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    Excerpt: "While Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw
    was getting used to his new surroundings in Indianapolis, New
    England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork
    was busy singing his

    "You know what I think? Bradshaw is one of the most underrated
    running backs in the league, I really do," Wilfork said today. "I've been saying
    this for a long time. This guy, he can run the football. He's a tough, tough

    "And like I said, I put him up there with some of the best going today but
    because they have three real good runners, I think he gets overlooked

    Wilfork said he was especially concerned with the Giants'
    backfield in general and their ability to mix in personnel and change up their
    style at a moment's notice."

    "Man, the backfield that they have, they have three good running backs. They
    have power, they have speed, they have quickness, they have some catching out of
    the backfield, you name it they have it," he said. "Definitely every play, it's
    a different type of runner."


    "The New England Patriots held their first practice in Indianapolis today, and
    they suited up in full pads.

    “I felt like it would be the best way for us to prepare for the game,” coach
    Bill Belichick said at his press conference today.

    Belichick called it a “good crisp workout.” The Patriots will have a film
    session this evening following media availability. The Giants, meanwhile, arrived in Indianapolis
    today and have not practiced on-site yet.

    The Patriots’ practice site for the week is the Indianapolis Colts’ facility,
    and receiver Deion Branch admitted being on the turf of their AFC rival was
    “weird,” at least for the first day. He thanked the Colts for allowing them to
    practice there, though, before playfully ribbing the set-up.

    “I don’t know, who made the decision for us to practice there?” Branch said
    in jest. “See, that may be another thing. The league may want to make us mad or
    something, I don’t know. I would say they have a good facility, and whoever made
    that decision, we thank them and thank their coach for allowing us to use their
    building to practice in. We promise you we won’t get it dirty.”

    TE Rob Gronkowski (ankle) did not practice again today,
    Belichick said. He has not practiced since injuring the ankle in the AFC
    Championship Game."



    "There’s one criterion Dan DePalma uses to confirm he’s done a good job of
    covering Victor Cruz in practice.

    “He hasn’t gotten me to fall yet, so I’m very proud of that,” the Verona
    native and member of the Giants’ practice squad said the other day after a
    practice in preparation for Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots. “I’ve seen him
    shake a lot of good DBs and make them fall down.”

    Fellow rookie tackle James Brewer, dressing in the next stall, overheard the

    “He didn’t make me fall either. ‘Show’ team in walk-through,” said Brewer,
    the 6-6, 330-pound tackle. “Write that down: ‘James Brewer did not get broke off
    by Victor Cruz.’?”

    Light-hearted humor? Of course.

    But based on a well-founded concern likely keeping defensive coordinators up
    at night? Absolutely.

    In the past few months, Cruz has proved his early success wasn’t a fluke and
    that even double teams and bracket coverage can’t stop him completely. Teams
    have tried everything from “inside-outside” coverage to putting two defenders
    over him at the line of scrimmage, both strategies employed to limit his lateral

    Which is why it’s somewhat difficult to believe what the Giants believe — that a wide receiver
    will cover him in the Super Bowl.

    The Patriots and Bill Belichick, long known to experiment with receivers in
    the secondary, have used Julian Edelman as a nickel cornerback in obvious
    passing situations this season. Heading into the Super Bowl, the Giants think
    that strategy will remain in place, even against their new single-season
    franchise receiving leader.

    “If he’s on defense, I’ll see him as a defender,” Cruz said. “I see him as
    having to cover me, so I’ll just treat him like a defense and execute my route
    and win — like I usually do.”

    In other words, the Giants will most definitely not be the ones shying away
    from such a matchup of Cruz against a college quarterback who, until this
    season, hadn’t played defensive back since high school.

    “I hope he’s out there when we play them,” wide receiver Mario Manningham
    told the Boston Herald last week. “I don’t want to sound like, you know what I
    mean. To our advantage, I hope he’s out there.”

    They believe he will be.

    “They had Edelman playing (the Ravens’ Anquan) Boldin last week, so we’re
    preparing for it,” DePalma said. “They’ve been doing it all year. So we might as
    well prepare for what they’ve been showing. And if they don’t do it, it’s no
    surprise to us. But we might as well be ready for it.”

    DePalma, a 5-11, 200-pound undrafted free agent from West Chester (Pa.),
    played the role of Edelman in practice last week. When the Giants resume
    practice Wednesday, he’ll do the same. After all, he’s a wide receiver
    masquerading as a defensive back, so he should provide an authentic look for

    Plus, he actually played some corner in college, so he’s been able to scout
    Edelman a bit. What he sees is the Pats’ simplifying things a bit for him.

    “It’s more of a man technique. Even when they’re playing zone they try to
    keep him on somebody, man-press, hands-on type of deal,” DePalma said. “It’s
    really hard to read a receiver, especially when you haven’t done it in a while,
    so they try to keep him on somebody, play on the hip, I guess you could

    The Ravens didn’t try to take advantage of Edelman until the final minutes when
    Joe Flacco hit Boldin twice for a total of 38 yards. On the second of those
    completions — a 29-yarder — it appeared Edelman botched a coverage at the line
    by taking the wrong receiver out of a “bunch” formation (one receiver at the
    line with two stacked behind him) after the Ravens motioned into that look.

    Perhaps the Giants will run a similar formation, which is a standard part of
    their offense. They’ll also likely see if Edelman can stick with Cruz on a
    “switch” route off the line, during which he crosses with another receiver at
    the line.

    Those are just a few ways of taking advantage of Edelman’s locking onto a
    player — if, of course, that remains the plan for New England.

    “It’s not completely man (coverage), but they try to keep him on somebody,”
    said DePalma, who is also playing the role of wide receiver Wes Welker to
    benefit the starting defense. “That’s why they think he’ll be on Victor, even
    when they’re in zone, just to kind of have him on somebody.”

    Sounds like the Giants want him on anybody.

    “It’s a different stage,” Manningham told the Herald. “This ain’t regular
    season. That ain’t your real position, so we’re going to try to expose you. It’s
    all or nothing now. That ain’t your position, this is the Super Bowl and we want
    you to play that position.”


    "Four years ago, the Giants advanced to their first Super Bowl without longtime
    owner Wellington Mara, who had died of lymphoma just over two years before at
    the age of 89. It was difficult for the team to not notice his absence as his
    son John was the first to hoist the Lombardi Trophy after the Giants defeated
    the Patriots.

    As the two squads prepare for a Super Bowl rematch next Sunday, it's the
    Patriots side that will sense a void in the owner's box. Robert Kraft's wife,
    Myra -- a constant presence during the Krafts' ownership dating back to 1985 --
    died last July of cancer at the age of 68.

    The Patriots have played with an "MHK" patch above their hearts in honor of
    Myra and the team has rallied around Kraft, who has endured an emotional season
    without his wife and still refers to Myra as his sweetheart.

    Emotions were high again today when the Patriots were sent off with a pep
    rally at Gillette Stadium before they went on to catch a flight to

    "At the stadium today, it was so special because the times we’re in now, to
    have 25,000 of our fans come to the stadium and cheer our team off and they were
    chanting my sweetheart’s initials as well," Kraft said. "It was a very emotional
    experience and very special."

    Both Kraft and the Maras have dealt with emotion in Super Bowls and are
    familiar with each other, having been instrumental in negotiations with the
    players' union during the lockout.

    "I’m very fond of the ownership on the other side," Kraft said. "The Mara
    family has done so much for the league over the last 90 years and put the league

    "And the Tisches are a great family and they have a great team. And Coach
    [Tom] Coughlin – Tom and Bill [Belichick] they worked together so I think the
    fans of the NFL are going to have a great football game."


    "This morning at Gillette Stadium, 25,000 fans filled the lower bowl of the
    structure to send off the Patriots to Super Bowl XLVI. When it was quarterback
    Tom Brady's turn to address the crowd, he did so with confidence.

    "We're going down there, and we're going down there for one reason," Brady
    said. "We're going to give it our best and hopefully we have a lot more people
    at our party next weekend."

    The Patriots would only have a party, of course, if they defeat the Giants on
    Sunday. Brady's take on his confident words?

    "It was a pep rally," he said, as the team arrived at its hotel in
    Indianapolis tonight. "People were pretty excited."

    His fellow teammates appreciated his message.

    "You'd have to ask Tom about that statement, but I think we’re a confident
    football team," guard Brian Waters said. "I think we have every reason to be. I
    think both teams have every reason to be. But I'm confident in my teammates, and
    as the week as goes on, I've said -- the way we prepare, if we prepare like we
    prepared the other 17 or 18 weeks in this season, I think the confidence level
    will be at an all-time high."

    The Patriots arrived in Indianapolis a day ahead of the Giants. They will
    practice tomorrow and Tuesday will be their off day, mimicking a regular


    "Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said that tight end Rob Gronkowski will be
    "day to day" this week after sustaining an ankle injury last Sunday against

    Gronkowski was seen wearing a black walking boot when coming off the team bus

    Gronkowski injured his ankle in the third quarter on a Bernard Pollard
    tackle. Earlier in the week, Gronkowski's father, Gordy, told a Buffalo radio
    station earlier this week that it was indeed a high ankle sprain.

    This season, he hauled in a league-leading 17 touchdown receptions and
    finished sixth in the league with 1,327 receiving yards.

    "I know that I need to make some plays with (either of the tight ends out of)
    the game," Welker said. "They're definitely a big integral part of our offense
    in everything they do, and if one's not in the other guy has to step up and do
    some things out there."

    Perhaps in a vote of confidence for Gronkowski, Welker added: "We're going to
    continue to lean on (Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) through this game."

    Of the week in general, Belichick said that the team is looking to keep their
    schedule as normal as possible in order to combat all the possible distractions.
    They will practice tomorrow and take Tuesday off, resuming a regular practice
    schedule on Wednesday.

    "We'll try to approach it in as much a routine as we can," he said. "The team
    has been great all year in terms of their focus and preparation, so hopefully
    that will serve us well this week."



    "There's no turning back now. The Giants have arrived at Super Bowl XLVI.

    Their United charter flight touched down at Indianapolis International
    Airport around 2:50 p.m. ET, and rolled to a stop next to a small army of
    photographers and TV cameras. Then, following Super Bowl tradition, the pilot
    popped open the window and someone unfurled a big Giants flag.

    Fans give Big Blue a sendoff before leaving for Indy

    The Giants were not dressed in all black, as they were four years ago when
    they arrived in Phoenix for Super Bowl XLII. This time they were all in a
    variety of colored suits as they descended down the stairs onto the tarmac,
    where a red carpet awaited. From there, they hopped their team buses, headed
    towards the downtown Marriott, their team hotel for the next week.

    Next up, their first press conferences, beginning around 4:30 p.m. Make sure
    you're following @TheBlueScreen
    on Twitter
    for all the instant updates from there."



    "He is the big Giant who almost didn’t make it back to a game like this
    against the Patriots. His season ends in Indianapolis, all right. But it started
    for Osi Umenyiora with a
    nasty contract beef that reached the point where the Giants gave Umenyiora’s
    agent permission to shop his man around the league.

    “You never know how things will work out in life,” Osi said on Saturday. “The
    season started one way for me, with all that trash-talking. Now it ends with
    .?.?. this.”

    This. Indy. Super Bowl 46. Giants and Patriots. Again. Osi
    getting after Tom Brady. Again. A big
    Giant, the one who almost missed it all, gets another shot like this at the big

    “There were times when I thought I might get traded,” he said, “and
    times when I thought they’d keep me around.”

    Osi laughed now and said,
    “I’m glad they decided to keep me around.”

    It was Umenyiora who put the
    first big hit on Brady in the Super Bowl four years ago, came with Barry Cofield the
    first time Brady had the ball and put him on the ground. That was February of
    ’08. But Giants fans know that by the lockout summer of 2011, he wasn’t happy
    with his contract, or general manager Jerry Reese, he had a
    case of hurt feelings and a sore knee that would eventually require arthroscopic

    We feel like the Giants came from nowhere to this game, to Super
    Bowl 46, because they were 7-7. But Osi Umenyiora came from bad feelings and a
    bad place, nearly missed a run like this because he was almost on his way out of

    “But it never reached the point of no return,” he was saying on
    Saturday afternoon. “It was business with me and business with them. But I never
    felt it was personal and I never felt they did, either. I always felt that the
    people in charge had genuine affection for me.”

    He said, “And no matter
    what was happening, first with the contract and then with the injuries, I never
    lost confidence in myself. The whole time, I had confidence that once I got
    healthy I could be the same player I always was.”

    When I asked him what
    might happen when this season is over, win or lose on Sunday night, trade rumors
    about him already being passed around like flyers on the street, Umenyiora said,
    “I’m a Giant until somebody tells me I’m not.”

    He wanted a new contract,
    said he was promised a new contract, that was the start of the war of words,
    some of the words in a filed affidavit that stated the Giants had promised him a
    new contract. The Giants? They said that nobody forced him to sign his $41
    million contract extension, in case he had forgotten.

    It was like that,
    no pretense or holding back, all about money, Osi deciding that he was being
    underpaid compared to what other players, lesser players, were getting to rush
    the quarterback and put him down.

    That is where we were in the summer,
    when nobody in town except maybe the people running the Giants and playing for
    them thought they were going to contend for anything this season. Osi Umenyiora
    had contract trouble and knee trouble and the season started without him. Later
    he sprained an ankle. Hurt again. He was asked on Saturday when he really felt
    healthy this season and he said, “The Dallas game.”

    He means the Dallas
    game played on the last Sunday night of the regular season, the Giants at 8-7,
    needing to beat the Cowboys to win the NFC East and make the playoffs. Jason Pierre-Paul
    had long since become the star of the defense, one of the ascendant defensive
    stars of the whole league. No trash-talking from Umenyiora about that. He went
    back to doing what he has always done at his best, when Michael Strahan was
    the star of the defensive front the way Pierre-Paul is now:

    Went back
    into the other team’s backfield. Tried to put the other quarterback on his back,
    same as he did the last time it was the Giants and Patriots in a Super Bowl.
    Still ended up with 12½ sacks this season, in 12 games, including the

    Ernie Accorsi, the
    old Giants general manager, said that when Osi hit Brady early in Super Bowl 42,
    he thought Brady was looking around after that. Now Osi and Pierre-Paul, Justin
    and Chris Canty, Linval Joseph and Mathias Kiwanuka
    and Dave Tollefson — all
    of them — try to do the same to Brady in Indy.

    Umenyiora said that even
    when the season went sideways on the Giants, even when they were losing five of
    six games in the second half of the season — has anybody ever done that and made
    a Super Bowl? — that the Giants stayed together. The coach said that last week
    and No. 72 was saying it now.

    “So many of the games we lost, I thought it
    was big plays,” he said. “I just kept thinking if we could get the defense
    healthy and eliminate the big plays, we could play the way we’re playing now.
    Make the other team drive the length of the field if they wanted to beat us, get
    the ball to Eli, let him and our playmakers make plays. Because I didn’t care
    who we were playing, I thought we had more playmakers than anybody.”

    said, “Things just came together in that Jets game. Defense rose up. Our
    playmakers made plays. And we’ve been rolling ever since.”

    He almost didn’t make this season. May not make it to next season as a Giant,
    who knows? But he will be one in Indianapolis next Sunday night. He is back in
    the big game. Giants fans know. Wouldn’t be the same without


    "The theme of the last two weeks of the playoffs for the Giants was “revenge,”
    but that’s not what they’re seeking this time. They’ll arrive in this Super Bowl
    city on Monday afternoon having already proven they’re good enough to beat the

    The trick now is to do it again.

    As the Packers and 49ers found out
    the last two weeks, beating the same team twice in a season isn’t easy. Against
    a Hall of Fame-bound coach like Bill Belichick, it
    can be especially hard.

    “Knowing Coach Belichick and their staff they’ll
    have a new game plan, they’ll have some new wrinkles in there,” said Eli
    . “They’re a great staff and great coaches. They’ll be well prepared.
    Just from watching one of their games it seems like they’ve already changed up a
    little bit.”

    “Bill is an outstanding football coach who has his finger on
    everything that goes on there and does an exceptional job of planning,” Tom
    added. “Therefore, it presents outstanding problems. And just as
    important is that they are a very, very good team.”

    In fact, the Patriots
    team that touched down in Indianapolis on Sunday evening is riding a 10-game
    winning streak that dates back to their last loss on Nov. 6 24-20 to the Giants
    in Foxborough. When the Giants beat them, the Patriots were scuttling along at
    5-3, looking like a fading dynasty.

    Since then they’ve won their 10
    straight games by an average score of 36-19.

    Maybe most importantly, the
    Giants had no choice but to show their full hand in that regular-season meeting.
    It was a big game they needed to win to keep their momentum rolling as they
    began a difficult stretch of their schedule. They couldn’t hold anything

    That makes this different than it was in 2007, when the Giants
    narrowly lost to the Patriots in the regular-season finale, only to beat them
    five weeks later in Super Bowl XLII. Years later, former Giants defensive
    coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
    admitted “there was a little bit of a pullback there” in that game because they
    didn’t want to show their entire game plan, in case they met again.

    time they are much more exposed.

    “I think any time you play the Patriots
    they're always going to have something new for you,” Manning said. “The last
    time we played them they showed a lot of different looks, some different schemes
    on defense things that they have not shown before. When we played them in the
    Super Bowl four years ago they had some new things for that game. They tend to
    have a theme of the game and it changes from week to week.

    “So you have
    to be prepared for a lot of different things. They do a great job of disguising
    things and showing different looks. We have to be prepared for it

    Of course, the same is true for the Patriots. They know the Giants
    got a good look at what they like to do with receiver Wes Welker (nine
    catches, 136 yards in that game) and their dangerous tight end duo of Rob Gronkowski and
    Aaron Hernandez (12
    catches for 136 yards and two touchdowns combined). They saw how to attack the
    NFL’s second-worst defense, which they beat for 361 yards, even without receiver
    Hakeem Nicks and
    running back Ahmad

    That familiarity makes this game an intriguing chess match
    between Belichick and Coughlin and their staffs. The Giants know how to beat
    them. The Patriots have two weeks to study that film to figure out how to stop
    It’s why, after all the studying and scheming, some players are
    convinced that what happened in the first game won’t really matter at

    “Those games mean nothing,” said linebacker Michael
    . “That game was so long ago. A lot has changed not only with their
    team but with ours.”

    “Means absolutely nothing,” added safety Antrel Rolle. “It’s a
    totally different team, totally different mindset, two teams going head to head.
    Whatever it takes.”


    already expected to be “terrorized” by the Giants’ pass rush in the
    Super Bowl. Now he’s provided the first bit of bulletin board material, which is
    not necessarily a great idea.

    It may seem pretty routine, but Brady was
    talking to Patriots fans Sunday about a Super Bowl party next weekend when he
    addressed them at a huge sendoff at Gillette Stadium before the team left for
    its charter flight to Indy. Super Bowl parties are just for Super Bowl winners,
    so the Giants, who love to feel disrespected, could take this one and run with

    “Well, it was a pep rally,” Brady said at the team hotel in Indy
    Sunday night.

    Well, tell that to the Giants. Tom Coughlin has
    already proven he is not above using perceived slights to fire up his

    Football is such an emotional game that the silliest thing can get
    a team crazed. Even when no further motivation is needed in the playoffs or the
    Super Bowl.

    Before the Giants played the Cowboys in the divisional round
    of the playoffs four years ago, word got out the morning of the game that Jerry
    had already given the Cowboys players two tickets to the NFC
    Championship Game at Texas Stadium two days before they even played the

    Then the Giants beat the Cowboys, 21-17, and those tickets were
    no longer redeemable at Texas Stadium. The game was in Green Bay.

    don’t want anybody talking about this in the media,” Coughlin said in a real
    serious tone after the game, then, with his right arm extended like he was
    holding something in his hand, he told them, “Jerry just sent the tickets over.
    So, we’re all set.”

    Who knew Coughlin was David

    Fast-forward to Sunday afternoon in Foxbrough. About
    25,000 fans showed up at Gillette, filling the lower level of the stadium to
    send their beloved Pats off to Indy to face the big, bad Giants.

    who is quite capable of flinging some zingers every now and then, may have
    provided the Giants with some motivational material before they even get on
    their flight Monday to join the Patriots in downtown Indy.

    Brady had the
    floor with all those fans hanging on his every word. Here’s what we learned:
    When he’s not busy trying to win his fourth Super Bowl, and his first in seven
    years, he’s had time to become a party planner.

    “We have the greatest
    fans in America. You guys have proved that year in and year out with your
    support,” Brady said. “I wish I could take all you guys to Indy with us. We’re
    going down there, and we’re going down there for one reason. We’re going to give
    it our best and hopefully we have a lot more people at our party next

    He didn’t say he was hopeful of having a party. He said he was
    hopeful of having a lot more people at the party.

    Is Brady already making
    plans for a big get together by Faneuil Hall with the Vince Lombardi Trophy by
    his side? Or maybe a little something by the Charles River? A parade down
    Commonweath Ave?

    “People were pretty excited,” Brady said. “Certainly,
    the players were excited. I know the 25,000 fans who were there were excited as
    well. It was great to see the support. We get great support home and away.
    Hopefully, we have some Patriots jerseys in the stands Sunday night.”

    Brady is already thinking about a Super Bowl party, then the Giants can tack
    that right on their bulletin board. “I don’t think that it will be blown out of
    proportion,” New England guard Logan Mankins

    He should know better. This isn’t his first Super Bowl.

    prior to leaving for Arizona four years ago, Plaxico Burress
    predicted the Giants would beat the Patriots, 23-17. The Patriots had not been
    held under 20 all season.

    “We’re only going to score 17 points? Ha. Ha.
    Ha,” Brady said then. “OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and
    gave us a little credit for scoring more points.”

    Brady’s reaction ticked
    off the Giants. The Patriots scored just 14 points in the Super Bowl loss. Of
    course, Burress insulted the Patriots first.

    When Brady was talking
    Sunday about the relief of coming to Indianapolis and not having to face Colts
    defensive end Dwight
    , he said, “He’s terrorized me for a long time. I’ll be terrorized by
    other players in some other uniforms this week.”

    Tuck, Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan
    terrorized Brady in Super Bowl XLII. Now Tuck, Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul
    will try to do it in Super Bowl XLVI.

    “As a quarterback, you understand you can’t sit there and hold the ball all
    day,” Brady said. “You better find someone and get rid of it because they are
    coming. Certainly, I am not going to be able to run away from them.”

    If the Giants do terrorize Brady like they did four years ago, he will have
    to cancel the party. Just like Jones had to rip up the tickets.

    ‘We’re going to give it our best and hopefully we have a lot more people at
    our party next weekend."


    "His Giants won the battle. But all Ahmad Bradshaw
    remembers is that he wasn’t there.

    The Giants were playing the Patriots in Gillette Stadium on Nov. 6. Bradshaw
    was watching the game on TV, doing his best to rehab his broken left foot.

    “I know I hated not being there,” Bradshaw said. “It was devastating to me,
    because I wanted to be out there. It was hard to sit there and watch. You see
    things you could have done out there.”

    That’s something Bradshaw will keep in mind when the Giants face the Patriots
    again in the Super Bowl. This time, he says, he will definitely be out there.
    And so will Hakeem Nicks, the
    other Giant who missed the rousing 24-20 come-from-behind win in New

    “I watched that game at home on my couch,” Nicks recalls. “I watched it by
    myself, at home. That was an exciting game. It was a rematch of the Super

    “I definitely wanted to be a part of it,” he adds. “It was tough, but I see
    what it was for now.”

    That’s because Nicks sees the confidence and swagger that his teammates are
    carrying to Indianapolis, something that his presence has helped fuel.

    The Giants remain underdogs in Vegas, but to most in the locker room, they
    expect to win. After all, in November, they walked onto the Pats’ home field and
    left with a win – after leaving two of their most dangerous weapons in New

    “We were missing two talented guys who were big parts of our offense,” said
    tailback Brandon Jacobs, who
    filled in for Bradshaw and rushed for 72 yards in November’s win. “It definitely
    gives myself and our football team more confidence going into this one.”

    It also means the Giants will face the Pats with a far more dangerous offense
    this time around. Eli Manning piloted a
    unit that averaged 385.1 yards per game during the regular season, but once
    Bradshaw and Nicks both got healthy, the attack got even better. The Giants have
    played the last eight games with both Bradshaw and Nicks healthy, averaging
    394.3 yards per game.

    They’ve been even better in the playoffs, grinding out 404.7 yards per game.
    And the once pass-happy Giants have rediscovered their balance; Big Blue is
    averaging 117.3 rushing yards in the playoffs.

    Suddenly, the Giants have a juggernaut offense, and to wideout Victor
    , that will make a “big” difference next weekend.

    “We’ll see how they play us,” says Cruz."


    "Lawrence Tynes is
    the only kicker in NFL history to convert two field goals in overtime of playoff
    games, with the second coming barely one week ago in the NFC Championship Game
    in soggy San Francisco.

    The charmed Giants kicker thinks “it would be pretty selfish” to ponder doing
    the same next Sunday against the Patriots, but that doesn’t mean the thought
    hasn’t crossed Tynes’ mind in the first week of buildup to Super Bowl XLVI.

    “It’s something you think more about as the game gets closer,” Tynes said
    Sunday at an autograph signing with punter Steve Weatherford
    in Midland Park, N.J. “I’d imagine it would be pretty cool. Adam Vinatieri’s
    gotten to experience that twice. I think it’s about anything you can do to help
    the team win at this point . . . but to have a walk-off, that would be

    Vinatieri was the first kicker in NFL history to win four championship rings,
    including last-second field goals to lift the Patriots to wins over St. Louis in
    Super Bowl XXXVI and over Carolina two years later.

    But Tynes is fully aware that he easily could have landed on the other side
    of the placekicking equation.

    Buffalo’s Scott Norwood is
    remembered for his last-second miss against the Giants in Super Bowl XXV. A few
    hours before Tynes’ latest game-winning heroics, Baltimore’s Billy Cundiff pulled
    a game-tying field goal wide left at the end of the Ravens’ loss to the Patriots
    in the AFC title game.

    “Good things happen, bad things happen. You have to be able to handle it
    either way,” Tynes said. “It’s black and white, it’s in or out. You didn’t
    almost make it or almost miss it, you make it or you miss it. That’s it.”

    As the holder, Weatherford handled a bounced snap by Zak DeOssie on the
    game-winning kick against the Niners. He joked Sunday that he was asked to sign
    “quite a few” items with his new profanity-based catch phrase — caught by Fox
    cameras in the immediate aftermath of the San Francisco win — “We’re going to
    the f-----’ Super Bowl.”

    “It’s fun to be remembered for something, but I want to be remembered for
    winning,” Weatherford said. “Lawrence is such a sensational kicker that I knew
    if I got the ball down, he was going to make it. It was just special to be a
    part of it.”


    "He thought his big brother would “go crazy.” But Eli Manning has been
    pleasantly surprised by Peyton’s composure.

    That was just one of the
    things the Giants’ quarterback said on ESPN during “SportsCenter’s” weekly
    “Sunday Conversation” interview. Manning will lead the Giants against the
    Patriots in the Super Bowl in Indianapolis next Sunday, and he said Peyton was
    “rooting for the Giants hard.”

    But the quarterback also understands his
    brother is dealing with plenty of frustration after sitting out all of 2011
    following offseason neck surgery.

    “It’s different for him this year,” the
    younger Manning said. “And obviously not being in that locker room, not
    competing every day at practice or preparing for a game, and also seeing your
    coaches get fired that you’ve been with, some of the coaches he’s been with for
    14 years. I thought he’s handled it better than I thought he would. I thought
    without football that he would just go crazy, but he’s handled it well, he’s
    kept his good spirits, he's stayed strong.”

    Manning added that his older
    brother has been “a great support.”

    “He’s proud of me,” Manning said.
    “And he is rooting for the Giants hard.”

    Eli Manning is also proud of
    what he’s accomplished this season, throwing for a team-record 4,933 yards and
    carrying the Giants into Super Bowl XLVI. When asked whether he ever
    second-guessed his preseason comments that he was elite, he said: “I thought I
    gave a fair, honest answer.”

    “The way they interpreted it, or spun it
    around, I can’t control those things,” he added.

    What he has controlled
    this season are his emotions and his Giants. When the team was 7-7, he said, he
    never had a doubt that they could make it this far. Even then, in mid-December,
    he saw the makings of a contender.

    “You have a defense that gets
    turnovers, gets sacks,” he said. “You can run. You can throw the ball on offense
    . . . When you see the players and kind of everything being the possibility of
    making a run, you don’t want to waste those things.

    “So you stay
    confident, and you just knew that hopefully when we get into crunch time . . .
    that we were going to have that same attitude. And that's exactly what we've

    But Manning quickly added that “the job’s not done yet.

    New York, they like winners,” he said. “They don't like second place. They want
    a championship, and so that's our goal.”




    "New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski did not practice Monday because
    of his high left ankle sprain.

    Gronkowski suffered the sprain during the third quarter of the Patriots’
    23-20 victory over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship in Foxborough,

    Gronkowski, who has not practiced since the injury, has 15 catches for 232
    yards and three touchdowns this postseason. Coach Bill Belichick said on Sunday
    that Gronkowski would be day to day.

    Monday’s practice was New England’s first in Indianapolis, as the Patriots
    prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl against the Giants.


    "The Giants arrived in Indianapolis a little after 2:45 p.m., ready to begin
    on-site preparations for their Super Bowl XLVI matchup against the Patriots.

    The last of four Giants buses rolled out of the Timex Performance Center in
    East Rutherford at 12:16 this afternoon, escorted by two New Jersey State
    trooper sedans.

    On the final of four buses were Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, like all the
    Giants, dressed for Super Bowl success in suits and ties. The team flight was
    due to land in Indianapolis later this afternoon as the Giants begin the final
    six days of preparation for Super Bowl XLVI.

    Unlike the Patriots raucous pep rally sendoff on Sunday, this was a much more
    subdued show. At the Gillette Stadium departure for the Patriots, Tom Brady told
    25,000 fans at to join him for a Super Bowl after-party saying, “Hopefully we’ll
    have a lot more people at our party next week.’’

    In contrast, there were about 25 diehard Giants fans on the other side of the
    locked fence about 40 yards away from the team buses. Manning waved to the fans
    as he got on the bus like most Giants.

    There were no comments from the players.

    There was a special group of selected guests of the Giants, about 100 people,
    on the inside of the fence in a grassy area roped off near the buses. Reporters
    and photographers were not allowed inside the gates.

    The biggest cheer of the day was for Victor Cruz as he boarded the first of
    three team buses that left at 11:42 a.m. The first bus of the day, filled with
    support staff, left at 11:30 a.m.

    As the final team bus rolled out of the parking lot, Giants fan Ariel
    Mercado, 26, from Cruz’s hometown of Paterson, spoke for all Big Blue fans as he
    yelled, “Bring it home!’’



    "Eli Manning and the Giants board their United charter today from Newark
    Airport for their Super Rematch with Tom Brady and the Patriots, fly across Big
    Blue heaven and touch down this afternoon in Peyton’s Place.

    They have seen and heard and felt how badly and how madly New York burns for
    another world champion, how fervently they have been embraced by the city that
    never sleeps and absolutely cannot now in the days leading up to Super Bowl

    And the word today from the Giants, their dreams packed inside their
    suitcases and in their imaginations, is keep rooting, keep cheering, we are here
    to make you proud.




    Eli Manning, seated at his locker the other day, was asked what his message
    would be to Giants fans.

    “Thank you for the support you’ve given us so far,” he began, “and hopefully
    we have a big crowd in Indianapolis supporting us, but the ones that can’t make
    it there, we’re going to try to do our best and make you proud.”

    Tom Coughlin lost his starting middle linebacker (Jonathan Goff) and his best
    cornerback (Terrell Thomas). He lost Steve Smith to the Eagles, and tight end
    Kevin Boss to the Raiders. He lost left tackle Will Beatty. Next Man Up. And
    now, when we least expected it, it is Next Team Up. Next Champion Up.

    Tight end Jake Ballard, a significant Next Man Up, was asked what his message
    would be today to Giants fans.

    “Tune in on Sunday, and we’ll bring it home for you,” Ballard

    Giants fans are afraid to pinch themselves. The Giants had been out of the
    playoffs two years in a row, were 7-7 and looking three years in a row straight
    in the eye. They rose up. They believed.

    Dave Tollefson was asked what his message would be to Giants fans.

    “Stick with us man, it’s been a wild ride, and we’re going to try to finish
    it the right way,” Tollefson said. No Toughness, No Championship! ALL IN.
    Against all odds.

    Victor Cruz, nearly cut in the summer, dancing his way to stardom. Jason
    Pierre-Paul making Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese do backflips over his ascension
    to stardom. Chase Blackburn signed off the street to play middle linebacker.
    Antrel Rolle emerging as a defiant leader. Most of all, Manning walking the talk
    of the elite quarterback.

    Osi Umenyiora was asked if he had a message for Giants fans.

    “We’re going to fight,” Umenyiora said.

    In the euphoric aftermath of Super Bowl XLII, Peyton Manning predicted his
    little brother would win multiple Super Bowls.

    “It’s not all about the ring, it’s about all the hard work, everything we’ve
    done to get to this point,” Eli said. “It’s about finishing the job that we
    started. We’ve worked hard, we’ve gone through a lot, we stuck together, and
    we’ve gotten this far. Now it’s a matter of continue this ride and go out and
    end the season playing our best football with a win.”

    A win that would make history.

    A win that would make New York proud.


    Excerpt "Five former Giants champions — Harry Carson and George Martin (Super Bowl
    XXI), Sean Landeta and Leonard Marshall (XXI and XXV), and Justin Tuck (XLII) —
    sat down with Post columnist Steve Serby last week for an exclusive Super Bowl
    Giants Round Table Q&A at the Timex Performance Center.

    Over the course of 90 minutes, they revealed their memories about former
    teammates and special Super Bowl moments and talked about what it means to be a
    New York Giant.


    Q: What was it like the first time you saw Lawrence Taylor on the
    practice field?

    Martin: Impact player.

    Carson: When he first stepped off the bus, first practice, he was third team,
    OK? And by the end of practice, he was second team, maybe competing for the
    starting job (chuckle).

    Martin: Superman in a Giants uniform.

    Carson: It didn’t take long for us to see the unique talent that he brought
    to the table. ... We grew to understand that he had this ability to just
    improvise and create moves that, you’re going, ‘Wow!’ Like a Michael Jordan
    dunk, you know? He could improvise and find ways to beat a tackle or a running
    back try to block him ...

    Martin: Effortless.

    Carson: And it just made the player look sick. He was just deadly in
    practice, and then he took that into the game.

    Tuck: I did a celebrity golf event, and [Eric] Dickerson was there. He tells
    me a story about, they call this play, it calls for him to go cut the outside
    edge. He goes and he cuts this outside linebacker, and made a great cut, chopped
    him down, he hit the guy and his head hit the ground first. And he’s a rookie.
    So he comes back to the huddle and all of a sudden he hears this noise from
    behind: “Hey. Hey. Hey you.” I can’t say exactly what he said that Lawrence
    said, but needless to say, after that little interaction, they called that same
    play about the third quarter. Eric Dickerson said, “I’m not going back over
    there.” He said he did not run the play ’cause he was definitely afraid of
    Lawrence Taylor.

    Carson: I have a good idea of what he said. He said, “Hey No. 29, I’m gonna
    kick your [butt]. The next time you pull a deal like that, I’m gonna kick your

    Q: Sean, what happened on your whiff in the playoffs against the ’85

    Landeta: Just an ill-timed gust of wind, moved the ball away. As I went to
    kick it, it wasn’t here, it was over here. Almost didn’t swing, figured let me
    chase it. And actually grazed the side of it, so ... I didn’t miss it, I grazed
    it and I got credit for minus-six yards on that.

    Q: Didn’t you guys make a pact after that loss?

    Carson: Parcells said, “You older guys, this might not ever happen to you
    again, your time is running out.” And, we were in that locker room, we wanted to
    go back out and play at that time. And we had to wait for a whole another season
    to roll around.

    Martin: But in point of fact, this is what true leadership and a captain is
    really all about. [Carson] kicked the coaches out of the locker room, and it was
    just players. And he demanded, at that point in time, a commitment, every player
    in that room. That we would dedicate ourselves from that moment on — including
    the offseason — and he’s the one that actually turned that whole season around
    in 1986.

    Q: What was the on-field personality of that

    Carson: It was the best team that I’ve ever been a part of. It was a team
    that checked its ego at the door.

    Marshall: We play the Redskins in their place, OK? And it’s December. We know
    that we’re gonna see that team again, probably for the NFC Championship. If we
    had to play Vince Lombardi and the damn Packers, we would have whipped their
    [butt] that game.

    Carson: There were times when I wanted to lose the coin toss, and I wanted to
    kick off.

    Marshall: Just play defense.

    Carson: Because we wanted to set the tempo. And I will tell you the God’s
    honest truth— and people don’t believe this — I felt badly for some of the teams
    that we played because we ... kicked... their rear ends. And there were guys who
    would say, “Hold him up, hold him up...”

    Marshall: “Hold him up, we want to stroke him.”

    Carson: We were so physical, that we just beat people into submission.

    Q: Describe the 1986 NFC Championship game at Giants Stadium against
    the Redskins.

    Martin: To me that was the coronation. ... The thing that you also like about
    that season, when we broke the huddle, and we established the line of scrimmage,
    you could see when the offense broke the huddle and came toward us, they were
    like ...

    Marshall: What did we just get into?


    Q: The cold in the ’86 NFC Championship game didn’t bother Harry, did

    Martin: Before the game, we were in the locker room, and all of us are
    talking about what cold-weather gear we’re gonna wear. ... [Harry] walks in with
    a cutoff jersey, abdomens exposed, and he’s all lubed up— arms, everything. All
    of us at that moment said, “You know what? There’s our leader. He’s going out
    there with just his jersey on, his combat gear.” ... Decision was over. That was
    it."


    "Jake Ballard is nearing the end of his first full season in the NFL and he
    gets to go out with a bang, spending six nights at party central, otherwise
    known as the site of Super Bowl XLVI. There’s a whole lot of action this week
    awaiting the tight end — and all of the other Giants — if he wants it.

    He says he doesn’t.

    “Honestly now, I’m looking forward to just relaxing, I’m not going to have
    any responsibilities. ... I don’t have to go home and take care of my dog and do
    laundry, do all this other stuff,’’ Ballard said. “I’m there to win the Super
    Bowl. I’m just really looking forward to experiencing this as the team. My
    family is from not too far away [Ohio] so I’m looking forward to seeing them and
    going out to dinner, but mostly it will just be football.’’

    If coach Tom Coughlin can make it so the week ahead will “just be football,’’
    he will be more than a potential Hall of Fame coach — he will be a miracle
    worker. The Week Before is never just football, not even in this Midwest city —
    the 13th largest in the United States — that prides itself on its “Hoosier
    character.’’ No, this isn’t glitzy South Beach or the sun and desert of Arizona
    or the perfect climate of San Diego and it’s certainly not the decadence and
    caloric temptation of New Orleans.

    This is Indy’s first Super Bowl and the Giants want to make sure they get to
    Sunday's game against the Patriots without any missteps along the way.

    “There’s going to be a lot of parties, there’s going to be a lot of people
    pulling at your coattail,’’ Justin Tuck said. “Listen, you go out there and you
    handle your business and you win this thing, you can party all you want to after

    The Giants board their United Airlines charter flight from Newark today and
    are scheduled to land around 2:15 p.m. They will spend tomorrow morning at Lucas
    Oil Stadium for Media Day, where from noon to 1 p.m. they will answer questions
    about football and just about everything else. The over-under on Eli Manning
    getting asked about his preseason vote of confidence in himself — stating he’s
    in the same class as Tom Brady — is 25 times and it’s even-money he’ll receive a
    marriage proposal from someone — presumably a woman, but you never know —
    wearing a wedding dress. The Giants will then pose for their official Super Bowl
    team picture right there down on the field.

    Wednesday, it’s more chatting with the media, from 10:15 to 11:30 a.m. while
    seated around tables in a ballroom at the Giants team hotel, the Marriott
    Downtown. Finally, that afternoon, the Giants have their first practice in
    Indianapolis. The same schedule repeats itself on Thursday, the last day of
    media access for the players. Tom Coughlin — lucky him — gets to address the
    media Friday morning.

    This all means there is a great deal of down time as the days, hours and
    minutes advance to kickoff.

    “We’ve clearly explained to young guys what this trip is for,’’ Chris Snee
    said. “There will be a lot of temptation, a lot of stuff going on, but we
    clearly said the party’s back here [in New York] and much better after a
    victory. We’re not out there for leisure.’’

    Manning set an immediate tone, speaking to the entire group the first time
    the Giants met after the NFC Championship Game victory over the 49ers. Manning
    stressed everyone needed to prepare last week as if the game would be played
    that weekend and insisted the best way to prevent distractions is to keep to a
    time-tested formula that got the Giants this far. He’s going to try to do
    everything the same way he did it four years ago for Super Bowl XLII in
    Glendale, Ariz.

    Hakeem Nicks has never been to a Super Bowl, and if anyone wants to find him,
    he says he won’t be difficult to locate.

    “I’m not doing a lot, I’m staying to myself, stay focused,’’ Nicks said. “I’d
    rather celebrate afterward with my family. The whole week I might take my family
    out to eat one night, other than that I’m in the hotel room, by
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2

    You da man RF! Go Blue


    • #3

      Thanks Ro.....

      it is SB week.......finally....

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


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

        thanks much Roanoke! [B]

        becoming more and more pumped each day. i'll be at a fever pitch in as coupla days. lol

        Go Giants!



        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

          [quote user="lttaylor56"]You da man RF! Go Blue[/quote]

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


          • #6
            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

            [quote user="GameTime"]

            Thanks Ro.....

            it is SB week.......finally....


            Very exciting times
            “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 MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

              [quote user="BigBlue1971"]

              thanks much Roanoke! [B]

              becoming more and more pumped each day. i'll be at a fever pitch in as coupla days. lol

              Go Giants!


              The game can't start soon enough lol
              “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 MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

                Can't wait for Sunday!

                Thanks for the links RF


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

                  [quote user="nihan87"]

                  Can't wait for Sunday!

                  Thanks for the links RF


                  “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 MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

                    Thanks RF! Great stuff!

                    As much as I want them to play already, gotta enjoy the moment while it lasts. GMEN are in the super bowl!


                    • #11
                      Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

                      [quote user="NY_Eli"]Thanks RF! Great stuff!

                      As much as I want them to play already, gotta enjoy the moment while it lasts. GMEN are in the super bowl![/quote]

                      We are on the verge of greatness, let it sink in []
                      “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                      • #12
                        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 3:38 P.M.

                        Thanks for all the news RF! Great picture of the pilot flying the Giants flag.


                        • #13
                          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 3:38 P.M.

                          [quote user="nygsb42champs"]Thanks for all the news RF! Great picture of the pilot flying the Giants flag.[/quote]

                          They did that last time as well. Coughlin may have had a gun to the pilot's head to not break the chain lol
                          “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 MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 3:38 P.M.

                            thanks Oak!, as always


                            • #15
                              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP MONDAY, JANUARY 30, 2012 - 10:59 A.M.

                              [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="GameTime"]

                              Thanks Ro.....

                              it is SB week.......finally....


                              Very exciting times

                              you said Tom......

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