"When I first started playing, I was surprised at the fact that I was allowed to hit people as hard as I could and not get in trouble. Because in soccer, when you get to a certain level, you can slide-tackle and take them off their feet, but you have to always hit the ball first and then take that person out. But in football, that’s not true. You can run as hard as you can into somebody else and take them down. Thumbs up!
"But as far as I know, I’ve never hurt anybody through playing the game of football."
He also spoke with GQ contributor Peter Schrager about the bright future of his beloved Lions, who he’d start a NFL franchise with, and whether he’d work Tim Tebow into a rhyme someday. Over the course of the playoffs, we’ll be back each week with another member of Shady’s crew, including Yelawolf, Joell Ortiz and Joe Budden from Slaughterhouse, and manager Paul Rosenberg. But today we start with the boss. Click here to read the full Q+A with Mr. Mathers. A sample below.
GQ: The Saints just knocked your Lions out of the playoffs. Could the 49ers slow them down?
Eminem: I’m really interested in that Saints-Niners game. Drew Brees is playing like a fucking animal right now, but the way that the 49ers have turned that team around. It’s crazy, right? That’s going to be a hell of a game to watch. I think the Broncos and Patriots could be crazy, too. I don’t know how far Houston’s going to make it, though. Baltimore’s tough.
GQ: You and Ray Lewis—the way you approach your professions, that intensity—I feel like you’re very similar.
Eminem: Ray Lewis, man. That’s a very passionate dude. He’s an animal. He’s the last of a dying breed, really. Obviously, he’s going to the Hall of Fame. He’s fucking iconic. They don’t make them like him anymore. He’s cut from a whole different sort of cloth.
GQ: If you’re building your own NFL team, in any era, and you can pick your quarterback and head coach—who are you going with?
Eminem: Wow. This is hard. I want to…Man, this is hard. Joe Montana? Or Troy Aikman? I mean, Aikman was a winner, too. But I’ll go Montana. And coach? Fuck. Tom Landry. Give me Tom Landry in that hat. Yeah. Can’t go wrong with Joe Montana and Tom Landry.
GQ: You’ve mentioned Marcus Allen, Michael Vick, and Ben Roethlisberger in songs before. When can we expect a Tebow lyric?
Eminem: Who knows? A lot of things rhyme with Tebow, though, right?