It's going to be like a home game for Dave Tollefson on Sunday.
The defensive end is returning to his home state of California on Sunday as the Giants take on the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game. Tollefson is a native of Walnut Creek, Calif., which is in the East Bay, near San Francisco, and will have family and former coaches at the game.
"It's going to be great," Tollefson said. "I actually grew up a Raiders fan, from the East Bay, but to just have the opportunity, I'm going to have some of my old coaches there, my junior college coach and my family. It's great man. I couldn't have wished for anything more. It's going to be an awesome experience."
Tollefson, who said he grew up hating the 49ers since he was a Raiders fan, attended Ygnacio Valley High School (Concord, Calif.). He played two years at Los Medanos College, which is approximately 40 miles from San Francisco.
The defensive end has played at San Francisco in a regular season game just once in his career, when the Giants took on the 49ers on Nov. 13. Tollefson did not record a tackle or a sack as the 49ers beat the Giants, 27-20. He had five sacks and 21 tackles on the season.
"I'm so pumped up man, I can't wait," Tollefson said. "For me personally to go back home, I was born and raised out there, so personally there's a little bit more excitement for me, my mom's going to be there. For the championship man, for all the marbles."
Having his mother in the house for the NFC Championship Game will mean a lot to Tollefson, who spoke glowingly of her on Friday.
"She's a single mom with three kids. I wouldn't be where I'm at today if it wasn't for her," Tollefson said. "I don't think it's even a question. I'm a momma's boy and I try not to show it too much on the field but she's No. 1 in my life for a long time, now she has to take a back seat to my wife but it's a nice back seat, I got a good back seat for her."
The defensive end said that as youngster he thought of playing a big game in the Bay Area with the stakes high.
"Of course. It was always a dream. To play in the NFL, even when I was a carpenter and working I used to tell my friends I wanted to play in the NFL and they would make fun of me," Tollefson said. "It was always a dream and at this point I'm living it and trying to keep stacking the good memories and this is also just another great memory of being with these guys in this locker room and making a run like this."