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    NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012 - 3:17 P.M.

    HERE NOW THE NEWS

    THE DATA WILL UPDATE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SHOW THE UPDATE TIME IN THE HEADER.

    NFC EAST DIVISION CHAMPIONS
    NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS

    PLAYOFFS 3 - 0: ON TO INDIANAPOLIS!


    NEWARK STAR LEDGER

    GIANTS' ELI MANNING, IN RESPONSE TO QUESTION ABOUT BEING "ELITE", FIRES BACK AT MEDIA FOR "MAKING UP STORIES."

    "Eli Manning showed up today for the first time since 2007.


    Well, what I mean is the Giants' quarterback broke from his formula of giving
    vanilla answers to finally take a shot back at us in the media who took
    his saying he was elite like Tom Brady
    this summer and blowing it up into a
    huge story.




    Just like he did four seasons ago when he fired
    back at Tiki Barber for saying his attempts at leadership were “comical,”

    Manning stunned reporters with his jab today when asked if he regretted the
    comment.




    “No I don’t have any regrets. I thought I gave an honest answer,” Manning
    said. “I didn’t regret it at the time or think anything of it at the time.
    Obviously, it’s been made into a big deal but I can’t always control that. I’m
    worried about getting ready to play, play this game, go out there play my best
    football and get the team to play our best football.




    “That’s my job. My job is to play the game. It’s your job to talk and make up
    stories.”




    Boom!




    To be fair, many of us were dragged into this storyline against our will. And
    again, to be fair to Manning, he was backed into a corner with the original
    question.




    But again, to be fair to a great quote from a guy who sprinkles them
    sparingly: Boom!




    * * * *




    One other great moment from his presser was when he was asked about Ann
    Mara’s giving Terry Bradshaw the business
    because he never picks the
    Giants.




    “I heard about it and kind if saw it on the news and read about it a little
    bit. You had to laugh,” Manning said. “Mrs. Mara, you see her and you think,
    ‘Sweet Mrs. Mara,’ but she obviously is very passionate about Giants football
    and passionate about this team, is involved and knows the players.




    “I like her attitude. I like the way she spoke her mind about something she
    cared deeply about.”




    * * * *




    Hang in there for more football-oriented stuff. Coming at you in droves
    today."

    PATRIOTS' BILL BELICHICK POINTS OUT GREAT FAMILIARITY, TIES WITH GIANTS

    "Bill Belichick, like
    his quarterback and team owner
    , had little interest in revisiting Super Bowl
    XLII -- specifically his memories of the moment when David
    Tyree made his spectacular catch to spur the Giants' comeback
    over the
    Patriots.



    "I think we’ve talked about all that a long time ago," the Patriots coach
    said on a media conference call today. "Had a lot of comments on the record
    after the game and everything else. Go back and look at all of the things that
    happened then, or some other year."




    But Belichick spoke more fondly of other ties with the Giants: the 12 years
    he spent there as an assistant coach, his "good friendship" with coach Tom
    Coughlin and the familiarity and respect between the two franchises.




    Belichick pointed out that this will be the third time the two teams face
    each other this season, including the preseason matchup.




    "This is a team that we have some background with relative to most of the
    other NFC teams we've played through the years. We know how good they are,"
    Belichick said, praising their coaches, ownership and front office.




    He added: "They’ve performed well under pressure in critical games. They’ve
    played some of their best football when they’ve had to and when it's counted the
    most. That’s what you’ve got to do this time of year. ... We know this is the
    best team we’ve played. It’s going to take our best game. The way it should
    be."




    Belichick won two Super Bowls with the Giants during his run with the team
    from 1979-1990, serving as special teams coach, a defensive assistant and
    eventually defensive coordinator. Coughlin was the Giants' receivers coach from
    1988-90, and Belichick said of all the fellow coaches he has worked with, their
    relationship was "as good as any."




    "I have a lot of respect for Tom," Belichick said. "He’s definitely stood the
    test of time in a couple organizations. ... He's tough, he's very disciplined,
    got a lot of experience, an intense coach, and I think that’s reflected in the
    way his teams play."




    Belichick said he and Coughlin share a mutual respect, speaking about common
    problems and sharing things with each other -- particularly since their teams
    are in different conferences.




    While Belichick will be looking to dash the Giants' title hopes in two weeks,
    he will always hold respect and fondness for the organization.




    "Those were 12 great years of my life," he said. "I loved every one of them
    with the Giants. The people I worked with, where I lived, our community, my kids
    were born there. There's a lot of fond memories there."




    * * *




    Belichick did not give much of an update on TE Rob Gronkowski, who injured
    his left ankle in the AFC Championship Game. Gronkowski was wearing a walking
    boot Monday.




    Belichick said "we'll see how it goes," noting that the team has not yet
    practiced since the game. He added, "it's hard to gauge injuries" based on how
    they look in the game.




    * * *




    Belichick praised safety James Ihedigbo, the ex-Jet who signed with the
    Patriots in free agency this year. Mainly a special teams and situational player
    with the Jets, Ihedigbo has stepped into a starting role in New England.
    Belichick called him a leader who has quick recognition in the secondary.




    "He's a hard worker, a really diligent guy," Belichick continued. "He's had a
    lot of value in a number of different areas for us."

    GIANTS' HOT TOPIC: IS GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN A HALL OF FAME COACH?

    "The Star-Ledger's Mike Garafolo wrote a story today about Tom
    Coughlin enjoying the game more than ever
    as the Giants head to the Super
    Bowl.



    This is Coughlin's 16th season as a coach - eight with the Giants, eight with
    the Jacksonville Jaguars - and the accolades are piling up. So many, in fact,
    that the 65-year-old coach is entering Hall-of-Fame discussion.




    Consider this:




    • 142-114 regular-season record (.555 winning percentage)
    • 11-7 playoff
    record
    • 7 division titles
    • 2 NFC Championship titles
    • 1 Super Bowl
    title
    • Guided Jacksonville to AFC Championship Game in franchise's second
    year
    • Only coach to twice win all three playoff levels
    (wild-card, divisional and conference championship) and reach Super Bowl




    So is Coughlin a Hall-of-Famer? Does he have to win Super Bowl XLVI to be
    one? There are 21
    coaches currently in the Hall-of-Fame
    , with Bill Parcells a 2012 finalist.




    Drop down to the comments
    section
    to join the discussion on whether Coughlin is a Hall-of-Famer. And,
    don't worry, Giants fans, we're saving that "Best coach in Giants history"
    question for after the Super Bowl."

    ##

    PATRIOTS' TIM BRADY, ROBERT KRAFT STILL AT A LOSS WHEN SUPER BOWL XLII IS MENTIONED

    Excerpt: "Four years have passed since the game that became Giants legend and New England Patriots
    regret.


    Both the
    Patriots’ star quarterbac
    k and their
    well-respected owner
    admitted that, even now, footage from Super Bowl XLII
    makes them turn away.




    “As time goes on, I still can’t watch highlights from that game,” Brady said
    Monday, in his weekly spot on Boston’s WEEI radio.




    Robert Kraft agreed: “I’ve never been able to watch it.”




    Two weeks from this past Sunday will be the rematch of that championship
    game, the one in which the Giants knocked off their undefeated opponent with a
    late-game drive that seemed near-miraculous to their fan base.




    Kraft may have never watched a replay, but when he shared his memory of that
    day, he listed the moments on which the game turned: The would-be interception
    that went through Asante Samuel’s hands. Eli Manning eluding the grasp of at
    least three Patriots defenders — and “whether the whistle blows,” Kraft said.
    The football-to-helmet catch by David Tyree on the other end of Manning’s
    escape.




    “In the end, there’s a lot of little things,” Kraft said. “That was a great
    game, and that was a great team, and we’re looking forward to having the
    privilege of going to Indianapolis." Read more...

    GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN IS ENJOYING THE GAME MORE THAN EVER AS HIS TEAM HEAD TO THE SUPER BOWL

    Excerpt: "This Giants team has lifted Tom
    Coughlin.


    Literally, Brandon Jacobs picked him up during the postgame celebration in
    the locker room after beating the Patriots in November.




    Figuratively, they have their 65-year-old coach enjoying his job more than
    ever before, as they begin preparing for their next meeting with the Pats in 12
    days in Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI.




    “There’s a great feeling,” Coughlin said on a conference call with reporters
    Monday, one day after beating
    the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game
    , 20-17, on Lawrence
    Tynes’ 31-yard field goal in overtime.




    “I talk a lot about spirit, I talk about emotions, I talk about vibes, I talk
    about feelings, I talk about an atmosphere that’s been created by the
    cooperation between players and coaches and the harmony and great feeling that
    exists. It’s been that type of feeling that’s sustained us throughout the course
    of the year but even more as I see people get real closer together.




    “That naturally happens with success but I’m talking about a real bonding.
    That’s what I sense and that’s what I feel.”




    As Coughlin suggested, there’s yet to be a team on its way to the Super Bowl
    that isn’t talking about “harmony” among the ranks.




    But this is different.




    The look on his face as his players were dancing around him and chanting,
    “Ha, see you Wednesday” while Jacobs lifted him.




    His uncharacteristically playful tone toward the media last Friday at the end
    of a week in which he found it “difficult to contain yourself.”




    The grin in a photo from Sunday’s postgame locker room as he stares at safety
    Derrick Martin, sprawled like a cat on top of a stall with a phone in his hand
    taking video of the scene." Read more...

    POLITI: GIANTS-PATRIOTS SUPER BOWL IS FULL OF STORYLINES YOU MIGHT SOON BE SICK OF

    Excerpt: "Hype is as much a Super Bowl requirement as the Roman numerals, perhaps the
    NFL’s one rule that even its referees couldn’t screw up. So we’d be bracing for
    two weeks of over-the-top buildup even if the matchup in the big game were, say,
    Seahawks-Browns.


    But this is different. This is Giants-Patriots, and that will take the
    hype all the way to Defcon 1, all the way to 11 on the Spinal Tap amps, all the
    way to a level so intense that, somewhere in a darkened ESPN studio, Chris
    Berman is already foaming at the mouth in anticipation.




    So in preparation for the coming Hype Tsunami, here are five story lines
    you’ll be so sick of by the time kickoff finally arrives, you’ll consider moving
    to Djibouti and becoming a cricket fan:




    1. REMATCH! (Capital letters required.)




    Have you heard? These two teams have met before. In, like, the Super Bowl.
    And it was kinda epic.




    Tom
    Brady said it’s still too painful
    to watch highlights from Super Bowl XLII,
    and if that’s really the case, maybe Giselle should cover the flat screens. If
    David Tyree could earn royalties from every time his catch is shown over the
    next two weeks, he’d crack the Forbes list.




    The comparisons are unavoidable, since most of the major players from the
    game remain. Still, turnover is the nature of the NFL, and there are far more
    Patriots and Giants playing in their first Super Bowl than those returning for a
    second crack. But no capital letters are required for that.




    2. Jets coach Rex Ryan could
    use a hug.




    Really, what would you even say to the big lug at this point? His team
    imploded from within. His star receiver can’t stand his franchise quarterback.
    He has spent the past three weeks rolling himself under bus after bus, insisting
    he’ll change his loudmouth ways next season.




    Now he gets the Super Bowl From Hell for Jets fans. Here come the Patriots,
    the team he promised the Jets finally would beat in the AFC East, against the
    Giants, the team he insisted was the second best in the New York market. Here
    comes Bill Belichick, the man whose rings Ryan would not kiss, against Tom
    Coughlin, the coach he all but taunted in the weeks leading up to their
    regular-season matchup.




    A year ago, everything Rex touched turned to gold. Now, if we find out his
    favorite singer is Madonna, she’ll probably tumble off the stage head first
    during the halftime show.




    3. Eli
    Manning has a brother
    , and did you know he also plays football in the Super
    Bowl host city?




    The Giants quarterback was asked immediately after the NFC Championship Game
    if it was even more exciting to play the big one in Indianapolis, where his
    brother Peyton has been a superstar for so long.




    “Well, I would have preferred New Orleans,” Eli said, “but hey, at least it’s
    not Detroit!”




    He didn’t say that, of course. But what could he say? The host city is about
    as relevant to a Super Bowl team as the halftime act. Players go from film
    sessions to media sessions to practices, so if they see anything in the city,
    it’s probably from the charter bus window.




    Chances are, Indianapolis Colts fans will be rooting for the Giants because
    of Eli. Then again, given that the Patriots are the opponent, the Manning
    bloodlines weren’t exactly a requirement to get their support.




    4. Speaking of Eli, you can’t spell E-L-I-T-E without him. You also
    need those letters to spell “We have EstabLIshed this already.”



    Look: If you don’t think Eli
    Manning belongs on the list
    of the league’s finest quarterbacks now, nothing
    he does at Lucas Oil Stadium in two weeks is going to change your opinion.




    We’ve seen how these postseason games go. A $100 million quarterback can
    throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns, only to have a backup kick returner
    making the league minimum drop a punt in overtime. Just like that, season over
    and legacies altered.




    A second championship, especially if he outplays Brady with the world
    watching, will put Eli on a level with the all-time greats. There’s no denying
    that. But as far as proving, once and for all, the guy is one of the best
    quarterbacks right now? That case is closed. Read more.

    GIANTS VS. 49ERS: KEY PLAYS IN GIANTS' NFC CHAMPIONSHIP WIN

    "Five key plays in the Giants'
    20-17 victory over the San Francisco Giants in Sunday's
    NFC Championship Game
    :



    1. Ahmad Bradshaw’s forward progress
    When: Score
    tied at 17, 2:29 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Giants deep in their own
    territory.
    What changed: Quite simply, the game. After a tremendous
    block where Bradshaw managed to send Patrick Willis airborne, he snuck out of
    the backfield and caught a short pass from Eli Manning. After six yards, it
    appears that NaVorro Bowman rips the ball loose, giving the 49ers the ball
    inside the Giant 20-yard line. But as Mike Garafolo noted in his game review
    today, it was an excellent call by side judge Don Carlsen, who ruled that
    Bradshaw’s forward progress had been stopped before the fumble occurred. Had
    Bowman reached Bradshaw a second earlier, though, we may have been talking about
    a 20-17 49ers victory.




    2. Jim Harbaugh’s missed timeout and Alex Smith’s short throw to
    Michael Crabtree

    When: With a little more than six minutes
    to play in the fourth quarter. A third-and-5 at the Giants’ 10-yard
    line.
    What changed: Again, maybe the entire game if either Harbaugh
    gets the timeout off, Smith puts that ball in a different spot for Crabtree, or
    Crabtree makes a move upfield to get the extra two yards. At this point, the
    49ers were trailing by three, 17-14, and were finally rolling after an excellent
    return from the embattled Kyle Williams. But the Giants defense held strong,
    forcing Smith into a throw he looked like he didn’t want. Meanwhile, Harbaugh
    was darting off the sideline signaling for a timeout. Remember, a touchdown
    there puts the Giants down four and with the way the 49ers defense was playing
    in the second half, it would be tough sledding for Manning and Co. to answer
    back.




    3. Justin Tuck’s running into the kicker penalty

    When: Early in the third quarter, the Giants leading by three. It
    was San Francisco’s eighth play of the second half, on a fourth-and-6 at the
    Giants’ 49
    What changed: Possibly momentum if the 49ers are any
    closer to the maker there. Tuck got flagged for a tick-tack shoulder nudge of
    49ers Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee, and if the 49ers were a yard closer, they’d be
    looking at a fresh set of downs inside Giants territory. Instead, it’s still
    fourth-and-1 and the conservative Jim Harbaugh decided not to rest the Giants
    short-yardage defense (and rightfully so given their track record so far in
    these playoffs). Though that drive was largely driven by another Giants penalty
    — Aaron Ross was flagged for an illegal contact on third-and-19 a few plays
    before — you never know how another three plays could shape the course of that
    game.



    4. Steve Weatherford’s 50-yard punt deep in his own
    territory

    When: Less than two minutes to play in the fourth
    quarter, the Giants have a fourth-and-15 at their own 21-yard line.
    What
    changed:
    Nothing for the 49ers anemic offense, which was exactly what the
    Giants were hoping for. Weatherford was given lots of props — and rightfully so
    — for his holding duties in these conditions, but nailing that 50-yard punt, and
    forcing the 49ers to start the drive from their own 29-yard line, was crucial
    down the stretch. Any closer to field-goal range and things may have played out
    differently. Instead, the 49ers offense continued to struggle and the Giants got
    the ball back with the score still tied.




    5. 49ers starting guard Mike Iupati injured his
    ankle

    When: On the 49ers first drive, third
    play
    What changed: With the rain pouring down, slopping up the
    field, the conditions only encouraged the hapless 49ers offense to run the ball
    even more. Completions — to receivers, especially — were at a premium. However,
    with Iupati banged up, injuring his ankle when running back Kendall Hunter fell
    on him, that made getting Frank Gore and Hunter their touches all the more
    difficult. Iupati returned, but was injured again before the quarter was over.
    He was seen limping during several points in the game, which is obviously no way
    to be facing off against the most feared front four in football right now."



    ELI MANNING SAYS EXTRA WEEK BEFORE SUPER BOWL IS A GOOD THING



    Excerpt: "At this point in January 2008, with the Giants having won five straight games, the
    repeat question was whether the bye week before the Super Bowl might break their
    rhythm.




    While that same inquiry will surely be posed to them this week, there’s at
    least one guy who’s relieved about the break.




    “There are some weeks where you’re happy that you’ve got two weeks before
    this next game,” quarterback Eli Manning said today during his weekly spot on
    1050 ESPN Radio.




    What he means is he felt every bit as bad as he looked when he was slammed to
    the ground during Sunday’s NFC
    Championship Game victory in San Francisco
    and got up with his chinstrap out
    of place, grass in his facemask and his shoulder pad sticking out of the neck
    hole of his jersey.




    Manning was sacked six times during the game and, according to the official
    scorer, was hit a total of 12 times.




    “There was a little soreness, but just your typical kind of bumps and
    bruises. Nothing major,” Manning said. “If we had to practice today, I’d be out
    there ready to go.




    “It was just one of those days. They’re tough. When you talk about good
    defenses that I’ve played against and gone against, they’re a really good
    defense.”




    Justin Smith got four hits on Manning, including a sack in overtime before
    Kyle Williams’ fumbled punt set up the game-winning field goal. Ray McDonald,
    Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis each hit Manning twice.




    “They’ve got a good scheme going there and good players,” Manning said, “so
    they did a good job of making it tough on the quarterback.”




    Tom Coughlin was glad to see, as always, Manning didn’t complain.




    “He 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,” Coughlin said on a conference call with reporters today. “He
    doesn’t get real upset and point the finger or want to know what the deal is.
    I’m sure he does in his mind, but he’s never going to show that.”




    Later, Coughlin added: “I don’t want the quarterback to be subject to that. I
    know that if we take care of him, he’ll take care of us.” Read more...

    GIANTS VS. PATRIOTS: NEW ENGLAND DEFENSE FIGHTING TO EARN RESPECT

    Excerpt: "During the New England Patriots’ 13-3 season and run to the Super Bowl, their
    offense has been lauded and their defense has been questioned.


    After all, New England ranked second in the league in total offense and 31st
    in in defense.




    But after the Patriots held up against the Baltimore Ravens’ two-minute drive
    in Sunday’s
    23-20 AFC Championship Game win
    , safety James Ihedigbo hoped the defense had
    earned its due.




    “People shy away from giving this defense respect,” Ihedigbo said today.
    “We’ve earned the right to be called a good defense, and come Super Bowl Sunday,
    we’re going to be proving that we’re a great defense.”




    That could prove to be a tall task against a Giants offense that features an
    explosive passing attack with quarterback Eli Manning and receivers Hakeem
    Nicks, Victor Cruz and Mario Manningham.




    Ihedigbo said he was motivated before the AFC Championship Game by the
    perception that there were three strong defenses left — the Ravens, the Giants
    and the San Francisco 49ers — while the Patriots defense was its team’s weak
    link.




    “Everyone was talking about our defense — oh, there’s three great defenses
    left in the playoffs and left our defense out of that,” Ihedigbo said. “It’s
    about respect, that’s why you play this game. It’s not given, it is earned, and
    each game we have a chance to prove that, and that’s what we plan on doing.”




    The Patriots’ pass defense, in particular, has been scrutinized. They
    surrendered 293.9 passing yards per game this season, second-most in the league.
    Their lineup has been shuffled for injuries and other reasons, and includes a
    former practice-squad player (Sterling Moore) and an offensive player (Julian
    Edelman)." Read more...

    AFTER GIANTS' VICTORY, ANN MARA CHIDES FOX ANALYST TERRY BRADSHAW - VIDEO

    "Perhaps some of the pugnacity the Giants have shown during their run to the
    Super Bowl has rubbed off from Ann Mara, the wife of late Giants owner
    Wellington Mara.


    In the Giants locker room after Sunday's
    victory over the San Francisco 49ers
    in the NFC Championship Game, Ann Mara
    chided Fox analyst (and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback) Terry Bradshaw
    for not picking the Giants during the network's pregame show.




    As Bradshaw is about to interview wide receiver Victor Cruz, Mara steals the
    show, tapping Bradshaw on the arm, then saying, "You never pick the Giants."
    Cruz laughs, and Bradshaw chuckles too, then says, "I'm sorry. I'm getting
    hammered for not picking the Giants."




    Bradshaw won't have a chance to redeem himself in Mara's eyes this season.
    NBC will broadcast the Feb.
    5 rematch between the Giants and New England Patriots in Super Bowl
    XLVI
    ."



    GIANTS VS. NINERS GAME REVIEW: ELI MANNING, TOM COUGHLIN LIFT GIANTS INTO SUPER BOWL



    Excerpt: "It’s kind of weird to say this because the 2007 run was just so magical, but
    Tom Coughlin seems to be having more fun this time around.




    John Mara sees it, which is why he just can’t see the 65-year-old Coughlin
    stepping down anytime soon. Heck, anybody who saw Coughlin’s
    press conference on Friday, in which he was joking with reporters
    could see
    how much fun Coughlin was having.




    “At times it was very difficult to contain yourself,” he said after
    Sunday’s NFC Championship Game victory. “Even this past week, when the
    excitement of this thing was building up, the days seemed to be flying by and I
    was nervous we were doing all we could possibly do to put ourselves in a
    position to win. But these guys have gone out and done it against the best we’ve
    played.”


    That’s a guy having fun right there.




    “When you’re not in the playoffs, it hurts a lot,” Coughlin said. “Those are
    the times when you think, ‘My goodness, what are we missing here? How are we
    denying ourselves such an incredible, enjoyable experience? What can we do about
    that?’




    “It’s been a couple of years since we’ve been in the playoffs, a few years
    since the Super Bowl, and now that we have this experience again, we’re humble
    about it, knowing full well a game of this nature could’ve gone either way.
    Thank God it went our way, but we’re excited about it.”




    * * * *




    One quick note: I did this as soon as I got back to my hotel Sunday night and
    worked through the night. I had a 6 a.m. flight that doesn’t land until 2:30
    p.m. or so. I sent this to the desk to post for me.




    That’s a long way of me saying I’ll get to any corrections and additions when
    I can. In the meantime, you know where to put your feedback down below.




    * * * *




    GAME BALLS




    Coughlin. See above.




    Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and his staff. CBS
    analyst Charlie Casserly reported Sunday the Colts
    wanted to interview Fewell but couldn’t
    . Given this defensive turnaround
    and the good
    vibes from the players who credited his ability to listen
    , they might be
    asking to talk to him this week. By rule, they can. We’ll keep an ear out for
    this situation and let you know what we hear.




    Special teams coordinator Tom Quinn and assistant
    Larry Izzo. Suddenly, special teams is a strength of this team.
    And by the way, nobody on the front line budged early on any of the kick
    returns. The Niners weren’t going to sneak in a surprise onside kick on these
    guys.




    General manager Jerry Reese and the rest of the front
    office. He was laughing at the idea of what he called the “murderer’s row”
    schedule the Giants faced late in the season because there are no gimmes in this
    league. Now, he’s very happy his team went through it. “The schedule was brutal
    and we took advantage of the brutal schedule,” he said. “I like the tough
    schedule. You win these kinds of games when you play a brutal, physical schedule
    like we play, when you’re battle tested and you come out on top.”




    QB Eli Manning. The touchdown pass to WR Mario
    Manningham
    was a dart. That’s such a great throw right there. He had
    plenty of others and did
    a great job of not trying to do too much
    . But in another example of how calm
    he is in pressure situations, his presence of mind to see the field-goal unit
    running on the field at the end of the second quarter and to wait for them to
    get back to the sideline before snapping it was huge. If he snaps the ball
    there, that’s a penalty, as Troy Aikman and Joe
    Buck
    told you. The part they left out is it’s also a 10-second runoff
    because they didn’t have any timeouts. So had they been flagged for too many men
    on the field, it would’ve been the end of the half. No field-goal attempt, no
    halftime lead.




    LB Jacquian Williams. We’ve covered
    the forced fumble at length
    , so let’s take a moment here to highlight a
    couple of fine third-down plays earlier in the second half: a pass defensed on a
    scramble by Niners QB Alex Smith and a tackle on RB
    Frank Gore in the open field late in the third quarter.
    Williams closed on Gore extremely quickly on that one.




    WR Devin Thomas. Sometimes fumble recoveries are a matter of
    luck, hustle and/or awareness, as was the case with his first recovery. And
    sometimes, there’s skill involved like on the big one. That ball took only one
    bounce before it popped up to a falling Thomas. He was ready and showed great
    hands to make that play.




    P Steve Weatherford. He deftly handled a low snap on the
    game-winning field goal and also on a punt with 27 seconds left in the fourth
    quarter. Nearly five months later, I think we can safety say the Giants made the
    right call keeping him over Matt Dodge, huh?

    K Lawrence Tynes. There was a lot of stuff that could’ve
    broken his rhythm, and Billy
    Cundiff’s miss earlier in the day
    could’ve gotten in his head as well. But
    he
    nailed it
    .


    WR Victor Cruz. Eight of his 10 catches were for first
    downs. The first time he didn’t get a first down was a 13-yard catch on a
    second-and-15 on the third-to-last play of the second quarter to set up a field
    goal. The other one that didn’t go for a first down was a 6-yard catch in the
    third quarter. On the next play, he caught a ball for 11 yards … and a first
    down. I didn’t realize until today he didn’t have a catch after that 11-yarder,
    which came with just under 9 minutes left in the third quarter. He
    finished with 10 catches for 142 yards
    and could’ve easily cracked the
    200-yard mark.




    WR Hakeem Nicks. I forgot to ask what happened with his
    shoulder early on. Given his threshold for pain and the way he reacted, I’m sure
    he played through something painful.




    Manningham. I wish I’d heard the TV feed during the game because Cruz was
    yelling, “I told you! I told you!” and then turned to Nicks and screamed, “You
    called it! You called it!” I’d love to know what they saw and what Nicks
    called.




    CBs Aaron Ross and Corey Webster. Yeah, I’d
    say one catch for the other team’s receivers is a sign the corners played
    well.




    TE Bear Pascoe. I had no clue while watching live what
    happened on his touchdown. After watching a few times on the replay, it looks
    like Niners LB NaVorro Bowman was supposed to pick him up on
    the crossing route. In any event, that was a great time for Pascoe to catch his
    first NFL touchdown. The last time the Giants had played here, there were a
    bunch of Cowboy hats waiting in the postgame meet-and-greet area. I had a
    feeling they were there for the California native, whose family owns a ranch,
    and they were. I didn’t get out to that area after this game, but I’m sure they
    were waiting proudly once again.




    DE Jason Pierre-Paul. Among other moments, his tackle of
    Smith a yard short of the stick on a scramble in the second quarter was a fine,
    fine play. He got upfield on LT Joe Staley and then peeled off
    to get Smith. After a delay-of-game penalty, San Fran punted. One other
    Pierre-Paul moment of note was when he got his hands up on third-and-5 with 6:03
    left in the fourth quarter. That forced Smith to throw high for WR
    Michael Crabtree, who didn’t get the chance to get any yards
    after the catch. A throw in stride there might’ve allowed him to get upfield and
    get the first down inside the 5-yard line. Instead, the Niners settled for a
    field goal and a tie game.




    DE Justin Tuck. His closing speed on a sack of Smith in the
    third quarter was reminiscent of the old Tuck. After
    a trying regular season
    , he’s back.




    LB Mathias Kiwanuka. Okay, so it was a defensive lineman
    trying to block him on third-and-1 early in the fourth quarter. But that’s still
    DT Justin Smith, who’s a big, strong guy. So for Kiwanuka to
    chuck him so quickly and create a pileup is another impressive play against the
    run. Oh, and as his sack proved, he can still rush the passer when needed.




    RB Ahmad Bradshaw. He wanted to “hit my head on the
    goalpost” while scoring the game-winning touchdown. He didn’t get to do it but
    he hit his head on plenty of opponents while going for 126 total yards." Read more...

    http://www.nj.com/giants/

    NY DAILY NEWS

    ELI MANNING TELLS GIANTS' TEAMMATES THAT IT'S TIME TO TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS AGAINST PATRIOTS IN SUPER BOWL XLVI

    "When Eli Manning talks, the
    Giants listen because he doesn’t usually say a lot. So they were all listening
    closely earlier on Tuesday when the quiet quarterback addressed the team and
    delivered this message:



    It’s time to take care of business.




    “That’s basically what the message was about: Were’ going out there to take
    care of business,” said safety Antrel Rolle.
    “Everything else is for the spectators. Everything else is for your family and
    for your friends. We’re going out there to handle business.




    “It was a broad message that needed to be said. And it was a message that was
    heard loud and clear by everyone. Basically this is about business. Let’s go
    take care of it. Let’s go get it done, at whatever it costs.”




    That’s what the Giants began doing on Tuesday when the NFC champions arrived
    at the Meadowlands for team meetings and film study. They will be off on
    Wednesday before returning for three days of practice on Thursday, Friday and
    Saturday. On Monday they depart for Indianapolis, site of Super Bowl XLVI.




    Manning’s point to them was that Super Bowl week can be a zoo, as he and a
    few of his current teammates learned four years ago. That makes this a huge week
    for the Giants. It’s where they’ll get in most of their study and preparation in
    for the New England Patriots. Then they’ll be ready to go as soon as their
    charter flight touches down.




    “I was just telling them just a little bit how to prepare for this,” Manning
    said. “Just handling all your business with tickets, getting that stuff done.
    Just a few things on just the mindset of this week. We’ve got to have great
    preparation. Prepare this week like you’re playing the game this week, because
    once you get out to Indianapolis, you’ve got to take a bus ride to practice and
    the whole schedule gets thrown off.




    “We’ve got to have everything that we normally have to do during a normal
    work week, we’re going to try to get it done this week.”




    Manning said he expects the Giants will input about “95 percent” of the game
    plan this week before they leave for Indianapolis. “There might be a few
    additions (next) week,” he said. “The more film you look at you might change a
    few things. But really, from the standpoint of the coaches and players, our
    preparation will be done this week.




    “That’s a big help,” he added. “That’s the way you want to do it. Just so
    everybody knows the game plan and everybody has two weeks to look at it,
    understand it. Once you get out there everybody will feel good about what we’re
    doing.”


    ##

    GIANTS' QB ELI MANNING IS NOT ONLY IN TOM BRADY'S ELITE CLASS, HE'S A SUPERIOR PLAYER THIS SEASON

    "This is no longer about who’s an elite quarterback, who’s not, we have talked
    that one to death all season. This is about more than that, something more
    important: Who the best quarterback is right now.


    For my money it is Eli
    Manning
    .

    He is the quiet younger brother to Peyton Manning, who all of a
    sudden has turned himself into a rock star. Or maybe rocked star, just because
    of the way he kept getting rocked in Candlestick Park Sunday night, getting
    knocked down, getting back up, helping win his team another big game.




    Eli Manning is playing better than anybody going into this Super Bowl, and
    that includes the guy he goes up against in Indy, old friend Tom
    Brady
    . Eli did not have his best stats on Sunday against the 49ers, and was
    on the ground a lot, and did not own the fourth quarter and overtime the way he
    has a lot this season.

    He still came away with two touchdown passes, more
    than 300 passing yards, so many third-down conversions you lost count, this guy
    who sometimes makes third-and-long look so easy.

    And even though he came
    close to turning the ball over to the 49ers, he did not. Did not throw the kinds
    of interceptions that Brady threw in Foxboro against Baltimore, including one in
    the end zone when the Patriots had a chance to put the Ravens away.

    It
    was supposed to be this huge upset when Manning was the better quarterback in
    the end, eventually the MVP of the game, the last time the two teams met in the
    Super Bowl. Not anymore. Maybe the surprise this time will be if Eli doesn’t win
    the fourth quarter the way he did in Glendale, Ariz., four years ago, the way he
    won the fourth quarter from the Patriots, in Foxboro, earlier this
    season.

    Brady has three Super Bowls to Eli’s one, Brady has had one of
    the great careers, feels like a whole wing of the Hall of Fame already. And had
    the bigger numbers this season. But Eli has thrown 15 fourth-quarter touchdown
    passes, a record for pro football and for all time. Eli has now gone on the road
    and beaten the two best records in his conference, same as he did four years ago
    before he beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

    Peyton’s little brother as
    rock star. Or rocked star. Take your pick. Put him on the ground, he gets back
    up. Bounce him out of the pocket, he gets loose and completes another pass,
    sometimes one of his back-foot specials like he threw down the sideline to Ahmad Bradshaw at
    Candlestick Sunday night.

    Nobody better than him right now, not Brady or
    anybody else. Patriots fans I know are already talking about how lucky the
    Giants were to win Sunday, because of the misadventures of poor Kyle Williams returning punts. But, what, the Patriots weren’t
    lucky with a snipe-hook field goal and the dropped touchdown pass that would
    have put the Ravens
    in Indy?

    The Giants finally won in San
    Francisco because they had the better defense even on a day when the 49ers
    defense gave Eli Manning all he wanted. But they also had the better
    quarterback, by a ton. Quarterback who gets up and keeps coming and never misses
    a game no matter how hard you hit him.

    And when you ask him, the way you
    ask them all, how this has happened for the Giants, Eli says:

    “I kept
    believing in our team, that we hadn’t played our best football
    yet.”

    “Look at what this guy does,” Tom Coughlin says
    after it is 20-17 for the Giants on Sunday night. “Look at how many times he got
    back up the way he did tonight after getting hit the way they were hitting
    him.”

    In so many ways, Eli has become the star of everything and the face
    of everything for the Giants the way Derek Jeter was for the
    Yankees when he was younger. He is not just the Giants’ star, he is clearly
    their leader, and that starts with the way the other players take their lead
    from him.

    Say it again: The coach calls Eli a grinder. But it is a team
    of grinders now.

    We talk all the time about Peyton and Eli, Eli and
    Peyton. But maybe that is not the comparison to make. Maybe the better
    comparison to make is the one between Eli and his father, Archie, one of the
    toughest quarterbacks who ever lived, one who had as much heart as any
    quarterback who ever played.

    Archie never played on teams as good as the
    ones his sons have played on. Was stuck on bad, dead-end teams in New Orleans
    before he went to the Vikings way too late in his career. It is such a huge
    reason why Eli’s dad was afraid Eli might get stuck on that kind of team in San
    Diego and wanted him traded to the Giants.

    But no matter how much Archie Manning got
    hit and got put on his back, he got up and kept coming. You look at some of the
    hits Eli took Sunday, the way he got away one time with his helmet sideways and
    shoulder pads showing and somehow got the ball over to Bradshaw in the
    flat.

    Now he goes back to another Super Bowl, becomes the first Giants
    quarterback to ever start two Super Bowls. Eli against Brady again in the big
    game. Nobody asking him about being in Brady’s class anymore because we can see
    it now.

    Four years later, going into what feels like the biggest Super
    Bowl of them all, the Giants wouldn’t trade their quarterback for anybody,
    including the one they face in Indy."



    GIANTS, BEHIND ELI MANNING, WILL BEAT TOM BRADY AND THE PATRIOTS IN SUPER BOWL XLVI



    Excerpt: "Eli Manning and Tom
    Coughlin
    beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in
    the Super Bowl four years ago and in less than two weeks they will do it
    again.



    The Patriots were a better team in 2007 than they are now. The Giants are a
    better team now than they were in 2007.




    Final score of Super Bowl XLII: Giants 17, Patriots 14.




    Prediction for Super Bowl XLVI: Giants 34, Patriots 24.




    Four years ago, I had it Giants 31, Patriots 28. Right point differential.
    Too many points.




    The Patriots were building a dynasty when they won three Super Bowls in a
    four-year period from 2001-04, but it’s been seven years since they last won it.
    Is it a coincidence that Belichick has not won the Super Bowl since the Jets
    blew up his Spygate operation in the season opener in 2007?




    Manning has a chance to join Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Troy
    Aikman
    , John Elway, Roger Staubach Bart
    Starr
    , Bob Griese, Ben
    Roethlisberger
    and Jim Plunkett as the
    quarterbacks who have won multiple Super Bowls. It will be Brady’s fifth Super
    Bowl start, tying Elway for the most ever.




    Elite Eli vs. Tom Terrific in the
    first Super Bowl showdown of quarterbacks who have already been Super Bowl
    MVPs.




    Unlike four years ago, when Manning was in just his fourth season, this is
    his team. Back then, it belonged to Michael Strahan.
    The Patriots have always been pass-first with Brady. But they are not the
    powerhouse they were in 2007 when Brady threw a record 50 TDs passes.




    It’s the fourth set of teams in a Super Bowl rematch: The Cowboys played the
    Steelers three times, the Cowboys played the Bills in back-to-back years and the
    49ers played the Bengals twice.




    Fifteen Giants who played in that Super Bowl remain with the team. There are
    only seven Patriots who remain. You can be sure Belichick will say at least 100
    times over the next two weeks that the 2007 game means nothing and, that these
    are different teams. That’s just coach-speak.




    Patriots owner Robert Kraft has never
    been able to watch the game. If you don’t think Brady, who is ultra-competitive,
    and his coach in the gray hoodie, who wants to win so badly he got caught
    cheating, want revenge, then you have not been paying attention to what makes
    these guys so good. They are consumed with winning.




    “I mean, time goes on, and I still can’t watch highlights from that game,”
    Brady said on his weekly Monday morning radio spot in Boston. “We had a great
    opportunity and we squandered it.”




    Revenge on the minds of the Pats? “I think it will be a factor,” Osi
    Umenyiora
    said. “I think that coaching staff will come out really fired up
    and trying to make a point.” Read more...

    GIANTS' JUSTIN TUCK HAS A FEELING GIANTS CAN FINISH SEASON WITH SUPER BOWL WIN

    "A trip back to the Super Bowl for Justin Tuck means a
    return to the stage where he played perhaps his greatest game.



    And he’ll
    be going against the same opponent, the New England Patriots.

    Though Eli
    Manning
    was the MVP of the Giants’ 17-14 win in Super Bowl XLII, Tuck could
    very easily have earned the accolade. He put Tom Brady under constant
    pressure, sacking him twice and forcing a fumble.

    “I hope it is déjà vu,”
    Tuck said Monday in an interview on WFAN. “It was probably one of my better
    games. Obviously it kind of put me on the map as a defensive player in this
    league, especially doing it on that stage against the quality of competition we
    were going against that night.”

    Tuck says that “the best will bring out
    your best” and that certainly was the case four years ago.

    “I’ve heard a
    lot of basketball players talking about being in the zone; it just seems I was
    in the zone that night,” he told WFAN. “Hopefully we can return to Indianapolis
    and I can get back in that zone. Not just me, but this entire football
    team.”

    By the end of Sunday’s overtime NFC Championship Game win over the
    49ers, Tuck felt he and the defensive unit were in it. “No matter what it took,
    we weren’t going to allow them to score any more,” he said.

    It’s been a
    fast ascent for Tuck to return to a starring role with the defense. He battled
    injuries to his neck, groin and shoulder during this season and reportedly
    considered asking to be put on the injured reserve because he felt he wasn’t
    contributing. That was before the pep talk from Tom Coughlin that’s
    seemingly coaxed him back to the forefront.

    And he was the seeming
    subject of Antrel Rolle’s
    criticism of players missing practice because of injuries, Rolle
    saying,

    “If you’re going to go out here and play the game on Sunday, you
    need to be out there with your men throughout the week.”

    “A lot of guys
    have stepped up and said we’re going to stop all the bickering and
    finger-pointing from early in the season,” Tuck said “Individually a lot of guys
    have looked in the mirror and said . . . ‘how can I make this team better.’ No
    one really cares where the credit is coming from - It’s all about the team
    now.” Read more...

    GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN PREPARING FOR SUPER BOWL XLVI GOES RIGHT TO WORK ON PATRIOTS

    "Tom Coughlin's
    attention shifted to the Patriots the team the Giants will face in the Super
    Bowl for the second time in four years immediately after Lawrence Tynes
    overtime field goal sealed Sundays overtime victory over the 49ers in the NFC
    Championship ame.



    As always takes place with the (game-winning) field goal, you dont stop and
    say to yourself, We won this game. You say, Were going to the Super Bowl,’ ”
    Coughlin said on a conference call Monday after the Giants arrived back in the
    New York area following a cross-country red-eye flight from San Francisco. Were
    going to have time to study.




    The New England Patriots have won 10 games in a row. They are an outstanding
    football team, without question. . . . We know what were going to find when we
    do study a very good, very talented football team that has put together a really
    outstanding string of wins.”




    Coughlin, Eli Manning and the
    Giants, of course, have experience in spoiling a season for Bill Belichick, Tom
    Brady
    and the Patriots. Big Blue ended their bid at perfection in Super Bowl
    XLII four years ago.




    But since losing to the Giants 24-20 in Foxborough on Nov. 6 earlier this
    season a game Coughlin noted seems like an awful long time ago the Pats have
    outscored opponents 359-188 during a 10-game winning streak.




    The Giants will reconvene Tuesday at the Meadowlands for meetings and film
    review, and they will practice on their home turf for three days beginning
    Thursday before departing for Indianapolis on Monday.




    Coughlin clearly has continued to enjoy this run from a 7-7 record on Dec. 18
    to winning what he described as five single-elimination games in a row, which
    includes playoff victories over Atlanta and Green Bay.




    The 65-year-old coach also praised the Giants for being as locked in as well
    as any team Ive ever been associated with in Saturdays pregame meetings and for
    their mental and physical toughness in outlasting the Niners in difficult
    conditions one night later.




    Theres a great feeling. . . . I’m talking about a real bonding, Coughlin
    said. Thats what I sense and feel. Ive seen a real responsive team.




    You could hear a pin drop in those meetings rooms. You could literally feel
    and sense the acceptance and the concentration. Those are the things that I
    appreciate. These guys have really brought a very strong businesslike approach
    to what theyre doing and whatever word you want to use, theres a strong feeling
    among this group, and its really been a great source of pride for all of us to
    be associated with them.”




    According to Coughlin, the return flight from San Francisco was very loud, as
    his players deservedly were all excited and remain that way.




    That respect and appreciation also is returned toward a head coach who didn't
    waver even when his job was being called for in the media and among the fan base
    while the season seemingly was slipping away last month.




    This might be the defining career season for him, defensive end Justin
    Tuck
    said Monday about Coughlin on WFAN. I dont see why he wouldn’t be the
    top candidate for Coach of the Year considering the pressure thats on him in New
    York. It is definitely the type of city thats about what have you done for me
    lately? And it just seems every year Coach Coughlins job is up for grabs.




    I know its a lot of pressure on him and he has not really wavered either way.
    You really couldnt tell if he was a coach that had won four Super Bowls in a row
    or a coach that was on the hot seat. The whole season long hes stayed
    even-keeled and stuck to his guns and believed in what this team was going to be
    about. Its trickled throughout this entire franchise."

    http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/giants

    NY POST

    MENTAL TOUGHNESS DEFINES GIANTS, PATRIOTS

    "Resilience has been the Patriots’ 12th man all season.



    If you ask Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, they will
    tell you that resilience has been the difference between the one-and-done
    playoff teams the previous two seasons and the group that outlasted the Ravens
    23-20 in Sunday’s taut AFC Championship Game.




    That resilience is as much a reason the Patriots are headed to Super Bowl
    XLVI in Indianapolis in pursuit of the franchise’s fourth Lombardi Trophy as Tom
    Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker have been.




    And that resilience is probably the Patriots’ best chance to overcome the
    surging tidal wave of momentum, confidence and execution their Super Bowl
    opponents, the Giants, have become on their magical ride to a second Super Bowl
    in four years.

    The Patriots need to go no further than watching the tape of the Giants’
    riveting 20-17 overtime win over the 49ers in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game in
    San Francisco to understand that there might not be a more mentally tough team
    than the Giants in the land.



    “I’m very impressed with our mental toughness,’’ Gian
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1






    # 80

  2. #2

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 20112 - UNDER CONSTRUCTION

    Thanks RF. Today's a great day.

  3. #3
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 20112 - UNDER CONSTRUCTION

    [quote user="lttaylor56"]Thanks RF. Today's a great day.[/quote]

    I can't keep up with the flood of news LMAO

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






    # 80

  4. #4

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 20112 - UNDER CONSTRUCTION

    [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="lttaylor56"]Thanks RF. Today's a great day.[/quote]

    I can't keep up with the flood of news* LMAO

    Going back at it now
    [/quote]It is never ending. Nyg is in the middle of a media overdrive. There's endless information everywhere.

  5. #5
    All-Pro
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012 - 11:20 A.M.

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

  6. #6
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012 - 11:20 A.M.

    [quote user="GameTime"]thanks Buckeroo....[/quote]

    [B] Every day brings us closer to the brass ring
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1






    # 80

  7. #7
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012 - 11:20 A.M.

    [quote user="GameTime"]thanks Buckeroo....[/quote]

    [B] Every day brings us closer to the brass ring
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1






    # 80

  8. #8

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012 - 2:10 P.M.

    As always thanks RF.

  9. #9

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 20112 - UNDER CONSTRUCTION



    many thanks Roanoke!





  10. #10
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2012 - 2:10 P.M.

    [quote user="nygsb42champs"]As always thanks RF.[/quote]

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






    # 80

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