DeOssie. "What makes him so good is his swagger — which I will define as confidence, conviction, showmanship and pride — while maintaining the modesty of a respectful competitor. He is both a superstar and a consummate professional, which is a rare combination in any business."
That being said, DeOssie knows that even his prediction is for the birds.
He remembers hearing predictions about the Giants Super Bowl tilt with the New England Patriots three years ago, when it was about 90 percent in favor of the Patriots.
"Regardless of who wins the game this weekend, I will smile for them," said DeOssie. "With our Super Bowl win still vividly in my mind — though not recent enough for my taste — I know that standing on the field at the pinnacle of your game, competing with the best of the best, and walking away with the championship provides an unparalleled sense of pride, success, glory ... and I will be green with envy."
As for how often he thinks about that victory over the Patriots, how does every day sound?
"I think about XLII often," said DeOssie. "It is a fond memory, but a persistent reminder that every season, every team puts in their share of hard work - blood, sweat, tears - but there are only two teams allowed on that field, and we all want to be one of them. So here's to the last men standing."
E-mail Bill Burt at firstname.lastname@example.org.