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    "In Week 14, Antrel Rolle and Corey Webster got mixed up on a call, allowing
    the Cowboys' Dez Bryant to score
    an uncontested 50-yard touchdown
    against the Giants' confused secondary. Cris
    Collinsworth, calling the game for NBC, said Rolle got "barbecued" on the

    "Get out of here with that, man," Rolle said in the days after the

    Today, Collinsworth was here for some information gathering in advance of
    calling Super Bowl XLVI. He and Rolle had a brief chat on the field, during
    which both shook hands and seemed to be conversing with no issues.

    "We’re cool," Rolle said in the locker room after practice. "Like I said man,
    there’s no hard feelings in this league. Sometimes people want to take things
    and put spin on it or whatever the case may be, but there’s no hard feelings.
    We’ve always gotten along."

    To be fair, there wasn't much spin put on Rolle's comments. He was upset with
    the way he was portrayed because he felt he was the only one who played things
    properly. He came down to play the hook area in a Cover-3, while Webster also
    stayed short in a Cover-2 look. That left the deep left side of the defense wide

    Rolle and Collinsworth have apparently hashed things out since then.

    "Same thing with your brothers and sisters. If you have a disagreement that
    doesn’t mean you fall out forever," Rolle said. "We didn’t have a falling out,
    just a disagreement. I said what I said, he said what he said. It’s over with.
    We’re both men. We can take it."


    "It's been four years since these teams met in the Super Bowl, but Giants
    defensive end Osi Umenyiora's feelings for Patriots left tackle Matt Light
    evidently have not thawed.

    "There's something he does that reeeeally gets under my skin," Umenyiora said
    today in East Rutherford.

    Light walked through the Patriots locker room into the shower area before he
    could be asked about Umenyiora's take on him. But running back Kevin Faulk, who
    will be playing in his fifth Super Bowl with Light this year, waved off
    Umenyiora's comments.

    "He tried to pull the same thing the last time, so," Faulk said of Umenyiora.
    "It ain’t relevant to us right now, we’re going to play football. Whatever he’s
    talking about, that’s bulls---."

    Faulk said he "never really paid attention" to Umenyiora's similar gripes
    about Light before Super Bowl XLII. But he paid enough attention to hear them.
    Is Light a dirty player, as Umenyiora alleged before the last Super Bowl and
    perhaps hinted at again? Faulk scoffed.

    "This is the first I’ve heard of it," he said. "Well, my bad, this is the
    second I’ve heard of it. From the same person, so that just lets you know."

    Right guard Brian Waters preferred to stay out of it, noting that any sort of
    mind games are minor in the scope of a football game.

    "All the other little bitty games that are played through the course of a
    game?" Waters, a 12-year veteran, said. "There definitely will be some of that
    gamesmanship at some point. But honestly, if we know who to block, and the
    physical part is finishing and putting out and not getting outworked, then I
    feel like we've got a good chance . What he’s talking about, I don’t know. You’d
    have to ask Matt, and I’m sure they’ll be able to explain a little bit better
    than me."

    Giants defensive end Justin Tuck also stirred the pot a bit. Asked about
    getting to quarterback Tom Brady, he explained, "the way to kill a snake is to
    take off its head."

    Receiver Deion Branch chuckled good-naturedly.

    "Hey, if that’s their analogy that they’re taking, then that’s what it is,"
    he said. "I think our job is to go out and protect that guy, protect that snake.
    That’s Justin, he’s a great player. Trust me, we truly respect that guy, respect
    what he’s doing for his team. But we can’t worry about that part, we have to
    worry about what we’re doing. The snake will do his part."


    "Four years ago, Osi Umenyiora started the pre-Super Bowl XLII chatter by accusing
    the Patriots' Matt Light of some questionable tactics
    in the Week 17 matchup
    between the Giants and Patriots.

    Today, in another parallel between the Super Bowl seasons, Umenyiora is doing
    it again after a
    late shove by Light on Umenyiora started a scrum
    late in the second quarter
    of the Giants' victory in Foxboro in Week 9.

    Apparently, the rivalry is as hot as ever.

    "Yeah, man, it is what it is. Me and him, I’ve actually fought him twice,
    actual real fight on the football field, twice," Umenyiora said. "Me and him, we
    have history. We’re going to rekindle it on Sunday."

    The last time Umenyiora talked about Light's tactics publicly, the two were
    rather well-behaved in the Super Bowl. On that day in Glendale, Ariz., Umenyiora
    had a sack and a handful of pressures as part of a relentless attack on Tom

    But this past game, there was the big tussle after Light shoved Umenyiora
    over Tuck following a sack by Jason Pierre-Paul. Part of what angered Umenyiora
    in '07 was how Light shoved him late around piles, which could lead to lower-leg

    No penalty was called on light (or anybody, for that matter) on the play in
    Week 9. Umenyiora emerged from the pile with a smile on his face as he barked in
    Light's direction.

    On the next series, the two traded shoves after a play. In the third quarter.
    Light got away with a shove to Umenyiora's face mask, though he was so busy
    putting his hands to his rival's chin that he missed Michael Boley looping
    around for a sack and a forced fumble.

    "I don’t know what it is he does but it’s something he’s doing that really
    gets under my skin," Umenyiora said, extending the "reeeeeealy" part. "And I’m
    not that type of guy. He’s probably the only person I’ve ever foiught on the
    football field.

    "I think he’s more important to his team than I am to mine right now so if we
    can both fight we’ll both get kicked out and 'JPP' and Tuck will have a field
    day out there."

    Umenyiora was joking on that last one, laughing through the end of that that
    reply and the next one when asked if he'd actually take a dive like that during
    the Super Bowl.

    "I’ll be good to go," he quipped of sitting out the game to ensure Light it
    out as well. "I’ll be okay."



    Excerpt: "Vince Wilfork’s teammates know what Vince Wilfork’s opponents see, and they
    don’t envy the guys lining up across from him.

    “They’ve got a load,” New England Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson said
    about the Giants’ offensive line. “Quick. His size, he looks like he might be
    slow if you don’t know him, but once he gets on the field ....”

    The Baltimore Ravens could finish that thought, after the Patriots’
    (generously listed) 325-pound defensive lineman took over the
    AFC Championship Game
    last week. The game was vindication for a 31st-ranked
    Patriots defense that had been doubted and criticized all season, deemed unfit
    to make the Super Bowl, even with Tom Brady on the other side of the ball.

    And leading the charge was Wilfork, the “elder statesman” as coach Bill
    Belichick called him, with a sack, three tackles for a loss and two key plays
    that suffocated a critical fourth-quarter drive by the Ravens.

    He lined up not just inside but also at end. He ate up double and triple
    teams. And he is now the problem of the Giants’ offensive line.

    “I play hard every week,” Wilfork said. “Sometimes I make plays that are
    noticeable, and sometimes I don’t. Last week was one of those things where the
    plays I made were pretty good plays. But we have to turn the chapter.”

    Except Belichick thought Sunday’s performance was something extra special for
    Wilfork, “one of his best games” in eight seasons as a Patriot — making sure to
    note he’s had a lot of good ones.

    Belichick cited the infamous wild-card playoff loss to the Ravens in the 2009
    season, when Wilfork excelled despite the outcome. Sunday, Belichick said, was
    reminiscent. With the Ravens in Patriots territory late in the fourth quarter,
    Wilfork tackled running back Ray Rice for a loss on third down, then plowed back
    the center to pressure Joe Flacco into an incompletion on fourth down."


    "Here’s a question that 50-something males don’t get every day: Did anyone
    ever tell you that you really need to be more like your mom than your dad?

    John Mara gave one of those sudden, staccato, high-octave chuckles that
    lasted about five seconds.

    “Oh, no, please — that I cannot do,” the Giants’ owner said, still unable to erase
    the image of his mom — the redoubtable Ann — giving
    Terry Bradshaw the The Big Lecture
    last Sunday at Candlestick.

    “But you know what the worst thing about that was — it wasn’t so much what
    mom did, it was the expression on my face. It was like I was watching something
    happen on live TV, and I’m powerless to stop it, and the cameras catch me
    searching around for an escape. ...”

    No harm done, she’s still adorable, and he’s still the owner of the Super
    Bowl-bound NFC champions.

    We only brought it up near the end of a 20-minute chin-wag Thursday because a
    discussion detour about a certain team that shares MetLife Stadium proved beyond
    any reasonable doubt that this guy is truly his father’s son — classy, gracious,

    To wit: “The Jets still have a good
    team. They just ran into a bad stretch, like ours was in the third quarter” of
    the season, Mara said. “Remember, talent level is so even — it just comes down
    to who stays healthy, who has the right staff, and who has the franchise

    “And if you have those pieces, you have a chance in the NFL. I think we have
    them, and in nine days we’ll see whether it’s enough.”

    Okay, wait, let’s go one more round with this, now that Mara is headed to his
    second Super Bowl as president and CEO, and can’t be touched by the Foghorns of
    Florham Park: Shouldn’t the Giants feel just a little responsible for what has
    happened to the Jets, just by setting the bar at the level that forces them to

    “It’s always wrong to be influenced by (the competition) in the decisions you
    make,” Mara said. “That’s why we strive to maintain stability — don’t worry
    about the next day’s headlines, don’t go crazy over free agency just to own the
    back page, make decisions for the long term. And we believe it’s the right

    It’s this philosophy that punched the Giants’ ticket to Indianapolis, of
    course. And Mara has been asked a lot lately whether that comes directly from
    his dad, who has been gone nearly 6½ years now.

    When you talk about the history of the NFL’s flagship franchise, in a very
    fundamental way, you are talking about the life of Wellington Mara — which in
    football terms encompasses a lot of good, and a lot of not-so-good."

    Yes, it’s hard to be objective about the league’s great Augustus, the fellow
    who spoke softly but whose words helped shape the league over seven decades,
    even as his own team floundered during “those very dark days, from ’64 to 1980,”
    as his son called them Thursday.

    But now you sense that they’ve crossed over into another Giants era — yes,
    permanently. It seems that even in this age of parity, you can rely on one thing
    in this strange league: The Giants will always be competitive, they’ll always
    have the ingenuity to rebound from the occasional 8-8, regardless of the
    vicissitudes of the world’s most competitive sporting stage.

    And this is true for one reason: The guy at the top, The Duke’s son, is a
    model of stability and rationality.

    “The one thing that motivates me is that rough stretch in the ’70s, which was
    a torturous period for all of us, but especially him,” John Mara said. “The
    memories from those years still burn within me. I never want to go back to that.
    Yes, you’ll always have ups and downs, and you can’t win every year. But you can
    contend every year — the Patriots have been able to do it. The Steelers. It’s a
    place that we want to get to, and I think we can.”

    They’re getting closer, is our point. Even during a season in which we
    expected mediocrity, every component in Mara’s organization found a synergy that
    created this unlikely 5-0 blitz through the winter of 2012, and it has the
    owner’s fingerprints all over it.

    In ’07-08, even though John had already taken over most of the operation’s
    responsibilities years earlier, it still felt like his dad’s team, to an extent
    — much of it was put together during the patriarch’s gentle years, even if we
    all know how it was John Mara and Ernie Accorsi who had to talk him into Eli
    Manning in ’03.

    But there can be no misperception in the case of this group. It’s John Mara’s
    team. It would be worth finding out how Ann Mara feels about it, as she was
    uniquely situated to see the transition, but the dear is recuperating from a
    broken shoulder she suffered Monday after falling in church.

    “It’s painful, but you know she’ll try to work through it,” her son said.
    “There’s no doubt she’s going to make the trip, though — you can bet on that.”

    Analysts beware."


    Excerpt: "Before playing the New England Patriots back in Week 9, Antrel
    Rolle was the one
    who said the Giants’ opponents on their schedule should
    fear them. He was the one who called pesky slot receiver Wes Welker human, and
    the one who labeled the Patriots’ inflated offense “nothing spectacular.”

    “I’m confident every week,” Rolle said back then. “That’s who I am.”

    Today, the same man stood before reporters with the same opponent looming.
    But in a way, it didn’t sound like the same brash Giants safety from a few weeks

    “I get extremely nervous, I get extremely nervous before playing games,
    sometimes to the point where I feel like I can’t even stand up,” Rolle said in
    the middle of a bustling Giants locker room today. “It can be going against
    whoever, and I’ll still feel the same way.”

    With the Patriots circling back for another crack at the Giants, it seems
    Rolle has taken a different approach, from decidedly confident to tacitly
    humble. Despite beating New England, 24-20, Rolle said there’s no confidence to
    be gained from that. After heading home to Florida for a brief recess following
    the NFC Championship Game victory, he said he touched down at the airport and
    immediately sharpened his focus.

    Nothing about the Giants’ improbable five-game winning streak makes him feel
    invincible, he swears, adding that “you never feel like you can’t lose. You can
    only feel like you prepared yourself enough."


    "Eli Manning stepped up in the pocket, assuming he had evaded San Francisco
    49ers rookie sack sensation Aldon Smith barreling past right tackle Kareem
    McKenzie off the edge.

    A split second later, Smith blindsided him with the force of a Mack truck,
    snapping Manning’s head back, forcing out a grunt from Manning drawn out on
    slow-motion replay and flattening him face first for the 49ers’ fourth sack of
    the game.

    No one would blame Manning if he didn’t get up. It was one of several jarring
    hits the Giants’ iron man found himself
    on the wrong side of. But with the help of center David Baas pulling him up, he
    was on his feet again and took two more sacks in last
    Sunday’s NFC championship game.
    He shrugged off each hit in his typical
    indifferent manner, maintaining his poise in the pocket for 64 dropbacks.

    It was an example of courage and fortitude his coach and teammates raved
    about afterward. It’s also something they don’t want to see on Super Bowl on

    “We’ve done a really good job the majority of the year of not allowing people
    to get to the quarterback,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “(Sunday) night wasn’t that
    type of an example.

    “There were too many hits on the quarterback. (Manning) stands in there and
    he’ll take the blows, he’ll get right back up, he gets right back in the huddle.
    He’s the same positive influence on everybody around him.”

    In the weeks leading up to Sunday, the Giants offensive line had protected
    Manning well despite the lack of a consistent run game. The six sacks
    surrendered against the 49ers were as many as the offensive line had allowed in
    the four previous games combined.

    But the 49ers featured one of the league’s elite pass rushes — perhaps second
    only to the Giants’ own — so the Giants’ offensive line should have an easier
    time with the New England Patriots, who apply more pressure up the middle than
    on the edges. However, that doesn’t mean New England — with two weeks at Bill
    Belichick’s disposal — won’t find ways to get to Manning.

    “The challenge really lies in the talent they have on the defense — they have
    a very stout, very good front and that’s the challenge,” guard Chris Snee said.
    “We have two weeks to prepare for everything they throw at us, so there should
    be no excuse.”

    In the teams’ first meeting in Week 9, the Patriots didn’t record a sack, but
    Manning’s ability to avoid them came at a price. Manning was noticeably
    uncomfortable for much of the game, throwing off his back foot a number of
    times, including when he underthrew Mario Manningham in the endzone from the
    5-yard line, allowing Kyle Arrington to intercept the pass late in the third

    A touchdown would’ve given the Giants a 17-3 lead. Instead, the Patriots
    capitalized on the turnover, going 80 yards on seven plays in 2:41 to tie the
    game at 10.

    Last week, the Patriots recorded three sacks against the Ravens — safety
    James Ihedigbo, defensive linemen Mark Anderson and defensive tackle Vince
    Wilfork each brought Joe Flacco down. And the Giants offensive line will have to
    pay the most attention to Wilfork.

    Generously listed at 325 pounds, Wilfork has 2½ sacks in two playoff games
    and has been a force in recent weeks — both at nose tackle and defensive end in
    the Patriots’ 3-4 scheme — despite confronting plenty of double teams.

    And as tough as Manning is, a clean shot from the massive Wilfork would put
    his patience and pain tolerance on the brink.

    “He’s a tough guy,” Snee said of Manning. “He kept getting up; he never got
    discouraged with us. He was already positive about the situation, but I don’t
    know if I would have been if I got hit in the head that much.”


    "When these two teams met in the Super Bowl in 2008, the Giants surely would’ve loved to play
    outdoors and have the elements play a role in stopping the explosive New England
    Patriots offense. They ultimately didn’t need it in Glendale, Ariz., but with
    the Giants’ run-first mentality, it wouldn’t have hurt.

    This time around, the Giants have a prolific, pass-first offense of their own
    and a vaunted pass rush predicated on speed, so they welcome playing Super Bowl
    XLVI indoors at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

    “We can play in any weather, but we probably prefer to be in a dome with the
    fast turf and not have to worry about Mother Nature,” RB D.J. Ware said. “And
    that allows players to keep their gloves dry, keep their jerseys dry. Stuff like
    that helps out as far as our offense goes.”

    The Giants were able to deal with the elements at soggy Candlestick Park on
    Sunday, but the numbers show their offense plays better in domes. In three dome
    games this season, Giants quarterback Eli Manning has averaged 360 pass yards
    and the offense has averaged 445 total yards.

    This will be the Patriots’ first dome game this season.

    “That mud slows you down and sticks to your cleats, gets your shoes wet, and
    you feel like you’re carrying around bricks,” Ware said. “It’s one of those
    things where if you’re dry you feel faster and better. If you’re wet and
    sluggish then it’s one of those long, grind-it-out games.”

    Safety Deon Grant, quite frankly, is tired of losing to wide
    receiver Deion Branch in the playoffs.

    Grant, Branch’s teammate for three seasons in Seattle, has been knocked out
    of the postseason two times by Branch — in Super Bowl XXXVIII as a member of the
    Carolina Panthers and in a 2005 Wild Card game as a member of the Jacksonville
    Jaguars. Both losses were against the Patriots."


    "The New England Patriots
    have had no interest all wee
    k in revisiting their memories of their Super
    Bowl XLII loss to the Giants.

    But one topic they had no trouble effusing on? How well Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been

    Patriots quarterback Tom Brady called Manning a "great quarterback," and
    coach Bill Belichick said he’s had a "great year."

    "I’ve seen firsthand what he can do in the fourth quarter of these games,"
    Brady said, referencing Manning's game-winning drives against the Patriots in
    Super Bowl XLII and Week 9 this year. "He’s done a great job of bringing his
    team back, a great leader — you always hear that coming out of New York. The
    guys have a lot of respect for him, and so do I."

    In the teams’ November meeting, Manning threw for 250 yards and two
    touchdowns — both in the final 3:03. Manning was without receiver Hakeem Nicks
    and center David Baas in that game, while the Patriots lost safety Patrick Chung
    and linebacker Brandon Spikes.

    Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork called the Giants offense "probably one of
    the best offenses we’ve seen from every aspect." He said he has seen Manning
    grow, particularly in the way he has eliminated "boneheaded mistakes."

    "Eli is playing probably one of the best footballs of any quarterback in the
    game," Wilfork said. "(There have been) a lot of questions about Peyton; now his
    little brother Eli, he has stepped it up big time. He can always be compared to
    some of the greats in the game now because of his production. He took that team
    over, and not saying he’s the only one, but his play alone moved them in the
    right direction."

    Brady said he was impressed by the way Manning handled pressure from the
    49ers defense in the NFC Championship Game. Manning was sacked six times and
    absorbed 12 hits, according to the box score.

    "He was getting drilled and just stood in there, kept making the throws,
    trusted in his protection and came though when they needed him," Brady said.
    "He’s certainly a great leader for that team and plays at an extremely high
    level … and he seems to always do it down the stretch. I have a ton of respect
    for him."


    "Mario Manningham just couldn't quite do it.

    He was asked to tout the "We get no respect" card again — just days before he
    and his Giants teammates depart for
    Super Bowl XLVI — and came close. Television reporters with cameras over their
    shoulders and microphones in their hands wanted to know if this group of Giants
    wide receivers was the best in the game. No, not the game. The entire NFL.

    He paused.

    "In some people's eyes, we're second," Manningham said, before adding: "To
    Green Bay. Or the Saints. I feel like we're up there with Green Bay. That's who
    I feel like we're up there with."

    There is little doubt left that the Giants' trio of wide receivers — Hakeem
    Nicks, Victor Cruz and Manningham — are among the elite units in the NFL.
    Simmering beneath the surface is a small desire for respect, but for right now
    they are content to let their exact worth be determined by debates in bar rooms
    and sports talk radio.

    The group is young and craving its first Super Bowl title. Because remember:
    None of them were around four years ago for the Super Bowl XLII win over the New
    England Patriots.

    "Not saying (other teams) aren't hungry, but we're hungry because we're so
    young," Manningham said. "We haven't been here before — none of us, ever played
    a playoff game. My first year (in 2008), I was inactive, but there's nothing
    like being out there playing. Yeah, I feel like we like being young. Not
    sticking out like we did the whole year as a receiving corps. I feel like they
    know who we (are) now."

    One of the biggest pieces to the success of the unit so far this season, has
    been the absence of egos. Something that rarely is found in NFL meeting

    "Swallow your pride and just know what you're here for," Manningham said.
    "You're here to win. As long you're winning, you can't complain."

    For Manningham, it has been particularly gratifying to see the Giants wide
    receiving unit reach new heights this season. When the year began, many only saw
    Nicks as the team's lone threat and imagined plenty of games where quarterback
    Eli Manning would be shut down.

    Instead, Cruz emerged alongside of Nicks as the team's biggest deep threat.
    Manningham has added an extra dynamic — especially in the playoffs, where he has
    caught a big late-game touchdown in every win.

    Now, three years after the Giants parted ways with their last big-time
    receiver Plaxico Burress after his gun incident in a Manhattan nightclub, the
    team is flourishing at the position again.

    "I feel like ever since Plax left, that's how it always is," Manningham said
    when asked if people will start believing in the wide receiver position now.
    "Every year, we've found a way to show everybody how good we can be and how good
    we are."


    Excerpt: "Add three more veteran New England Patriots — running back Kevin Faulk, tackle
    Matt Light and receiver Wes Welker — to the list of those who have no interest
    in revisiting their Super Bowl XLII loss.

    Light good-naturedly dismissed questions about that game twice with a wink.

    "I don't even think I was here in 2007," Light said.

    Later: "Again, I don’t think I was there for that one."

    All three of the players were with the team in 2007, among the seven
    holdovers currently on New England's 53-man roster.

    Faulk couldn't understand why the subject of seeking revenge for that game,
    in this year's Super Bowl XLVI rematch, was even brought up.

    "Why? How?" Faulk said. "Four years ago. So we were out here for four years,
    worrying about the New York Giants? It
    doesn't make any sense."

    He added: "We could take more from the game we lost against them in the
    regular season than the Super Bowl four years ago. That has no turnover at
    all."


    "On Friday, Jason
    Pierre-Paul said last week seemed to be taking forever
    . The follow-up
    question was about what he expected the two weeks before the Super Bowl to feel

    “Yeah, we’re going to be ready for that (game, too),” the Giants’ defensive
    end said then.

    Oh, he’s ready. With 10 days left before kickoff, this time period feels like
    it’s dragging for Pierre-Paul.

    “It does. I’m ready to play,” he said today. “Just see who’s going to be
    Super Bowl champions.”

    Still, Pierre-Paul realizes the down time is valuable for some people,
    including the
    seven players who sat out practice today
    : center David Baas (abdomen/neck),
    wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (shoulder), cornerback Corey Webster (hamstring),
    linebacker Jacquian Williams (foot), linebacker Chase Blackburn (calf), running
    back Ahmad Bradshaw (foot) and cornerback/returner Will Blackmon (knee).

    “It’s kind of a time for everybody in here to get right, give everybody in
    here time to get healthy and do what they have to do to get healthy,”
    Pierre-Paul said. “We have to be ready man. Monday we get out there and then
    media day, three days, and other than that the last three days we have to
    practice hard. And it’s going to be a great Super Bowl.”

    * * * *

    TE Jake Ballard (knee) said he’s feeling much better. He’s been open and
    honest with his injury and the look he gave when he said that indicated he’s
    truly feeling much better."


    "Chase Blackburn was listed on the injury report as having a calf injury, but
    based on all the various bumps and bruises he's had, he wasn't sure which the
    Giants would mark him down with.

    Still, he's confident he'll be ready to go full speed tomorrow.

    "I was out today, for whatever reason it was just one of those days, I don't
    know what they put me on the list for, but it's just one of those days," he
    said. "I'll be back tomorrow, I'll go everything, i'll be fine tomorrow."

    Blackburn said there wasn't any ailment in particular that's bothering him
    more than the other and that there should be no lingering issues come game time.

    For C David Bass, who was out of practice with an ab contusion he suffered
    against the 49ers, he said he's also still receiving treatment for a neck issue
    that surfaced in early December, but that, like Blackburn, expects to be active
    in practice tomorrow.

    The injury report was amended to add his neck injury.

    "I got my neck issue and it should be fine," Baas said. "I mean, massage, ice
    all the normal stuff. But yeah, it'll be good, should be back out there tomorrow
    doing stuff."

    Tyler Sash, who suffered a concussion against the 49ers, said that he passed
    all the requisite tests and that he "should be fine." The injury occurred in the
    fourth quarter on Sunday.

    Mark Herzlich, who returned to practice last week from fractured ankle, but
    was inactive vs. 49ers, added this: "Feeling good. No problems with the ankle.
    It's like a numbers thing right now so we'll see kind of where the numbers out
    everyone and then if i can help, then great."


    Excerpt: "Eleven days to go and they’re already rattled in Boston.

    The fear fairly reeks from the headlines: “There’s no way Patriots lose to
    Giants again, right?” “Will the mistakes of Super Bowl XLII come back?”

    And this curious downer, which seemed less a comment on the past than a
    prediction of the future: “Patriots can’t avoid Super loss to Giants.”

    You think?

    Actually, the Boston sports writer meant to chide fans and players to
    remember their Super Bowl Alamo — a 17-14 loss to the Boys in Blue in 2008 — so
    as not to repeat the past in their Feb. 5 rematch in Super Bowl XLVI.

    But New Englanders, especially sports fans, have long memories (see “Bambino,
    Curse of, 1920-2004”). “There are a lot of people here who wanted San Francisco
    to win (in the NFC Championship),” said Boston native and Patriots fan Eileen
    Marr, “because we’re afraid of the Giants.”

    There it was. Plain and simple.

    New England blinked first.

    If you think there’s more than a little whiff of fear in the frigid New
    England air or concern about — dare we say it — the curse that haunted the Red
    Sox for 84 years after they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees, then you’d be

    And it’s not just the writers. Anxiety is already bubbling up on Patriots
    message boards. One fan wrote to the Boston Herald, “giants are scary, brady
    will be on the ground a lot, eli is much better than he was 4 yrs ago.”

    Another wrote, “giants are peaking right now, pats are not.”

    And a third added, “history will repeat itself, AGAIN! … Giants are good on
    both sides of the ball, hope we have the schemes to overcome this team, just
    being real about it.”


    Excerpt: "When the Giants lost four straight between weeks 10 and 13, Las Vegas sports
    books boosted the odds on a futures bet for a Giants Super Bowl win to 80-1. Now
    bookmakers are worried about their exposure if the Giants win
    , according to
    a New York Times article today.

    In sports betting, futures bets are bets on a sport's champion made well
    before the championships, with odds varying according to developments along the
    way. The Giants were at 30-1 just after last year's Super Bowl, according to the
    Times, but that losing streak made the odds shoot up.

    Anybody holding a betting slip at 80-1? Comment below." Read more...



    "Giants fans who are feeling nostalgic about Super Bowl XLII and have about 50
    grand burning a hole in their pocket now have an opportunity to own a piece of
    Big Blue history.

    A diamond-studded Tiffany ring presented to the Giants
    players after their upset of the previously unbeaten Patriots is up for grabs
    for the bargain-basement price of $47,995.

    "For whatever reason, back in 2008,
    we received eight players selling their rings within six months after they
    received them," Tim Robbins of said of the Super Bowl XLII
    champion Giants. "The majority of them were still playing for the team, which is
    rather unusual."

    One of Robbins' clients scooped up the ring back then,
    but last November, looking to make a few bucks and cash in on the holiday
    season, decided to sell the ring, perhaps discouraged by Big Blue's mid-season
    swoon. Now it's part of an inventory of about 1,200 championship rings that
    range from NCAA championships to the Super Bowl.

    Robbins says that rings
    awarded to team staff members -- which may not be the same as the ones players
    receive -- are easier to come across than player rings, and he was taken aback
    by the number of Giants looking to unload the white gold and diamond ring,
    manufactured by the famous silversmith that also crafts the Vince Lombardi
    trophy each year.

    "The Giants rings, being made by Tiffany, it was a
    little surprising to see that many. But there are so many die-hard New York
    Giants fans that it didn’t take that much time to sell them at all," he

    But this particular ring -- dubbed a "10-table ring" by Michael Strahan
    because he wanted people to be able to see it from ten tables away -- is one of
    the many victims of the slumping economy, Robbins points out, with no takers
    after being on the market for nearly three months. Normally, because of the
    rabid New York fan base, rings "don't have a tendency to last very long," he

    In 2008, when the ring was presented to the Giants, Tiffany &
    Co. said that it had a value of over $25,000. The face of the ring features
    three Super Bowl trophies, one for each of the team's championships. One side
    has the score of the game (Giants 17, Patriots 14) and the other says "Eleven
    Straight on the Road," a nod to the NFL record set by the Giants in 2007.
    Strahan, Eli Manning, Amani
    and Shaun O'Hara made up a
    four-player group who consulted on the design.

    Who did the ring
    originally belong to, you ask? Robbins won't disclose that sort of info
    publicly, saying only that the player was not a starter in the Super Bowl.
    "They’re all champions in my consideration," he says.

    The privacy issue
    is one his company stands by firmly, citing that players sell their rings for a
    variety of reasons, not just due to financial hardship. "You have some players
    where their religion prohibits them from wearing jewelery," Robbins said, "so
    they just don't need the ring." But because who owned the ring factors into its
    price, Robbins does provide complete information on the ring to potential buyers
    who that call his Tennessee office.

    "Championship rings are the best
    investments in sports memorabilia," said Robbins. "It’s a commodity, it’s
    symbolic, and it’s the most personal item you can have (tying you) to your team
    or (favorite) player.

    "And if you wear this out, it’s the best icebreaker
    in the world."



    "It is near 7 o’clock now, the last coaching meeting of the day over, at least
    for now, and all that really means to Tom Coughlin is that
    he is one work day closer to Indianapolis. He has done this kind of work a long
    time, and I know him a long time, but maybe only Tom Coughlin himself knows how
    much another trip to the Super Bowl means to him. Even as he really only wants
    to talk about how much it means to everybody around him.

    On the phone now I tell him about something a Giants fan I know said to me
    the other day, the fan saying his words that if Coughlin wins this Super Bowl he
    might “ride off into the sunset.”

    The answer comes at you faster than Victor Cruz.

    “I have honestly never thought about doing that,” he says. “And I’ll tell you
    why: I am having the time of my life.”

    Then he is talking about his hero, Coach John Wooden, who
    always said that if it’s your choice, nobody has to tell you when it’s time to
    walk away. That you just know.

    “I’ll say it again,” Coughlin, 65, says. “I’m having the time of my life. Our
    job here isn’t done, obviously. But as a coach, this is what you’re always
    looking for in sports, players who never stopped believing in each other, who
    stayed together through tough times, who are playing their best, for and with
    each other, when the games matter the most.”

    Coughlin laughs.

    “When I tell you how much I’m enjoying this,” he says, “that includes that
    game we played against the 49ers the other night, two teams going at each other
    that hard, two defenses going at each other the way they did. But I’m standing
    there on the sideline, knowing that the season is maybe riding on the next play,
    and all I could think was: This is where I want to be and where we want to

    He never worried about being fired. He doesn’t worry about going to the Hall
    of Fame if he wins a second Super Bowl. He just worries about the Patriots, he
    worries about going to Indianapolis. He coaches his team. He had some bad
    finishes, he has, got fired in the media because of them. And Bill Belichick won
    his first playoff game since the 2008 Super Bowl against Tim Tebow a couple of
    weeks ago.

    One thing does not change with Coughlin, even going up against Belichick: He
    does not get out-coached. And maybe, if the Giants do it to the Patriots again,
    we walk away from this season saying he did the best work of his life, whether
    he is the oldest coach in the league or not.

    I ask him this question: Did he ever think that winning the way he did
    against the Patriots four years ago was the best it would ever be for

    “No,” he says. “You always think that next season is going to be great. At
    least I do. I go into every season believing that if we stay the course and
    believe in each other, that everything will come together all over again. I

    That’s me. I’ll tell you something, I thought ’08 was gonna be our year, too.
    After the Super Bowl. I thought we were going back. What were we, 11-1, before
    (Plaxico) Burress got into trouble and threw us off?

    “I know all the other teams in the league probably think the same way. Most
    of them, anyway. But I always believe it’s gonna be our year.”

    This sounds and feels like part of one long answer now, a longer answer to a
    question I asked him in the interview room Sunday night, about how in the world
    the Giants got from 7-7 to here.

    Coughlin says, “What we got reminded of here is that these things still
    happen in sports this way. It know it sounds corny, but if you have the talent
    and you work and strive and are responsible and accountable to each other and
    get on the same page all the things you’re always taught to believe in sports
    you can still get there. Doesn’t mean you always are going to get there.
    But it can only start with the belief that you can, and a love of what you’re
    doing, and each other.”

    He pauses, says, “Yeah, players have to take pride in the work they’re doing,
    and in themselves, but they have to love each other, too. I’ve never been afraid
    to say that.”

    He has never been afraid of much, and around here, that really so often does
    start with being fired in the media. Only now he is this close to another Super
    Bowl, saying again Wednesday night how the time is already flying by. But not so
    fast that he forgets to enjoy this ride.

    “It isn’t just about the coaches and the players,” he says. “All you have to
    do is look around to see how important it is to everybody in the Giants family.
    I’m talking about the owners, about the people who work here in any capacity,
    how it brings us all closer together. I’m talking about my wife, my children. I
    see how important this is to them. Sometimes you can lose sight in sports of the
    fact that it isn’t just happening to you, that an experience like this does
    belong to your family, the Giants family, all our fans.”

    He has done this such a long time, 40 years, from the time he was a kid out
    of Syracuse. Now he does work as fine as any he has ever done. Not thinking
    about the end of the road, just the end of this amazing season. Time of his


    "Victor Cruz hadn’t
    caught a pass from a quarterback in months, when his cell phone rang one day
    during the NFL lockout. He looked down and saw it was Eli Manning.

    It was not a call he was expecting to get.

    “I looked at it and I was like, ‘Eli Manning?’ Is this working?” Cruz
    recalled. “It was cool to see his name pop up on my phone.”

    That was back when Cruz was an unknown, unsure of his spot on the Giants’
    roster, and still hoping for his first reception in the league. This phone call
    wasn’t just a thrill, though. It was one of the most important calls he ever

    A few days later, Cruz was out on the field at Hoboken High School for the
    start of a loosely organized — and much-ridiculed — passing camp organized by
    the Giants’ franchise quarterback during the NFL lockout. Only 12 different
    players showed up for the six, hour-long workouts in early May, and never more
    than a few at a time.

    Cruz made all but one of the sessions, and nobody benefitted from them

    “We got close,” Manning said. “We did a lot of slot work (with him) and
    making decisions and reads and just talking through things. And obviously he’s a
    guy who’s had a great season. I’d like to think that work paid off.”


    “I could see his speed coming out of breaks and separation and catching the
    ball with his hands, and I was like ‘This kid has got it,’ ” said veteran receiver
    Michael Clayton
    , who also attended most of the camp. “So for me it was like
    ‘For me to make this team, I’m going to have to beat out Victor Cruz.’ ”

    What happened to Cruz next stretches the imagination the way he does
    defenses. Cruz caught 82 passes for a franchise-record 1,536 yards and nine
    touchdowns, salsa-ing his way into the hearts of Giants fans along the way.

    It was an incredible transition from where he was when Camp Hoboken opened,
    as he was coming off a season spent on injured reserve, with only a big
    preseason game against the Jets during his rookie year on his resume.

    That’s why he jumped at the chance to join Manning and then-backup
    quarterback Sage Rosenfels at
    those workouts. They were joined, at different times by Clayton, Ramses Barden, Hakeem Nicks, former
    Giants tight end Kevin Boss and running
    back D.J. Ware.

    They all tried to get more players to show up, but most of the Giants stayed
    away. Meanwhile several other QBs, including the Saints’ Drew Brees, were getting
    more than half their teams to lockout workouts. Even Jets quarterback Mark
    was drawing praise for luring more than a dozen teammates to fly out
    to California for a camp he dubbed “Jets West.”

    But while some laughed at Manning playing catch in the rain with a handful of
    teammates, the QB, as he has done all season, simply took the shots and went to
    work. The workouts weren’t physically draining, but he kept his receivers
    mentally sharp.

    “It was a chance to hear the terminology again,” Cruz said. “After a while of
    not hearing the plays you kind of lose it a little bit, so it’s good to hear the
    play-calling, and knocking the dust off your legs a little bit, getting some
    route running in. So I think it was productive.”

    “You can’t simulate that unless you’re together with wide receivers and
    quarterbacks,” said Clayton, now on injured reserve with the Giants. “You have
    to be together. That has to be. And that was.”

    In his first training camp as a rookie, Cruz he was so far down the depth
    chart he didn’t get much of an opportunity to work with the franchise
    quarterback. Then, when the season began and before he got hurt, he spent most
    of his time working on the scout team.

    The chance to spend time with Manning, to “go there and run some routes with
    him and just pick his brain a little bit” was priceless – even if he didn’t have
    any idea how well it would all work out.

    “I just took advantage of it,” Cruz said. “I understood that if I go in there
    and just throw with Eli and kind of build his trust a little bit, understand the
    routes, understand where he likes to put the ball, I think I’d have a great shot
    coming in because we would’ve already built a little bit of a rapport in the
    offseason. I wasn’t really thinking too far ahead.”

    Even if he had, he never would’ve imagined he’d be catching passes from
    Manning at a practice in late January, preparing for Super Bowl XLVI. Back then,
    Cruz couldn’t even be sure Manning had his number. He said “it was huge for me
    for my confidence just to have him call my phone.”

    Now, nearly nine months after those rainy workouts in Hoboken, the
    quarterback calls Cruz’s number all the time."


    "Mathias Kiwanuka
    was forced to sit out the Giants’ previous appearance in the Super Bowl because
    of a broken leg, but missing this year’s championship game would have hit him
    even closer to home.

    The Giants will travel to Indianapolis on Monday in preparation for Super
    Bowl XLVI, bringing their starting linebacker back to his hometown with a chance
    to be on the field this time against Tom Brady and the

    “It’s awesome. This is everything that dreams are made of,” Kiwanuka said
    after practice Thursday at the Meadowlands. “This is America’s game, and it’s
    the biggest game of the year and I get to do it at home and in front of my

    Kiwanuka, who won three state championships at Cathedral High School in
    Indianapolis before starring at Boston College, clearly appreciates the
    improbable run the Giants have embarked on since they were saddled with a 7-7
    record on Dec. 18.

    The former first-round pick was the Giants’ starting strong-side linebacker
    in 2007 after spending his rookie campaign at defensive end. Kiwanuka had 4½
    sacks in 10 games that season before fracturing his left leg on Nov. 18,
    requiring surgery.

    Kiwanuka, 28, said last week he spent the NFC Championship Game that year in
    Las Vegas – instead of Green Bay – before standing on the sidelines and watching
    the Big Blue defense terrorize Brady en route to a 17-14 upset of the previously
    unbeaten Pats in Super Bowl XLII.

    Kiwanuka’s effectiveness gradually returned this season after he missed all
    but three games in 2010 with a herniated cervical disk in his neck.

    Kiwanuka’s finest game this season might have come against the Patriots on
    Nov. 6. He recorded a season-high 12 tackles (six solo) and picked off Brady for
    his lone interception of the year in the Giants’ 24-20 win in Foxborough.

    “I think we did a good job of getting pressure,” Kiwanuka said. “They rattled
    off 10 wins (in a row since the loss to the Giants) for a reason. . . . Our game
    plan always is going to be the same. If we shut down the run and get to the
    quarterback, we’ll be in a good spot.”

    And so will Kiwanuka."



    "Wanna fight?

    Osi Umenyiora didn’t exactly throw down that challenge to Patriots left
    tackle Matt Light, but the Giants pass-rushing defensive end did admit there’s
    bad blood between the two and came up with what he figured was a smart tradeoff
    for the Giants for Super Bowl XLVI.

    “I think he’s more important to his team than I am to mine right now,’’
    Umenyiora said Friday, “so if we can both fight and both get kicked out, and JPP
    (Jason Pierre-Paul) and (Justin) Tuck will have a field day. I’ll be good to go,
    I’ll be OK.’’

    Umenyiora was laughing when he said these two combatants have a history and
    it’s not amicable. Umenyiora said he fought Light on the field in the last game
    of the 2007 regular season and again in this year’s 24-20 Giants victory at
    Gillette Stadium.

    “It is what it is, man, I’ve actually fought him twice,’’ Umenyiora said.
    “Actual real fight on the football field, twice. Me and him we have history,
    we’re gonna rekindle that on Sunday.

    “He wasn’t as bad in the Super Bowl but this past game we played we fought
    again. I don’t know what it is he does but there’s something that he’s doing
    that really gets under my skin. I’m not that type of guy, he’s probably the only
    person I’ve ever fought on the football field.’’

    Umenyiora knows the key to this game from a defensive standpoint is putting
    pressure on Tom Brady. Tuck said “The way to kill a snake is to take its head
    off’’ then went on to explain that the Giants must make sure they put enough
    heat on Brady to get him out of his rhythm.

    “He’s a very good quarterback, an excellent quarterback and they do a lot of
    things to protect him, a lot of quick throws, their receivers run shorter routes
    and he gets the ball out of his hands really, really quick,’’ Umenyiora said.
    “It’s gonna be hard for us to get to him but whenever we have the opportunity,
    because there will be a time we have the opportunity, we have to take advantage
    of that.

    “Any quarterback, it doesn’t matter who he is, you put him under that much
    pressure his performance is going to be affected. He’s one of the greatest
    quarterbacks to ever play, anybody under that pressure is going to have a
    problem and if we do he’s gonna have a problem.’’



    Ahmad Bradshaw, still dealing with his continuous foot problem, said after
    Friday’s practice that he feels fine and will be ready when the Giants play the
    Patriots in the Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis next Sunday.

    “Feels great,” Bradshaw said. “No problems, no set backs and I’m ready to

    “This training staff and this team has looked out for me as much as they
    could,” the starting running back continued. “Like I said, I feel great right
    now and my injuries are no problem at all.”

    Bradshaw’s foot injury forced him to miss the first game against the Patriots
    this season, a 24-20 Giants win on Nov. 6. But his memory is long enough to
    remember being a rookie and the team’s leading rusher (45 yards) on Feb. 3,
    2008, when the Giants upset the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

    “It’s all about focus right now,” Bradshaw said. “When I was a rookie, I was
    out there just trying to use my talents. Now, I know what I can do. I feel
    comfortable right now, with the offensive confidence, all we can do is stick
    together and make plays together.”


    "Giants rookie linebacker Jacquian Williams has not practiced the past two
    days, doesn’t expect to practice Saturday, and is walking around with a large
    boot on his right foot that goes nearly all the way up to his knee.

    That doesn’t look or sound promising, and if Super Bowl XLVI was to be played
    Sunday, the Giants would list him as questionable to be able to make it.

    “Nothing serious, I’ll be ready for the game,’’ Williams said.

    Williams came out of the 20-17 overtime victory over the 49ers in the NFC
    Championship with what he felt was normal after-game soreness in his right foot.
    When the soreness lingered, he brought it to the attention of the Giants medical
    personnel and he underwent an MRI exam, which revealed there were no broken
    bones. The sprained foot was placed in the boot and there’s been no activity for
    Williams all week.

    “Something that just snuck up on me,’’ Williams said. “Just a minor

    The Giants fly to Indianapolis on Monday and their first practice in the
    Super Bowl city comes Wednesday. Williams said he is 100 percent certain he w
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2

    Thanks for all the info,Great job again RF!!


    • #3
      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

      Thanks for all the news RF.


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

        thanks Roanoke!


        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

          Thank you Sir!


          • #6
            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

            [quote user="Voldamort"]Thanks for all the info,Great job again RF!![/quote]

            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


            • #7
              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

              [quote user="nygsb42champs"]Thanks for all the news RF.[/quote]

              “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


              • #8
                Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

                [quote user="BigBlue1971"]thanks Roanoke![/quote]

                “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

                  [quote user="lttaylor56"]Thank you Sir![/quote]

                  I c ant wait for next week to get here
                  “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                  • #10
                    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

                    thanks Ro...

                    going to get some sleeping pills, put in for vacation time, and wake upon the morning of the Feb 5th. I cant take this

                    "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
                    You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch


                    • #11
                      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.



                      • #12
                        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

                        [quote user="GameTime"]

                        thanks Ro...

                        going to get some sleeping pills, put in for vacation time, and wake upon the morning of the Feb 5th. I cant take this


                        WAIT UNTIL NEXT WEEK, it just gets worse
                        “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                        • #13
                          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 10:40 A.M.

                          [quote user="ashleymarie"]Thanks.[/quote]

                          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                          • #14
                            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 3:15 P.M.

                            Thanks RF! Exciting times!


                            • #15
                              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: FRIDAY, JANUARY 27, 2012 - 3:15 P.M.

                              [quote user="NY_Eli"]Thanks RF! Exciting times![/quote]

                              WAY []
                              “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1