ANTREL ROLLE SAYS GIANTS ARE GOING TO WIN SUPER BOWL, THEN BACKS OFF GUARANTEE
"Antrel Rolle is playing in his second Super Bowl, this one with the Giants, and
the safety plans on winning this time.
“We’re going to win this thing,” Rolle said at Media Day today at Lucas Oil
Stadium. “We’re going to win this thing for a lot of good reasons.”
Rolle expressed his confidence several other times. The Giants are “not going
to be denied,” he said. He also said the team is going to “go out there and take
care of business, and it will be done.”
But later asked if he guaranteed a win, Rolle balked at the suggestion.
“I didn’t say we’re going to win, I said we’re going to go out there and do
whatever it takes to win,” Rolle said. “I didn’t guarantee anything
Rolle was on the losing end of Super Bowl XLIII, when the Steelers beat the
The Giants were at one point 7-7, but when they beat the Jets in Week 16,
Rolle said that was the turning point for his team.
“There was a lot of trash talk throughout the week, and we just said, ‘We’ll
let our play do the talking for us,’ ” Rolle said. “And we got hit with a lot
that game. I think there was some outrageous calls that game where things could
have been overturned, and I think they were definitely getting fed the biscuit
Rolle meant that the referees were giving favorable calls to the “home” Jets.
One questionable call in particular was when Jason Pierre-Paul looked to strip
quarterback Mark Sanchez after beating left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson -- but
a challenge by Ryan reversed the call. Afterward, coach Tom Coughlin said “we’re
going to have to revisit the ‘tuck rule.’”
“But no matter what was going our way, we weren’t going to let it change the
way we were going to play,” Rolle said. “We didn’t let it change our mentality,
and we didn’t let it change our fight, and I think that’s where we grew as a
team mentally. Not so much physically but mentally. We understood at that point,
no matter what is going our way, we won’t get sidetracked and we won’t get
Rolle said the trash talk from the Jets didn’t mean much to him but he did
make it clear that the Giants silenced their cross-town rivals.
“No matter what is being said, the game has to be played on Sunday,” Rolle
said. “You can’t talk with your mouth. You can only go out there and put your
pads on and let your pads to the talking. And I think we solved
that.”GIANTS' JAMES BREWER RETURNS TO HOMETOWN WITH GOOD LUCK CHARM IN HAND
"The Giants’ superstitious ways are no secret. From their Christmas tree in
the practice facility’s lobby throughout their playoff run to individual quirks,
the team is as superstitious as they come.
So when rookie tackle James Brewer got off the Giants team plane Monday with
a huge teddy bear in hand, like he had just come home from the carnival, it was
just another talisman for a team full of them.
It was a potentially embarrassing image for the 6-6, 325-pound offensive
lineman, but Brewer was happy -- even honored -- to do it.
The bear became fellow tackle Kareem McKenzie's good luck charm back in 2007
as the Giants made their improbable run to Super Bowl XLII and it called
McKenzie's locker home this season. It has also gone on the team's road trips so
leaving it home wasn’t an option.
"In 2007 they brought the bear to every game, including the Super Bowl in
Arizona when we beat the Patriots," Brewer said. "The veterans gave me the task
of carrying the bear here. It's a good luck charm kind of thing."
Not only is Brewer enjoying a Super Bowl as a rookie, he’s doing it in his
hometown. Brewer attended Arlington High School for his senior year and played
football for the first time there. Despite the limited experience he showed
enough potential to earn a scholarship to Indiana.
He turned that into a solid college career and a fourth-round selection in
April’s draft. He’s been inactive for every game this season and will almost
certainly be inactive on Sunday, but the Giants viewed him as a long-term
project when they drafted him.
Now he’s just happy to experience a Super Bowl back home.
“For me, I’ve been blessed to be in a position where one -- to be in a Super
Bowl, and two -- to be back home for that Super Bowl,” he said. “So I couldn’t
ask for anything more than I have right here.”
MARIO MANNINGHAM CLARIFIES STATEMENT ON JULIAN EDELMAN: HE STILL WANTS TO SEE HIM IN SUPER BOWL XLVI
Manningham told the Boston Herald last week he hopes to see Julian Edelman
out there on defense. That sort of had a negative connotation to it, so today
Manningham tried to clarify.
“It’s not like that. I respect him as a player, I understand that he’s a good
player,” the Giants’ wide receiver said during a Media Day session with
reporters. “He plays wide receiver and defensive back. I don’t take anything
from him but he plays offense.
“So I know he’s a competitive player, but I’m going to try to win. No matter
who lines up in front of me, I’m going to try to win.”
Okay, easy enough of a clarification. Moving on. …
Wait, hang on.
"It’s not just me, but us as a receiving corps," Manningham said when asked
about "exposing" Edelman in the secondary. "We know he’s a great player, but we
want to go out and do what we have to do to win. No matter what it takes.
“He plays wide receiver. He’s not a real defensive back. Did he get drafted
as a defensive back? We have a little bond going on knowing that we can beat
somebody. We’re confident. I hope he’s out there.”
So much for softening his stance. And so much for what he tries to accomplish
here in this next quote.
“I don’t really want to say anything more about him. We’ll see on Sunday,”
Manningham said when asked if Edelman can cover the slot receiver. “Do you think
* * * *
While we’re on the subject of trash talk, why don’t we double
back with DE Osi Umenyiora, who said he and Pats LT Matt Light will
their rivalry on Sunday.
“He just does all of that extra pushing and tries to hit you over the pile
and stuff like that,” Umenyiora said. “But at the end of the day, I’m not paying
any attention to that anymore. We’re just going to go out there and play and
that’s just going to be the end of it.”
No more fighting?
“Nah, not at all. Not on this stage,” Umenyiora said. “I don’t think it’s
going to be a situation with us fighting or doing anything crazy like that.
We’re just going to play good, solid football.”
Light was not at Media Day. He was excused by the team and the NFL because
“He’ll be okay,” Umenyiora said. “A little cold, a little flu, that’s nothing
compared to what most of us have to play with. I think he’ll be okay.”
* * * *
for today’s paper on the Giants’ business-like approach upon landing here
and how it differed from the way they stomped onto this stage four years
“The 2007 team was just playing,” RB Brandon Jacobs said. “We knew we had a
terrible season and we had a last opportunity to take advantage of and made the
playoffs. But all along, during those playoffs, we were just playing.
“We didn’t really know then. This team knows we can come out here and do
this. … We worked super-hard to get here and we’re going to try to finish this
GIANTS' DC PERRY FEWELL WOULD HAVE DECLINED A NY HEAD COACHING INTERVIEWS DURING SUPER BOWL RUN
Excerpt: "Perry Fewell knows he wants to be a head coach, but was not worried when he
didn't receive any offers during the recent hiring binge around the league.
Fewell thinks that if the Buccaneers, Rams, Jaguars, Raiders, Colts or
Dolphins called, he would not have interviewed in order to stay focused on the
defense through this playoff stretch.
"You know what? I was so focused on
helping us win that I probably would have said no," he said. "I really wanted
this for our football team, this team has come through a lot this year, we grew
a lot together this year, I wasn't going to be selfish okay? And sometimes you
have to not look at yourself and you think about the team and I thought about
the team in this situation." Read more...
GIANTS' RECEIVERS HAVE EDGE OVER PATRIOTS SECONDARY. RODNEY HARRISON SAYS
"Rodney Harrison said there's no hard feelings with his former Patriots teammates
now that he's in a position to criticize as an NBC commentator.
understand, he says, and they know he's rooting for them.
doesn't seem that confident. When asked if the Patriots have enough on the back
end to cover the Giants trio of wide receivers, he had this to say:
a consistent basis? No. They're going to have to step up and you're going to
have to have guys like Sterling Moore and (Kyle) Arrington play outside of
themselves and they're going to have to play well."
Harrison blamed the
issues in part on former Rutgers product Devin McCourty, who made the Pro Bowl
in his inaugural season after picking off seven passes and forcing two
This year, his numbers have been down considerably, to which
Harrison blames mental mistakes.
"Devin McCourty, he's a player, if he focuses in, he has the ability to be an
elite cornerback in this league. But when I watch film on him, it's the little
things he does wrong *-- it's being outside technique when he should be inside.
It's being inside when he should be outside, peeking in the backfield, those
little things keep you from being an elite player, a consistent player and from
getting beat," Harrison said.
During their last matchup, neither Victor
Cruz nor Mario Manningham had more than 100 yards receiving, due partly to the
fact that Hakeem Nicks was sitting out with a hamstring injury.
there's any chance to replicate that performance with Nicks in play, Harrison
said, they will have to avoid those same mistakes that continue to show up on
film each week.
"This is a time for the Patriots to really come
together," he said, "not blow the coverages and have the miscommunications
they've had in the past and if they do that, I think they can compete and stay
right there with the Giants."
SUPER BOWL LINKS: GIANTS ONLY NFL TEAM THAT IS "TRULY BALANCED"
Excerpt: "Over on Boston.com, Globe columnist Bob Ryan puts the Giants
in a "truly balanced" category among NFL playoff teams, the only one to fall
under that title.
Ryan writes in hindsight, it's "very obvious the Giants had more going for
them than anyone" and the 9-7 record overshadowed just how good they were.
Here are some other Super Bowl links that Giants fans may find
• Bill Barnwell of Grantland.com takes a look at — and gives insight into —
of the gambling prop bets available for the Super Bowl.
If you think the
Giants will blow out the Patriots, you could win a lot of money. And for the
truly hardcore degenerates, heads or tails on the coin toss?" Read more...
SUPER BOWL BOUND GIANTS GIVE BRIDGEWATER BOY PACKERS' PLAYOFF BALL
For at least one fan of the New York football team, the phrase is a kind of
Township resident Tim Cooper is that fan. After being given a game ball at
the Giants-Packers playoff game, his son Brooks, 11, is destined to become that
kind of fan, too.
The game, played in Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., just happened to fall
on dad’s 46th birthday, Jan. 15.
“I always wanted to go out there for a game,” Cooper said a week before the
Super Bowl. When he received a birthday gift of the tickets from someone in his
family, that clinched it.
“If you are a football fan, Green Bay is like the Mecca,” Cooper said.
His wife, Leslie, has little interest in football. “It’s better now that my
son is interested, too,” he said.
Boy and man flew out to Chicago then drove to Green Bay on the Saturday
before the game. They planned a tour of the stadium on Monday, regardless of the
outcome of the game. “Win or lose, it was going to be a great experience.”
On Sunday, they dressed in full Giants regalia and headed out to the game.
“We had Giants paraphernalia and signs and stuff,” Cooper said, but they weren’t
harassed by the locals. “It’s the one place if you go to root for the opposite
team, no problem,” he said. “There’s no nicer group of people than Packers fans.
You get the give-and-take ribbing and stuff, but nothing nasty.”
Anyway, the game goes off, the Giants are ahead — honestly, it’s a rout —
and, with just a few minutes to go (“The Giants were milking the clock,” Cooper
said.), he notices something going on between Brooks and one of the Giants
When he turns to look, Brooks is holding the game ball. “The smile on his
face was priceless. I snapped a couple pictures.”
“They must have made eye contact,” Cooper said of Brooks and the equipment
guy. “Just being in the right place at the right time.”
The game ended, Giants 37 - Green Bay 20. The grin on Brooks’ face is still
The sixth-grader hasn’t brought the prize to school, he said. “It’s kind of
big,” his dad said. They’ve ordered a trophy case to put the ball on the wall in
a football holder.
Brooks might bring it to the Super Bowl party they always attend at a
friend’s house in town on Sunday.
“Go Giants,” Cooper said."
GIANTS VS. PATRIOTS SUPER BOWL A GUIDE FOR NEW FANS
"So you’re not a football aficionado. For 364 days of the year that’s nothing
to be embarrassed about, but on Super Bowl Sunday, that “uberest” of all sports
days in America, it’s definitely a problem.
How much of a problem? There are tens of millions of people around the world,
from Antarctica to Zanzibar — and including places you’ve never heard of, like
Burkina Faso, formerly the West African nation of Upper Volta, if that’s any
help — who will be watching the Super Bowl and know more about the game than
In fact, if you must know, there are Facebook pages — “I hate bandwagon
fans,” for instance — devoted to talking smack about you latecomers to America’s
But don’t be discouraged. You’re not alone. An estimated 40 percent of all
those who will be watching Sunday’s Super Bowl aren’t football fans. We know you
don’t mean to be so “backward,” and we know you’re bandwagon intentions are
good. You just want to be a part of the party. So we want to help.
Herewith, a crash course for all you NFL neophytes. Abide by these rules and
learn these terms and you will not only enjoy the game, you will avoid the wrath
of Facebook’s know-it-all trash talkers. (Trust me, you don’t want to read what
they’re saying about you right now.)
WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A SUPER BOWL PARTY
1. Never, ever wear the jersey of a team not playing in the big game.
(And don’t be tempted to buy that discount Jets jersey.)
If you know what’s
good for you — and you’re not an alien from New England — the colors on your
back better be Giants blue.
2. If you’re a woman, please no heels
You might sustain a
high ankle sprain in a rowdy crowd of fans cheering every first down.
3. No bangles andbracelets
Too noisy. And no pom-poms:
4. Dress comfortably
Because you might have to find a
seat on the carpet.
5. If you’re a man, please actually wear something other than a
It’s not a formal affair, but clean clothes are
a prerequisite, especially socks, because you may have to take off your shoes if
you’re sitting on the floor or your host is fussy.
6.And please, please, no Mel Gibson-"Braveheart"
Nothing screams “wannabe” louder than eye black.
THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER DO AT A SUPER BOWL PARTY
1. Arrive late
Do we really have to tell you this?
Remember, you will be watching the Super Bowl with people who really care about
the game, so ringing the doorbell during the Giants
’ first offensive series is a serious
faux pas. Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before the kickoff
(officially 6:30 p.m.), early enough to take in some of the pregame, meet
everyone in the room and find a place to sit. If you know you’re a habitual
latecomer, there are numerous Super Bowl countdown widgets you can download or
install on your favorite electronic device.
2. Talk during the game
Nothing is more annoying than not
being able to follow the action because someone is chattering away or asking
inane questions. If you must talk, save it for a timeout or a commercial — there
will be plenty of them.
3. Get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of a
(See No. 2) Remember, you’re not watching the game by yourself
and any unnecessary motion might block someone else’s line of sight.
4. Bring your kids
This is negotiable, of course, if the
host of the party actually has a separate venue for children, then it’s okay. If
you’re not sure if children are even invited, ask the host or hostess well ahead
QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD NEVER ASK, ESPECIALLY DURING A GAME
1. What’s a punt?
When the offense fails to advance the
ball 10 yards in three downs, they kick it to the other team.
2. What’s a down?
There are four downs, or chances, in
football, for a team, on offense, to move the ball at least 10 yards. If they
don’t the other team takes over.
3. Why is the quarterback gesturing wildly with his hands before a
play, “templing” his fingers?
It’s the signal for “no huddle,” used
in a “hurry up” offense, often when time is running out on the clock.
4. What is MHK?
Those patches on the New England
Patriots’ uniforms are the initials of Myra Kraft, the late wife of Patriots
owner Robert Kraft. When she died last summer, Patriots players dedicated the
season to her.
THINGS YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU'RE HOSTING A PARTY
If you don’t have it, your guests will riot — and
don’t even think of suing for damages. You’d lose.
2. One woman/one man TV remote
Appoint the most adult
person in the room to handle the remote. This way you can avoid accidental
switches to a “60 Minutes” or “CSI” rerun.
3. A DVR would be nice
It’s not essential, of course, but
if anyone misses an important play or one of those multimillion-dollar
commercials, you could play them back.
4. Well-planned geographic placement of food
of munchies in all corners of the room. There’s nothing worse than someone
standing up to reach for the chips in the middle of an important play and
blocking the view of everyone on the couch.
5. Be prepared for children
Even if you’ve specifically
said this is an adults-only party, if a guest’s babysitter cancels at the last
minute, you must have a backup plan, aka a playroom far away from the TV.
SOME BASIC DEFINITIONS
1. Play action:
When a quarterback fakes that he is going to
hand the ball off to a running back and instead throws a pass.
2. Tight end:
Those unnaturally large men who play outside
the tackles on the four-man offensive line. A hybrid between a receiver and a
lineman, they sometimes block for the running back or catch passes.
Another name for a wide receiver, the skinny
fast guys usually standing alone, and are farthest from the quarterback
4. Shotgun formation:
When the quarterback does not take the
ball directly from the hands of the center, but instead stands several feet
behind him when the ball is hiked. This saves time during pass plays when the QB
doesn’t have to drop back and take several steps to get in the clear before
throwing the ball.
5. Spread offense:
Multiple wide receivers and often
employed when the quarterback is in shotgun formation.
6. Go pattern:
When the receiver runs straight down the
field for a long pass. It’s the simplest pass play in football.
7. Post pattern:
When the wide receiver runs down the field
and then angles toward the center. (A “skinny” post is the same thing, only a
When five or more defensive players rush the
2. Down linemen:
Those 300-pound men who get down in a
three-point or four-point stance, that is, who place one or two hands on the
ground as they crouch in their stance before a play starts.
The defensive players who usually stand
behind the lineman. The middle linebacker is like the quarterback of the defense
and must be able to stop rushers who get beyond the line of scrimmage, defend
short passes and run at the quarterback during a blitz.
There are usually two safeties, the last line of
defense and the farthest from the line of scrimmage, often helping the
cornerbacks (the men who cover the wide receivers) on long pass plays.
5. Nose tackle:
The defensive player directly opposite the
other team’s center, who hikes the ball, and is thus practically nose to nose
One of the most common penalties. Defensive
holding includes holding the jersey of an offensive player or extending an arm
to cut off his forward progress. Offensive holding is more serious and is
incurred when an offensive player holds the jersey of an opponent, wraps his
arms around him or prevents him from getting up off the ground when the ball is
still in play.
7. Pass interference:
When a defender, usually a cornerback
or safety, but also a linebacker, impedes a receiver when he is more than five
years beyond the line of scrimmage, pulls his shirt or holds his arms or makes
contact with the receiver before the ball reaches him. These are judgment calls
and often cause the most controversy when they are called or not called,
depending on which team you’re rooting for.
AS SUPER BOWL APPROACHES, EVEN AGIANTS' NTREL ROLLE KNOWS TALK IS UNNECESSARY
Q: Who scored the first touchdown in a Super Bowl XXI for the Giants?
A: Zeke Mowatt, on a 6-yard pass from Phil
Q: How many championships, including the Pre-Super Bowl era, have the
A: A total of 7 Seven: four NFL
championships (1927, 1934, 1938, 1956), three Super Bowl championships (1986-87,
Q: Before the Giants were incorporated as the New York Football
Giants Inc., what was the full team name?
York National League Football Company Inc.
Q: Who was the last member of the Giants to win the regular-season
A: Lawrence Taylor
Q: Quarterback Y.A. Tittle’s number is retired by the Giants. What
was his number
A: No. 14
Q: What year was the famous “Sneakers Game” played at the Polo
A: Dec. 9, 1934 (NFL Championship game
played in single-digit temperatures and the field was so icy the Giants switched
to sneakers instead of cleats. They beat the Chicago Bears, 30-13)
Q: Who was the defensive coordinator for the Giants on the 1986 Super
A: Bill Belichick
Q: What is the closest game in Super Bowl
A: In 1991 the Giants beat the Buffalo
Bills in Super Bowl XXV, 20-19. The Bills’ kicker, Scott Norwood, missed a
47-yard field-goal attempt with eight seconds left. This 1991 Super Bowl was the
first one Super Bowl in which no turnovers were committed by either team.
*Questions and answers courtesy of the official New York Giants team
"The guy who stepped off the team charter in a neon fuchsia tie seemed like a
good place to start.
This was the Giants
’ first media
session in the weeklong hype extravaganza, and to get a barometer for just how
much noise would be generated by the NFC champs, we went straight to the team’s
As in, Free Speaker.
So how about it, Antrel Rolle? Care to label Tom Brady an average
quarterback? Or question Bill Belichick’s defensive schemes? Or go with the old
standby and just guarantee a victory to give us all something to blather about
for the next six interminable days?
“That’s not going to happen,” the Giants’ biggest mouth said in a tone drier
than the Indianapolis nightlife.
There you have it. If it’s not going to happen with Rolle, it’s probably not
going to happen at all. Maybe one of the Giants will surprise us this week and
create a headline — Hynoski: Pats can’t contain me! — but more likely than not,
it’ll be a quiet week in this quiet city.
Which, for this team, is a good thing. The Giants may have fed off their
us-against-the-world swagger from four years ago, marching into Arizona in their
black suits for the “funeral” of the perfect New England Patriots season, but
these Giants don’t need to orchestrate a show to prove their confidence this
They don’t need to have one comment blown out of proportion — look at what
happened with Brady’s innocuous quote about a victory party he made at a pep
rally. They don’t need the potential distraction from a silly guarantee or
anything that could be perceived as a jab at the Patriots.
Even Rolle, who usually has no brain-to-mouth filter, understands that. So
for 26 minutes Monday, he was polite and engaging but totally non-controversial.
Be prepared to hear a lot of quotes like this:
“This is a business trip,” Rolle said. “We’re not here for fun. We’re not
here to do anything but take care of the Patriots on Sunday night.”
Is it a team-wide moratorium on juicy sound bytes? Or just an individual
choice to tone it down?
“It’s not about toning things down,” Rolle said. “It’s about knowing where
you are and what’s at stake. There’s nothing that needs to be said and there’s
nothing that’s going to be said.”
Rolle, in many ways, is the one who sets the tone for this Giants team, a
slimmer Michael Strahan without the gapped-tooth smile. He’s gotten himself in
trouble before, including his ill-advised quip that the Giants would beat the
Washington Redskins “99 times out of 100” (they went 0-2 against them) and his
gripes about Tom Coughlin’s rigid rules (they’ve since become BFFs).
It hasn’t always been pretty. But every team needs somebody who leads with
his tongue, and Rolle is that guy for this team. He credits his parents — his
father, Al, is a police chief and his mother, Armelia, is a guidance counselor —
for raising him to speak with conviction and, damn the consequences, be
“He is not a mouthy kind of person,” Armelia Rolle said over the phone from
Miami on Monday. “That’s the New York version of Antrel.”
Mom was on her way to have a tooth pulled and made it very clear that she had
no patience for her son’s reputation. Still, she knows her son has found trouble
for some of his comments, and she doesn’t care.
“When you ask him a question, he only has two options,” she said. “Do you
want him to ignore you or answer you? And do you want him to tell you the truth
or lie to you? He doesn’t talk just to be talking.”
And, for the most
part, his most pointed comments have been well timed. He ripped the defense’s
lazy play and stupid mistakes after an embarrassing loss to the Saints in
November, then pleaded with his teammates to fight through injuries after a home
loss to the Redskins three weeks later.
“Everything I say,” Rolle said, “is for the betterment of this team.”
Now that the Giants are on a five-game winning streak that includes beating
the Packers and the 49ers on the road in the postseason, Rolle doesn’t have to
push any buttons.
No mock funerals. No big guarantees. The crush of cameras and microphones
will be looking for him this week, looking for anything to fill the hours until
kickoff. Rolle, the team’s designated Free Speaker, knows the Giants don’t need
to puff out their chests this time around.
The loudest thing about this team
Monday was that fuchsia tie around his neck. And that’s a good thing."GIANTS' ARRIVAL FOR SUPER BOWL IS LOW KEY AS THEY PREPARE FOR PATRIOTS
"The last time they strolled onto this stage, they did so in black suits,
stomping as loudly as they could, rattling the cages and announcing their
had arrived at the Super
Bowl. And while the rest of the world was counting them out six days before
kickoff, they were ready to carry out the casket of the New England Patriots’
“Honestly, that (suit) thing was us coming together as a football team. We
wanted to kill a dynasty and that’s what they were,” defensive end Justin Tuck,
wearing a tan suit with a purple-and-green striped tie, said Monday shortly
after the Giants arrived at Super Bowl XLVI.
“But now, we’ve been here before and we feel as though all that is secondary.
We just wanted to come in here, have our mind focused on playing a great
football game and not get caught up in all the hoopla around the game.”
This was a more subdued, business-like team than the one that landed in
Glendale, Ariz., dressed for a funeral at the urging of undertaker Antonio
With Pierce retired and the Giants having taken on the personality of their
not-so-pompous leaders — Tuck and Eli Manning — there were no brash statements
Monday, either verbal or symbolic. They’re only 3-point underdogs right now, as
opposed to the 12-point abyss between them and the Pats four years ago. And
while they’ve been quick to play the disrespect card even when it would seem to
be well tucked into the deck, this time they chose a more measured approach.
Beginning with their departure in front of about a hundred fans, as opposed
pep rally the Pats threw
in Foxborough, Mass.
“I like the way it was,” right guard Chris Snee said. “So I can just get on
the bus and leave.”
It was then posed to Snee pep rallies can be fun.
“I’d rather have a pep rally a week from (today) back at MetLife Stadium,” he
Make no mistake, this Giants team has done its share of chirping this season.
And by the end of the week, perhaps Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz or Antrel
Rolle will slip up and make a comment that can be stretched into trash talk.
But for one day, they behaved themselves. And frankly, they didn’t need Tom
Coughlin to tighten the reins.
The players themselves — in the form of Coughlin’s “leadership council” —
recommended stricter curfews than they had in Super Bowl XLII (1 a.m. Tuesday
and Wednesday and had no curfew the day they arrived). This year, they’re to be
in bed at midnight — 11:55 p.m. Coughlin time — every day until Saturday when
it’s 11 p.m.This isn’t to argue for either approach. It’s just that there’s a greater
sense of this being a business trip this time around.
“A lot of times you say it doesn’t hit you until you get here. I think it hit
us early,” Tuck said. “You could just see the focus on the last couple of
practices we had before we left. … We understood where we were going.”
Well, maybe the veterans. For the first-timers, it’s hitting them now.
“I sent a couple of texts out (to his fiancée) and said, ‘It’s just now
setting in,’ when we were taking off and landing,” said linebacker Mathias
Kiwanuka, who was on injured reserve with a broken leg four years ago. “It’s
just because there are so many things that can go wrong during the course of a
year and you don’t know if you’ll actually make it to this point. But actually
sitting on the plane, that’s when it kind of started to set in.”
Even Coughlin had a moment when he saw all of the cameras aboard.
“You kind of have to catch yourself,” he said, “realizing you have a lot of
work to do throughout the course of the week.”
That’s the message from the veterans, 16 of them from the Giants’ last Super
Bowl and another four who made it to the big game with other teams but lost.
“The guys around this team who have been here, it’s really calmed (me) down,
just to keep me sane,” Cruz said. “Just being around here and seeing all of this
stuff is amazing. Never in a million years would I thought I’d play in a Super
Cruz has been a bit overwhelmed by even the smallest of details. Like whether
they had to wear suits when not in practice, as they do for a regular road trip.
Cruz is the eager, wide-eyed first-timer. Four years ago, the Giants had a
roster full of guys like that. Now, they’ve got lots of experienced players
taking a much more even-keeled approach after being on this stage before.
“This is my eighth year and I’ve been fortunate to get to two of these,” Snee
said. “Hopefully this is not it, but definitely not being in the playoffs (the
past two years) has made everyone gain a greater appreciation for getting there
again and how tough it is.”ROAD TO THE SUPER BOWL" HENRY HYNOSKI'S PARENTS HELPED LEAD HIM FROM COAL COUNTRY TO THE GIANTS
"From the day he started playing, the only thing the local legend was certain
about was that the game will break your heart.
That’s hard to deal with anywhere, but perhaps more so in a place like this,
Henry Hynoski Sr. concedes. The Coal Region leads the world in both anthracite
and broken football dreams, and too often those two things seem destined for a
fateful collision, right around the age of 21, when the boy becomes a man and
the man runs out of choices.
At one time, he only had second-hand knowledge of this. His own dad — the
first Henry, and the grandfather of Giants
fullback Henry Hynoski Jr. — was a
poignant example: A star linebacker during the Depression, he was offered a
scholarship to play at Fordham during the Lombardi years. But his mother, a
widow just off the boat from Poland, incapable of grasping what it all meant,
had other plans: Her son was going to work to help support the family, and the
only place to do that was in the mines.
That was not merely the proverbial road not traveled. It was a life ambition
deferred. Later, Henry Sr. would gain firsthand knowledge of this. He was a
phenom himself. They still talk about how he knocked out nine guys in seven
games — the White Jack Tatum, they called him — when he was a senior linebacker
at Mount Carmel High, about two counties away in the central Appalachians. That
was followed by a stellar career as the fullback at Temple, where he rushed for
more than 1,000 yards as a senior, and then a year of apprenticeship with the
But during a training camp scrimmage in the summer of ’76, on his way to
winning the starting fullback spot alongside Greg Pruitt, it ended on one play.
A sweep to the right resulted in a gang tackle, an awkward landing and a
shoulder joint that popped out. It could only be repaired with a surgical
procedure that no one would attempt in good conscience.
Another football dream shattered. Once again, permanently.
“I was devastated by it,” Henry Sr. said, telling his story from his living
room chair the other day. “A pro career … was my dream come true. I wouldn’t
have been a household name, but I could have been there for four or five
View full sizeA football listing Henry Hysnoski Jr.'s
high school records sits on the mantel in his parents' house.
“So it took me about two years to get it out of my system and forget about
it, and move on.”
When his son came along, Henry Sr. was going to make sure it would be
different for him. And there can be no dispute about this: Henry Hynoski Jr. is
the Giants’ fullback today not only because he grew to be a remarkably nimble,
265-pound earth mover, but also because of the lessons passed along from his
This is an NFL career spawned by a father’s patience and a mother’s
ingenuity. They agreed on how they would go about it a long time ago: Nothing
would befall Henry Jr. like it had with his dad and grandfather. Nothing would
harm him, nothing would be left to chance, and nothing would prevent this from
being a special kid with a lot of options.
The first step, paradoxically, would be talking him out of football.
For as long as they could justify it, anyway.
“I wanted him to try different sports — he tried soccer for a while, he was a
real good baseball player, basketball and track,” Henry Sr. said. “I said, ‘You
can play whatever you want, but only pick two — the rest of the time is for
studies.’ Back in my time you could do three, but now two is plenty.
“But his buddies would talk about nothing but football at lunchtime, and he’d
listen to the stories. And he kept working on me. So finally in the (sixth)
grade we succumbed to it and let him play.”
You can guess the rest.
Academically, Henry Jr. had a 3.9 GPA at Pitt and graduated with a business
marketing degree in 3½ years. His mom, a professional herself (Kathy Hynoski is
an anesthetist), talks about law school being in his future.
Athletically, he is arguably the greatest running back in Pennsylvania high
school history — he rolled up 7,165 yards and 113 touchdowns in his four years
at Southern Columbia Area High. And that was despite being a second-half
bystander throughout his senior season, because there’s nothing so immodest as a
42-0 halftime score.
Anyone dare think Henry and Kathy Hynoski were wrong in making their son wait
“I’m not big on kids playing midget football — they look like bobbleheads,
the helmets don’t fit right, and I just get concerned about it,” Henry Sr.
explained. “Football is one of those sports where you don’t have to hone your
skills at an early age. If you’re tough and physical, you can forgo the early
training and be good at it in high school.”
But what then? What if the game consumes a kid to such an extent that he has
Iowa, Rutgers, Pitt, and a few dozen others pursuing him?
He listens to his father, who helps him recognize the most pragmatic
“Dave Wannstedt sat right on that couch,” Henry Sr. said of the former Pitt
coach, nodding across the room, “and he said he wanted Henry as a blocking back.
He was clear that that was his primary objective.”
And the father helped the coach explain to Henry Jr. — the same kid with
2,407 yards and 42 touchdowns his senior year — that his days as a feature ball
carrier were over. That this would be his best ticket to the NFL.
Four years later, the scouting combine was a washout — he pulled a hamstring
that week in Indianapolis. The draft was even worse, because he wasn’t one of
the 29 running backs (four fullbacks) whose names were called over those three
“It took a good week before he got over that,” his dad said. “But
it worked out for the better — thanks to my wife.”
They convinced their son that being passed over meant that he had options.
Now it was up to Kathy to make sure he took the best one: She prepared a huge
dossier for every team that needed a fullback, and arranged them around the
dining room table. Personnel, systems, tendencies, even the mug shots of
coaches, just so he could see whom he was talking to. When the lockout ended,
her son was armed with every speck of information he’d need to make a decision.
“So he read them, and marked down questions for each team,” Kathy said.
“Everything was in front of him when the coaches called. He knew what questions
to ask, he knew what every team had, and what they needed to bring in.”
She prepared for 15 portfolios, and 15 teams called when the lockout ended in
July. At one point, there were four teams on the phone simultaneously. Perhaps
appropriately, mom was the one who fielded the call they all wanted most — the
one from Tom Coughlin.
“My son was on the phone with (San Diego), and I said, ‘Henry, you need to
take this call, because it’s Coach Coughlin,’?” Kathy recalled. “And then I
said, ‘Hold on, Coach — you’re priority.’?”
So that’s how an NFL career started.
With two generations of hard lessons, the resilience developed from two
setbacks in the last 11 months, and the support of two amazing parents.
And now, they’re all going to Indianapolis. The entire town is preparing to
see them off: On this day, the phone rings constantly, and people come and go
with updates on plans for videos and a big photo op (the townspeople assembled
Sunday, all wearing their Giants jerseys). In the billboard down the Route 487,
there’s a “Go Henry 45” placard resting above an ad for an amusement park; a
mile away, the marquee at the Farnsworth Camping Center reads, “Good Luck,
“And there’s even a place in town that has named a hamburger after him,” said
Henry Sr., who has worked for Weis Supermarkets for 30 years, “It’s 6 inches
And no, all this just isn’t because Henry Hynoski Jr. is a popular kid. It is
because his folks are everyone’s favorite neighbors, two people with a rare
faculty for making strangers feel like friends and a rare gift for
“Where I come from,” Henry Jr. likes to say, “my father is a legend.”
And wherever the son goes now, he is known as a Giant.
Not quite as big a man as his dad yet, perhaps. But he’ll get there. His
folks will see to that, too." PATRIOTS' ROB GRONKOWSKI MISSES PRACTICE, BUT GIANTS THINK HE WILL PLAY
Excerpt "Twenty-four hours after the New England Patriots landed here with one of their
premier players in a walking boot, the Giants
arrived today with the assumption
that their counterparts would be at full strength.
Tight end Rob
Gronkowski made his way off the Patriots’ team plane
Sunday afternoon in a
walking boot, a week after he suffered an ankle injury in New England’s 23-20
win over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship Game.
Gronkowski, who has 20 touchdowns this season including the playoffs, didn’t
practice today after coach Bill Belichick said he was “day-to-day” Sunday. But
the cat may be out of the bag: On Friday, Gronkowski’s father, Gordy, went on a
Buffalo radio station and said his son has a high ankle sprain.
Such an injury will certainly not be healed by game time, but the Giants are
preparing as though Gronkowski, one-half of the NFL’s most productive tight end
duo alongside Aaron Hernandez, will be in uniform come Sunday.
“This is the biggest game of the year,” said defensive back Antrel Rolle, who
will likely spend plenty of time covering the 6-6, 265-pound Gronkowski if he
plays. “They wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for him, without a doubt.
He’s going to do whatever he has to do to make sure he’s ready for this game. We
Giants’ 24-20 win against the Patriots
in Week 9, Gronkowski was a
consistent target for Tom Brady, catching eight balls for 101 yards and a
touchdown in addition to another half-dozen throws his way. Yet, with or without
Gronkowski, the Giants will still have to contend with Hernandez, a talented
pass-catcher in his own right, in what has become a long stretch of elite tight
ends lining up against them.
In the playoffs alone, the Giants have faced Tony Gonzalez, Jermichael Finley
and Vernon Davis. Before Davis scored two touchdowns against them last week, the
Giants had not allowed a tight end to score in six games." Read more...
GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN DEFLECTS QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS LEGACY AND HALL OF FAME HOPES
"One month ago, Tom Coughlin wasn't supposed to be here.
Wasn't supposed to be at the Super Bowl. Wasn't supposed to be trying to win
his second title in four years. Wasn't supposed to be standing in the ballroom
on the second floor of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown addressing the media
and speaking about his potential place in history.
One month ago, Tom Coughlin was supposed to be just another NFL head coach
looking for his next landing spot.
"It's every year," Giants
guard Chris Snee said this afternoon. "Every year, he's supposed to be out. The
thing is he really doesn't pay much attention to that. He always keeps his eyes
more focused on what's more important, what our goal is with this team. And
that's to get here and win the Super Bowl."
For seemingly the umpteenth time in his 16-year NFL head coaching career,
Coughlin was supposed to be working his way towards the exit. When the Giants
headed home after beating the rival Dallas Cowboys to end a four-game slide,
Coughlin looked like he had cooled his hot seat. But then came a mystifying loss
to the last-place Washington Redskins and the drum began to beat again.
Coughlin silenced his critics — again — the only way he knows how to:
Now, in the Giants' first media availability after arriving in town for Super
Bowl XLVI against the New England Patriots on Sunday, Coughlin had to field
questions about his legacy. And if he potentially is a Hall-of-Famer.
He deflected those just as quickly as he did the ones a month ago about his
"It's not about me," Coughlin said, when asked what a second championship
would do to his legacy. "That's the furthest thing from my mind, is how this
enhances my legacy or whatever term you used. That's no where near anything that
I am thinking about right now. What I'm concerned with is the concentration of
our players — putting ourselves in the best frame of mind that we can possibly
"Preparing our team to the best of our ability and then playing exceptionally
well, as best we possibly can."
Coughlin's straight-ahead, focused demeanor has certainly rubbed off on his
"He never wavers," said Snee, who is married to Coughlin's daughter, Kate.
"He constantly keeps his eyes focused on that. We follow his lead."
GIANTS' AHMAD BRADSHAW PRAISED BY PATRIOTS' VINCE WILFORK
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." Read more...PATRIOTS BEGIN SUPER BOWL XLVI PREPARATION IN INDIANAPOLIS WITH FULL-PADS PRACTICE
"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