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    NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.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

    JETS' OWNER WOODY JOHNSON CONGRATULATES NY GIANTS

    "Shortly after the Giants beat the
    New England Patriots, 21-17, tonight in Super Bowl XLVI, Jets owner Woody Johnson released a statement
    congratulating their crosstown rivals:




    “On behalf of the New York
    Jets, I would like to congratulate the Mara and Tisch families, Coach Coughlin
    and the entire New York Giants organization. It was a closely contested game
    that showcased all of the best elements that our sport has to offer. The Giants
    demonstrated poise and resolve in earning a hard-fought victory in Super Bowl
    XLVI. Also, I want to congratulate the Kraft family, Coach Belichick and the New
    England Patriots on a tremendous effort and an excellent season.”

    GIANTS WIN SUPER BOWL XLVI OVER PATRIOTS: GIANTS' CELEBRATION VIA TWITTER

    RExcerpt: "As the Giants celebrate their 21-17
    victory over the New England Patriots
    in Super Bowl XLVI tonight,
    Star-Ledger's staff reporters are tweeting what they see and hear among the
    jubilation:" Read more...

    ELI MANNING, GIANTS, BEAT TOM BRADY, PATRIOTS IN SUPER BOWL AGAIN 21-17

    "The final prayer from Tom Brady's right arm sailed through the still air at
    Lucas Oil Stadium and drained the final seconds from the clock.


    On the sideline to their left, a sea of white shirts began to stir as it
    became clear the ball would not land in any of the New England Patriots' hands
    tonight. They waited for the bellowing audience to confirm what they'd hoped
    before spilling out onto the field.




    Capping a thrilling 21-17 victory as the confetti poured from all sides,
    engulfing them in purple and silver dust, the Giants became Super Bowl champions for the
    second time in four years.




    The win in Super Bowl XLVI gives the Giants their fourth Lombardi Trophy in
    franchise history in what was perhaps the most unexpected run of them all. Once
    struggling at 7-7, a remarkable win streak to close out the season gave them a
    playoff berth and a momentum they would never relinquish.




    Through a near-perfect offense in Green Bay and a daunting defense in San
    Francisco, the Giants traversed a playoff road that led them back to the Super
    Bowl to face the Patriots, whom they beat in similar, stunning fashion four
    years ago.




    This time, it was led by stellar performances from quarterback Eli Manning
    and wideout Hakeem Nicks. Manning finished 30-for-40 for 296 yards and one
    touchdown, while Nicks abused the Patriots' secondary, hauling in 10 catches for
    109 yards.




    Manning was named the Super Bowl MVP — the same award he won five years ago.

    The Giants' 'defense held quarterback Tom Brady to 276 yards and two
    touchdowns, with one interception.


    The momentum shifted in the Giants favor for good thanks to a stunning catch
    by Mario Manningham that took the Giants 38 yards, from their own 12 to midfield
    with 3:46 remaining. Still trailing by two, 17-15, it set up a 14-yard post play
    to Hakeem Nicks that put the Giants into comfortable field goal range and
    eventually a 6-yard touchdown run from Ahmad Bradshaw that gave them a
    four-point lead.




    Brady and the Patriots had just 57 seconds to try and burn back down the
    field and score, but the mechanical offense faltered as a white-knuckle Giants
    defense clamped down for one final time.




    They did not make it past midfield.




    The game began with less than ideal circumstances for the Patriots, who found
    themselves trailing by two point after their first offensive play. With strong
    pressure from Justin Tuck, Brady tried to avoid a sack in the end zone by
    hurling the ball downfield.




    But with no receivers around, he was flagged for intentional grounding in the
    end zone, a penalty that warrants a safety anyway.




    From there, the Giants' offense flexed the same efficiency it has throughout
    the playoffs, complemented by a punchy run game that gave the Patriots' front
    seven fits throughout the half.



    Capping a nine-play, 78-yard drive in 5:28, Manning zipped one into wideout
    Victor Cruz, who snuck underneath some poor zone coverage by New England
    linebacker Jerod Mayo.




    Cruz's trademark salsa was in full swing, and it appeared the Giants were
    prepared to run away with their second Super Bowl win since 2007-08 with an
    early 9-0 lead.




    Brady, though, would not allow the Patriots to be down for long,
    orchestrating a seamless 14-play, 96 yard drive to end the half. He began to
    pick on the Giants linebackers that struggled heavily with Aaron Hernandez and
    Wes Welker over the middle throughout the night.




    He would repeat the same, carving drive to open the second half on just eight
    plays. Seventy-nine yards later, the Patriots had the Giants pinned on their
    heels for the first time all night.




    They would answer with two straight field goals to pull within two, 17-15."



    SUPER BOWL XLVI FAN REPORT CARD: YOU GRADE 'EM



    Excerpt: "Giants fans, here's your chance to grade Big Blue in Super Bowl XLVI against
    the New England Patriots. Assign your grades in the polls below, and then drop
    down and leave a comment explaining your thinking." Read more...VOTE

    GIANTS' SUPER BOWL VICTORY PARADE: WHERE AND WHEN

    "New York City will host a ticker-tape parade Tuesday at 11 a.m. in honor of
    the Giants' victory over the New England
    Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, the
    mayor's office announced.



    The Giants won their second Super
    Bowl in five years over the Patriots, beating them tonight in Indianapolis,
    21-17.




    “Big Blue gave us a game to remember, and on Tuesday we're going to give them
    a parade to remember,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement tonight.




    The parade will begin at Battery Place and Washington Street at 11 and
    continue northbound up the Canyon of Heroes to Wall Street.



    The mayor will then present the Giants with the keys to the city at City
    Hall.




    New York will give two tickets to 250 winners to the City Hall ceremony. You
    can visit www.nyc.gov or call
    311 or send a text message to 311-862 to enter from 9-11 a.m. Monday. You can
    also enter through the mayor's Twitter page: @NYCMayorsOffice.




    Tri-state area residents 18 years or older are eligible. You can enter only
    once. Winners will be notified at 2 p.m. and must pick up their tickets at a
    location in in midtown Manhattan by 8 p.m. Monday.




    For Tuesday's parade, the sidewalks lining the Canyon of Heroes along
    Broadway from the Battery to City Hall are open to the public.




    Complete information can
    be found here.
    "

    ##

    GIANTS' TOM COUGHLIN USED KURT WARNER'S ADVICE TO HELP CONNECT WITH PLAYERS, BECOME A CHAMPION

    "In 2004, when his players revolted during his first season with the Giants, coach Tom Coughlin had only one
    real friend in the locker room — veteran quarterback Kurt Warner, a former
    superstar who paused in New Jersey before starting the second chapter of a
    storied career.


    Several times a week, unbeknownst to his teammates, Warner would sneak into
    Coughlin’s office to hang out with the man most Giants believed was too rigid,
    too angry and too hell-bent on making football miserable for them with childish
    rules and ridiculous fines.




    Warner — risking being labeled a locker room mole, or worse — would talk to
    Coughlin, sometimes about football, but often not. In those off hours, when
    other players had gone home, Warner sat on the coach’s couch and watched the
    most despised man in East Rutherford dote on his wife and grown children, and
    melt whenever his grandkids visited.




    In those secret moments, Warner recalled this past week, “I saw a great man,
    a great coach, but I also saw a man who, for some reason, didn’t know how to
    combine those parts of his personality when it came to football. He could
    connect with his family on such an intimate level, but had no idea how to
    connect with his players. He was struggling badly.




    “Tom was searching for the right way to lead without compromising his
    principles. I wanted to help. I thought I could help. I tried to help.”




    Today, as the Giants meet the Patriots in Super Bowl XVLI, Coughlin is on the
    verge of football immortality — winning a second Super Bowl would make him a
    no-doubt Hall of Famer. With a locker room filled with players who now speak
    openly about the positive impact he has had on their lives, it has been a
    remarkable journey. The Warner letter was one of the first steps.




    Warner spent that one season with the Giants, a former Most Valuable Player
    rented for one year to buy time for first-round draft pick Eli Manning, the
    future of the franchise. Manning claimed his inheritance midway through the 2004
    season, and when the season ended, Warner was off to find his next team.




    A FATEFUL FAVOR




    But before Warner left, Coughlin asked him for a favor: “Go home and make a
    list of all the things you think I need to do better as a coach,” Warner
    recalled Coughlin saying, “and don’t hold back.”




    Warner did as he was asked, scribbling “page after page after page,” he said.
    “There were times when I was worried that I would hurt his feelings or damage
    our friendship,” Warner said. “But deep down I knew he’d never hold it against
    me as long as I did it with his best interests at heart.”

    On Friday, Coughlin acknowledged he had reached out to Warner for help.


    “I have such great respect for Kurt because of how he earned everything he
    got and because of the professionalism he showed as we transitioned to Eli,”
    Coughlin said. “I welcomed any thoughts he had on how we might improve.”




    Although Warner wouldn’t reveal the specific items, he said most of his
    criticisms exhorted Coughlin to “swallow his pride and find a way to connect
    with his players — each player, from the biggest star to the guys on the
    practice squad.”




    On Thursday, when the two ran into each other after the Giants’ media
    availability, Warner reminded Coughlin of the list, compiled eight years ago. He
    wasn’t sure the coach would remember it. Coughlin’s response shocked him:
    “Kurt,” he said, “I still have that list, and I still refer to it.”




    Warner smiled when replaying that conversation, touched by the impact the
    list had on Coughlin.




    “In the list, I told him that rather than just make rules and enforce them,
    he had to show the players why a certain rule is important to him,” Warner said.
    “Look, if you tell me that I have to be at a meeting five minutes early, Kurt
    Warner is going to be there, because that’s the way I was as a player. I did it
    for my pride. I didn’t ask any questions.




    “But some players aren’t like that. They want to know why. So, Tom had to
    tell them why: ‘Because if you come to meetings early, it means you’re fully
    committed to this team. It means you want to be better. It means you want to be
    great. It means you’re willing to get here early for your teammates.’?”




    Warner added: “If he had just told them that from the start, there wouldn’t
    have been a problem with 99 percent of the players in that locker room. Some
    would have still thought the rules were silly, but they would have said, ‘Okay,
    he wants us five minutes early because it’s important to him. No big deal.’?”




    Coughlin’s turnaround has been well chronicled, but this is the first public
    disclosure of the coach’s first plea to a player for help. In that offseason,
    Coughlin’s wife and grown children counseled him to retire and escape the
    pettiness. Coughlin, however, decided to stay. He vowed to soften a bit and be
    more patient — not an easy task for a coach who had been successful for decades,
    doing it his way.




    An 11-5 record in 2005 kept the critics at bay, but an 8-8 backslide the
    following season had media detractors and unhappy players chirping again, and
    Coughlin’s job was in jeopardy. The Giants extended his contract for a year, but
    it came with stipulations. Some were obvious: Win now. Some were subtle: Reflect
    better on the organization and make peace with players and the media.




    Coughlin vowed, but admitted it wouldn’t be easy: “When something isn’t
    right, I can’t disguise my demeanor,” he told The Star-Ledger in 2005. “That’s a
    fault of mine. I’m upset, and the players know I’m upset, but I don’t want them
    to forget the mistake. Kids coming up haven’t had the back of their hands
    slapped, but when you do it …”




    Judy Coughlin recalled taking her husband by the hand, looking into his eyes
    and saying, “Tom, the media doesn’t just dislike you, they hate you. They hate
    you. So I’m telling you right now, do something to help yourself.”




    He started calling beat reporters by name. He padded answers to their
    questions. He vowed to soften a bit and be more patient with players — not an
    easy task for a coach who had been successful for decades, doing it his way.

    But Coughlin had an inkling of what to do, thanks to Warner’s cheat sheet,
    which, Warner said, included the idea of a players committee — a panel of
    established players who wouldn’t be afraid to speak up to Coughlin, like Warner
    had.


    The next season, with locker room leaders like defensive end Michael Strahan
    buying into Coughlin’s kinder coaching methods, the Giants shocked the NFL by
    beating the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.




    “When Tom Coughlin got here, I wanted to play for anybody else,” Strahan said
    at the time. “And now I don’t want to play for anybody but him.”




    TRUE BELIEVERS




    Today, four years later, Coughlin has a roster full of ardent disciples in
    another championship game. If you believe him, all it took was a little more
    forbearance.




    “Have I changed?” Coughlin said this past week. “Probably, but it’s important
    as part of the process of learning. You learn, develop and change every year.
    I’ve become more patient.”

    Manning, the quarterback whose legacy is linked to the coach, respects the
    fighter in Coughlin, who, amid rumors of imminent firings, twice has led his
    team to title games.


    “He still is very disciplined,” Manning said. “Everything is still five
    minutes early. But he has shown more of his passion for football and the guys
    respect that and play hard for him.”




    Adds defensive tackle Chris Canty: “Coach has a good feel for our football
    team. He has the pulse of our locker room.”




    A finger on the pulse? Who would’ve guessed that eight years ago, Warner
    asked.




    “Tom probably would have figured it out by himself,” he said. “If I helped,
    I’m glad. He’s a great coach. He just needed to show his players that he cared
    about them and that there’s a method to his madness.”




    Warner paused and smirked.




    “Let me ask you this: Do you think they question him for a second now?”

    SUPER BOWL GAMEDAY: GIANTS POSITION BY POSITION

    "QUARTERBACK


    The Breakdown
    It’s amazing how easily we can blow three
    letters and five letters out of proportion. During a radio interview this past
    summer, Eli
    Manning said he felt
    he was in the same “elite” class as New England
    Patriots QB Tom Brady. For the past six months, we’ve been bombarded with “ELI
    ELITE” story lines. Fact is, there really isn’t the need for an answer today.
    Peyton Manning’s little bro has been outstanding this season, making a rather
    ordinary group of wide receivers into some of the best in the league. Eli has
    been precise (61 percent completion percentage), and most of all, clutch.
    Manning has led the Giants to six fourth-quarter comebacks this season,
    including in Week 9 win against the Patriots. Throwing 29 touchdowns and only 16
    interceptions (nine fewer than last year) has made Manning one of the elite
    quarterbacks in the game.




    The Number
    8.4
    Want to know
    how Manning has turned into one of the best passers in the game? Look no further
    than his 8.4 yards per attempt this season. The only quarterbacks with more than
    300 attempts who were better? The Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers (9.2 ypa) and
    Brady (8.6).




    RUNNING BACKS




    The Breakdown
    Everyone likes to think this latest duo of
    Giants running backs is the new
    combination of “Thunder and Lightning.” Only it’s not. The No. 2 back, Brandon
    Jacobs (152 attempts, 571 yards, seven TDs), still provides the thunder portion,
    but starter Ahmad Bradshaw ain’t no lightning. Compared to Jacobs, Bradshaw is
    small, but anything but shifty. Bradshaw — a stealthy dual threat — has had 205
    touches for 926 total yards and 11 touchdowns. He is a power runner as well, but
    because he’s not the size of Jacobs, everyone tends to play Bradshaw like a
    quick, cut-back runner. Even with a foot injury that was discovered back in
    November, Bradshaw has played through it by limiting his practice time during
    the week. That has allowed him to actually remain fresher during this playoff
    run.




    The Number
    382
    Chances are
    if the Giants running backs are ripping off big runs or scoring touchdowns,
    they’re doing it from the right side. In the 108 combined runs to the wide right
    side this season, Bradshaw and Jacobs have combined for 382 yards and six
    touchdowns.




    WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS




    The Breakdown
    When the season began, most people thought
    this would be one the most rag-tag groups in the NFL. Only third-year receiver
    Hakeem Nicks posed any real threat as a game-breaking wideout. And while a
    76-catch, 1,192-yard, seven-touchdown season only served to solidify that, it
    wasn’t the best season of the group. That came from Paterson native Victor Cruz,
    who salsaed his way to a breakout season, setting a franchise record for
    receiving yards, with 1,536. Cruz was a dynamic playmaker, with numerous
    highlight-reel catches (the wild one-hander against the Seahawks) and
    at-the-right-moment plays (the 99-yard TD against the Jets). Tight end Jake Ballard has been
    hampered by a right knee issue, but has developed into a serviceable target in
    the red zone for Manning.




    The Number
    $405,000
    That’s
    how much Cruz is earning this season. Only two players — Detroit’s Calvin
    Johnson and New England’s Wes Welker — had more receiving yards in the NFL.
    Think about that bargain.




    OFFENSIVE LINE




    The Breakdown
    In the offseason, the Giants parted ways
    with offensive line staples Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert. Everyone seemed to
    think that would be a disaster for Manning’s security. Instead, Manning was one
    of the best-protected quarterbacks in the NFL. The Giants’ 28 sacks allowed was
    the seventh-fewest in the league this year and Manning was only hit 72 times.
    David Diehl has been solid at the left tackle spot and veteran Kareem McKenzie
    the same on the other side. On the inside, guards Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe
    have opened big holes for the running backs and center David Baas has provided a
    seamless transition for Manning from O’Hara. The results have been hard to argue
    with, as the Giants have kept Manning upright and allowed him the time to hit
    his receivers downfield.




    The Number
    6
    Pressure on
    Manning have been almost non-existent this season, especially on first down. He
    has attempted 254 passes on first down this season and has only been sacked six
    times.

    DEFENSIVE LINE


    The Breakdown
    Want to sum up how the Giants have been
    able to make this run at the back end of the season and throughout the playoffs?
    Pressure. Once again, the M.O. that won Big Blue its last title four years ago
    has worked again. The pass rush up front by Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi
    Umenyiora, Dave Tollefson and Chris Canty has been tremendous. So far, six of
    the eight sacks this postseason have come from the combination of those five
    players. No longer is Pierre-Paul being treated as a breakout star — he’s
    getting double- and triple-teamed. That’s the respect that the best players in
    the league get. Quite heady praise for a guy who didn’t play football until
    midway through high school.




    The Number
    39½
    During the
    regular season, the Giants tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the third-most
    sacks in the NFL with 48. Of those, 39½ came from the five players who make up
    the Giants’ front line. That’s incredible production from one group.




    LINEBACKERS




    The Breakdown
    How many pass-rushers do the Giants have?
    Enough to the point where head coach Tom Coughlin gets the luxury of sticking
    one in his linebackers as a stand-up edge-rusher. Mathias Kiwanuka had 3½ sacks
    in the regular season and a half-sack so far in the playoffs. But this unit is
    more than one player. Michael Boley has been a steadying force in the middle.
    Don’t believe us? The two games he missed after being injured in Week 10 against
    San Francisco were arguably two of the worst defensive showings for the Giants,
    who were thumped by the Saints and Mike Vick-less Eagles. Add Chase Blackburn
    into the mix on the outside — who the Giants picked out of a substitute teaching
    job on Dec. 4 —and the Giants turned a once black eye into a strength.




    The Number
    108.2
    Despite the
    linebacking group becoming a better one than the unit that started the season,
    stopping the run has been an issue. In the past eight games, the Giants have
    allowed 108.2 yards a game. Only three times have they held an opponent to under
    100 yards over that time.

    DEFENSIVE BACKS


    The Breakdown
    Seriously, if we told you at the beginning
    of the season that the Giants would lose five players in the secondary and make
    the Super Bowl, you’d call us crazy, right? Of course you would. But what the
    Giants have been able to do without depth has been nothing short of incredible.
    Aaron Ross and Corey Webster have been solid and the Giants’ safety play from
    Kenny Phillips, Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant has been at a high level during the
    playoff run. While Grant has the Giants’ only interception in the playoffs, the
    secondary was responsible for 17 picks during the regular season — with Webster
    leading the way with six. Given the blanket some members of this unit threw over
    Brady four years ago in the Super Bowl, the Patriots QB might be studying that
    game tape extra hard.




    The Number
    2
    This season
    Brady has had only four games with multiple interceptions — Week 3 against
    Buffalo, Week 6 against Dallas and the AFC Championship Game against Baltimore.
    The fourth? That was the Week 9 meeting with the Giants, where Tom Terrific was
    picked twice.




    SPECIAL TEAMS




    The Breakdown
    Did you think we’d start somewhere else
    other than kicker Lawrence Tynes? It’s not a coincidence that the two Super Bowl
    trips the Giants have made over the past four years have come on the foot of
    Tynes. He’s been pretty good this season on field goals. Tynes has converted 19
    of his 24 attempts (79.2 percent), with a long of 50 yards. Punter Steve
    Weatherford has been just as steady in his first season coming over from the
    Jets. The returners haven’t wowed anybody, but Devin Thomas (kicks) and Will
    Blackmon (punts) have been solid bringing the balls out this season.




    The Number
    168
    It’s gone
    relatively unnoticed, but Tynes is on a remarkable extra-point conversion
    streak. He has made his last 168 extra-point attempts and hasn’t missed one
    since the first quarter on Oct. 21, 2007 against the San Francisco 49ers."



    SUPER BOWL GAMEDAY: PATRIOTS POSITION BY POSITION



    "QUARTERBACK




    The Breakdown
    Clichéd, yes, but Tom Brady is like a
    delicious wine — getting better as he gets older. Brady’s 2011 regular season
    was like a nice Pinot Noir: Smooth, rich and really hard to duplicated. He threw
    for 5,235 yards and 39 touchdowns. If you’re counting, that’s the seventh time
    in his 12-year career Brady has thrown more than 25 touchdowns in a season. And
    amazingly, he has done it without a true deep threat. Deion Branch is the
    closest thing, but there isn’t a defense in the NFL that is game-planning for
    Branch. Instead, Brady has turned Wes Welker into a pass-catching machine and
    TEs Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez into monsters across the middle.




    The Number
    1
    Ever try
    picking off Brady in a Super Bowl? Good luck. The only guy to do that was
    Carolina Panthers defensive back Reggie Howard, who intercepted Brady in the
    fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXXVIII.




    RUNNING BACKS




    The Breakdown
    New England’s running game begins and ends
    with “The Law Firm” — BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Amazing to think Green-Ellis was an
    undrafted free agent coming out of Ole Miss. He’s about as steady as they come,
    rushing for 667 yards this season and 11 touchdowns. Every now and then coach
    Bill Belichick will splice in some Stevan Ridley, who many think might be the
    more talented of the two backs. Ridley had 441 rushing yards on 87 carries this
    season. The Patriots don’t always turn to the running backs in their offense —
    opting to let Brady move the ball downfield via his receivers and tight ends.
    But when their numbers are called, they are often effective.




    The Number
    0
    Ever hear of a
    running back who doesn’t fumble? Us, either. Well, except Green-Ellis. Not only
    has he not fumbled in 181 rushing attempts this season, he’s never put the ball
    on the turf once in his four-year career. That’s 510 carries and 26 receptions
    without a fumble. Incredible.




    WIDE RECEIVERS/TIGHT ENDS




    The Breakdown
    As we said, the lack of a true deep threat
    is what makes this offense so mesmerizing. Branch has caught 51 passes for 702
    yards and five touchdowns. At 32, the former Super Bowl MVP is a Brady favorite,
    but not the caliber of receiver Brady had the last time these teams met in the
    Super Bowl. (Anyone hear from Randy Moss these days?) Instead, this is all about
    Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. A total of 33 of Brady’s 39
    touchdowns have gone to this trio. Welker is a nightmare in the slot, and Gronk
    and Hernandez give teams match-up fits because of their combination of size and
    speed against smaller defensive backs.




    The Number
    418
    You really
    have no idea how big a part of the passing attack Welker, Gronkowski and
    Hernandez are until you look at their target numbers. Welker led the league with
    181, but Gronkowski had 124 and Hernandez 113. That’s an absurd amount of
    attempts by Brady.




    OFFENSIVE LINE




    The Breakdown
    This is a monster group of men, who — for
    the most part — have played together for much of their careers. The only newbies
    are rookie RT Nate Solder (a 6-8, 319-pound specimen) and 13-year veteran RG
    Brian Waters. The rest, C Dan Connolly, LG Logan Mankins and LT Matt Light have
    been Brady’s bodyguards for what seems like forever. And the consistency shows:
    Brady was sacked only 32 times this season, ninth-lowest total in the NFL. The
    protection has been even more ridiculous in the postseason. In both playoff
    games, Brady has been sacked just once and hit only five times.




    The Number
    11
    How is Brady
    able to stay on his feet so well? Consistency. He and Matt Light have been a
    left tackle-quarterback combination for 11 years. Coach Bill Belichick summed it
    up perfectly last week: “He’s gone up against a lot of great players playing on
    that left side. He’s battled them. He’s tough and he’s smart.”



    DEFENSIVE LINE




    The Breakdown
    When someone like Brandon Jacobs labels
    another football player a “freak of nature” in a complimentary way, you know the
    guy is legit. That’s the case with man-mountain defensive tackle Vince Wilfork.
    The team’s media guide lists him at 6-2, 325 pounds, but one look at him tells
    you that’s an understatement. And then when you watch Wilfork plow through
    offensive lines with ease and speed, you know there’s something special about
    this guy. He has put the rest of the defensive line on his back this postseason,
    registering 2½ sacks in the Patriots’ two games. That’s doing work. That’s also
    a nightmare for the Giants’ offensive
    line to have to contend with for 60 minutes.




    The Number
    11
    It’s almost
    unfair that opposing teams have to deal with Wilfork, because he eats up so much
    space for the rest of the defensive line to work through. One of those
    beneficiaries? Defensive end Mark Anderson, who has 11 sacks this season.




    LINEBACKERS




    The Breakdown
    This group of linebackers is coach Bill
    Belichick to a tee: Tough, hard-nosed players who come through those enormous
    holes opened up by the defensive line and get after the quarterback. Jerod Mayo
    is a tackling machine, with 95 on the season. Rob Ninkovich has been a find off
    the scrap heap the past three years, working his way into a starting position
    and getting 6½ sacks during the regular season. And Brandon Spikes is an
    extremely athletic defender who can get all over a tight end coming across the
    middle. Belichick likes to insert players such as Gary Guyton and Tracy White to
    give his teams different looks.




    The Number
    2
    It gets to the
    point sometimes where you wonder where the Patriots find these guys. Only two of
    the seven linebackers on the depth chart were drafted in the first two rounds.
    Niko Koutouvides was a fourth-round pick, Ninkovich a fifth-rounder, while three
    guys were undrafted.



    DEFENSIVE BACKS




    The Breakdown
    One of the most beleaguered units in the
    NFL this season, the Patriots secondary has been a patchwork job for nearly the
    entire year. Belichick and defensive backs coach Josh Boyer have been moving
    guys around with mixed results. Former Rutgers standout Devin McCourty seemed
    like a steal in the back end of the first round last year, nabbing seven
    interceptions and forcing two fumbles. But he’s taken a step back in his
    sophomore season, with only two picks and at times was moved to safety because
    of coverage problems. The biggest buzz last week has been about wide receiver
    Julian Edelman moving to corner back. The former Kent State QB saw time against
    the Ravens at the right corner spot in the AFC Championship Game two weeks
    ago.




    The Number
    3.6
    Like much of
    the New England defense, this is a young group. The most tenured NFL player is
    backup right cornerback and Rutgers standout from Scotch Plains Nate Jones, who
    has been in the league eight seasons. The average experience in the secondary is
    3.6 years.




    SPECIAL TEAMS




    The Breakdown
    For years, it seemed as if playoff games —
    especially Super Bowls — began and ended on the leg of Adam Vinatieri. Now, it’s
    Stephen Gostkowski, who will be kicking in his second Super Bowl. The six-year
    vet from Memphis has developed into just as good of a kicker. This season, he
    was perfect on extra-point attempts, going 59-for-59. Field goals were nearly as
    automatic, as he went 28-for-33, with a long of 50 yards. On the other side, New
    England has a pair of shifty returners in Julian Edelman (punts) and former Jet
    Danny Woodhead (kicks).




    The Number
    97 percent
    Might
    not want to go up against Gostkowski in the fourth quarter when the Patriots
    need a field goal. In the past five years, the Patriots’ kicker is 33-of-34 in
    the final quarter, a 97 percent clip."

    IZENBERG: SUPER BOWL MACTHUP BETWEEN GIANTS AND PATRIOTS IS A GREAT ONE

    "All right, pay close attention because you are going to thank me for the advice
    that follows here. Try to forget all the breathless refugees from the fashion
    runways turned faux “reporters” gushing, “I am actually coming to you from the
    Super Bowl!”


    Ignore news shows that feature barnyard chickens allegedly picking the Super
    Bowl winner. Line your garbage pail with every newspaper page in which the
    “stars” pick the Super Bowl winners. And if you are watching on television,
    understand that this time the football action is not there so you can get to the
    bathroom without interrupting the halftime show.




    In short, what we have here at Super XLVI today is something you don’t always
    get. What we have — at least on paper — is one hell of a match-up. For example,
    how often out in Vegas do you get three points if you bet on the underdog but
    then it’s you and not The House that still has to lay 6-5?




    The Pats and Giants: A match that is
    the direct residue of the late Pete Rozelle’s determination to find the ultimate
    100-yard wall-to-wall parity. Forget the fact that the Patriots sort of backed
    in after Baltimore missed a short field-goal that would have tied the game.
    That, after all, is football. But eye to eye and belly to belly this is one of
    those rare times that the two best teams in all of football have made it to what
    is always overbilled as the season’s ultimate game.




    So throw the hype in the nearest garbage can and do not recycle. With
    football salaries today, everything else surrounding this may be about the money
    and glitz — but not for the players.




    For them it’s about the rings. Gone are the days when Super Bowl players went
    to bed the night before with visions of having to win to make up for the
    winners’ share their wives had already spent. They make too much money these
    days for that.




    And gone are mornings like the day before Super Bowl I in Los Angeles, when I
    had breakfast with a Kansas City linebacker named E.J. “The Beast” Holub, whose
    palms were sweating because “I can’t believe if we win, I get $15,000.”

    This game over the years has morphed into a definitive bookmark by which
    players and coaches measure each other and measure themselves.


    They know it
    is special.




    Listen to the way Bill Parcells describes that incredible moment just before
    the Giants ran onto the field at the Rose Bowl before Super Bowl XXI in 1987:




    “I remember it’s just so different. I can’t tell you what it’s like to run
    out of that tunnel. One moment you are standing there and you can see out and
    it’s a beautiful sunny day, and it looked like a million people out there
    waiting ... waiting for you.




    “I remember standing there and looking out at the colors in the sunlight and
    then we start to run out and it was ... it was ... it was ... all I can say is
    that it was a great thing.”




    And most players never get there.




    The Patriots and Giants — the former favored to get here even before the
    season started, the latter a sinking ship late in the season but a brilliant
    football team down the stretch.




    Two teams with well-qualified coaches; two clearly credentialed quarterbacks;
    two well-stocked groups of receivers; two teams that can and do run the ball;
    two sides with good special teams, although the Pats have a slight edge in
    return men; two teams with good punting games and one team (the Pats) with a
    slightly better kicking game.




    And beyond that?

    Well, beyond that is the oldest of professional football clichés:


    “Offense wins football games but defense wins championships.”




    So there you have it. It is the reason I think the Giants will win. When the
    other teams have the ball, there is no edge here in coaching. In raw talent I
    think the Giants are simply better at playing without the ball than are the
    Pats.




    They proved that down the playoff stretch run. And since Eli is the league’s
    best fourth-quarter comeback quarterback, the defense can get him where he needs
    to be.




    Defensive pressure will win this game. George Foreman once told me that
    styles make fights. “I could fight Ali 100 times, “ he said, “and Ali would win
    100. I could fight Frazier 100 times and I would win 100. But Ali and Frazier
    could fight 100 and each one would go life and death. Styles, that’s what it’s
    all about.”




    It’s that way in football as well. It’s not about records. It’s about
    head-to-head styles.




    Defense figures to give the Giants the style to win."



    JOHN MARA, ROBERT KRAFT MT IN SUPER BOWL AFTER SAVING NFL SEASON



    "Sunday’s Super Bowl XLVI will end with elation for either the Giants or New England Patriots. Months ago,
    there was instead frustration and tension in the league, during the drawn-out
    labor negotiations.




    John Mara recalled one such moment last week, when a disagreement ratcheted
    up the discord between the NFL and the players.




    “We’re the reasonable ones on this side,” burst out Mike Vrabel, a member of
    the players union’s executive committee.




    Mara, the Giants owner, looked directly at the retired linebacker.




    “What the hell do you think you’re dealing with here?” replied Mara,
    referencing a core of owners that included the Patriots’ Robert Kraft. “If you
    want to deal with some of the other owners, just give me a list of names.”




    With a smile, Mara finished the story last week: “They never came back with
    that list.”




    Months later, Mara and Kraft’s teams will meet in the Super Bowl on Sunday, a
    fitting finish to the season they helped save.




    Mara was a constant presence at the negotiating table last spring and summer,
    missing sessions only when called to jury duty.




    He had an ally in Kraft, who would not have left his dying wife’s bedside had
    she not told him to help save America’s game.




    These two men were linchpins in bringing the NFL a 300-page collective
    bargaining agreement and 10 years of labor peace. While they were firm and
    demanding on the points the owners would not yield, what Mara told Vrabel that
    day was also true: He and Kraft were voices of reason on the owners’ side,
    critical to overcoming the distrust and dissension that threatened the
    season.




    “Those two individuals deserve a lot of respect and appreciation,” NFL
    commissioner Roger Goodell said.



    During the 136-day lockout, Mara and Kraft traveled from judge’s chambers in
    Minnesota to a covert hotel in a Chicago suburb to a law firm in Manhattan, to
    name a few.




    Mara had watched his
    father, Wellington Mara,
    navigate labor disputes in another generation and
    believed the only way to a deal was to show the other side respect. Kraft, a
    shrewd businessman, operated the same way.




    He was known to look across the table at a particular player and ask, “What
    do you think?”




    As the owners and players were summoned to locations so secretive they were
    assigned aliases, and broke bread together, they soon grew to understand the
    graveness of Myra Kraft’s condition.




    Mara recalled Kraft assuring his colleagues that attending the talks was
    “therapeutic” for him. But they did not overlook his sacrifice. Often he flew
    home after a long day of negotiations, then back early in the morning, simply to
    spend a night with his wife.




    “It was the only thing I ever left her side for, and when things got a little
    cuckoo with the lawyers, I went home,” Kraft said.




    “I wasn’t going to waste my time, and I think the players and (union
    executive director) DeMaurice Smith understood that. I hope in a small way that
    helped us to get resolution.”




    Kraft’s
    “sweetheart” lost her battle
    with cancer July 20, after 48 years of
    marriage.




    Five days later, the sides announced that they had reached a deal.




    One of the lasting images of the lockout’s end was Colts center Jeff Saturday
    warmly embracing Kraft on the steps of the NFL Players Association’s
    headquarters in Washington, D.C. It was a moment “completely from the heart,”
    Saturday said. The two later traded notes of appreciation.




    Kraft admits he “never thought I would grow to love and respect the guy that
    Peyton Manning put his hands on his tush every day.” But he and Mara put aside
    football rivalries and pride for the sake of a deal.




    “They wanted to come up with creative solutions,” said Saturday, one of the
    most-involved players in negotiations.




    “Those guys were willing to examine options and different opportunities for
    both sides, ownership and players, to get something that was fair. That took a
    lot of time and a lot of effort.”




    Patriots guard Brian Waters, a member of the union’s executive committee,
    said Mara and Kraft were effective because they operated without egos or
    chest-pounding or an air of superiority.




    Quarterback Tom Brady, a plaintiff on the union’s antitrust lawsuit against
    the NFL, said Kraft never uttered the phrase “what’s best for us” — instead, he
    talked about a fair deal for both.



    The tide began to turn in June, when the negotiating parties were reduced to
    five players and five owners. Mara and Kraft were on the short list. In a
    rotating list of cities, the group debated during the day, and dined and drank
    together at night.




    They listened and talked simply “as men” at the dinner table, Saturday
    remembers, about how Kraft purchased the Patriots in 1994, the lessons the Mara
    family learned through past strikes and postponements, and Myra Kraft’s
    conviction that football must be saved for the struggling economy.




    “We didn’t discuss business at all,” Mara said. “Once we started doing that,
    it took a lot of the animosity and mistrust away.”




    Mara and Kraft’s players see similarities in the way they run their teams as
    smart businesses with a keen eye for success.




    As allies, they found this was their strength: Kraft is still struck by how
    close the league came to missing games, but each man knew the other would not
    let that happen.




    To Mara, Kraft’s balance of personal and professional obligations was
    “amazing.” He called Kraft as good a businessman as any owner in the league, and
    said the Giants are simply trying to match the Patriots’ level of success.




    Kraft, meanwhile, knew Mara would not waver in his family’s legacy of putting
    the NFL first through 87 years owning the team.




    The players in Mara and Kraft’s own locker rooms were not surprised at their
    roles in settling the dispute, after years of doing personal business with
    them.




    Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a plaintiff on the union’s antitrust lawsuit
    against the NFL, said Kraft never uttered the phrase “what’s best for us,” but
    only talked about “a fair deal.”




    Giants linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka’s praise of Mara was just as high: “He’s
    more of a protector of the game than he is of his business assets.” Mara and
    Kraft speak proudly of the new CBA, for the extended labor peace it provides as
    well as the long-term television deals that came after. They spoke even more
    proudly last week of their teams, which will compete for a championship
    ring.




    You could call Sunday night’s game the fruits of their labor.




    “It’s pretty cool that we didn’t miss any games, we both worked so hard on
    it,” Kraft said, “and now we are playing Sunday.”

    GIANTS' DEON GRANT AND PATRIOTS' SHAUN ELLIE ARE CLOSE FRIENDS AT A CROSSROADS AGAIN

    Excerpt: "To this day, Shaun Ellis thinks Deon Grant wouldn’t have survived. Not with the
    way the windshield and door on the passenger’s side were both smashed in after
    Ellis fell asleep at the wheel on the way back to campus in the wee hours of
    March 16, 1998.


    After Ellis veered off the road, he somehow emerged from the Ford Taurus
    lodged between two trees on a mountainside with a broken hip, a busted lip and
    glass embedded in his face.




    Grant was supposed to be in the car with him. With spring practice
    approaching at the University of Tennessee, he had planned to meet Ellis in
    South Carolina to make the trek back. But because Grant needed to get back to
    Knoxville a day earlier than planned, he caught a ride from someone else.




    “He wouldn’t have made it. That’s how close …” Ellis said, his voice trailing
    off. “His life could’ve changed.”
    Or ended.




    Ellis showed Grant the morbid photos of the wreckage, but Grant has a
    different take on what would’ve happened. With some company on the ride, he’s
    sure Ellis wouldn’t have fallen asleep at the wheel.




    “I might’ve been up when that happened and I could’ve been talking to him or
    playing music or whatever,” Grant said.




    Instead, 12 years after the two left Tennessee together for the 2000 NFL
    Draft, in which they were selected 45 picks from each other, they will be on
    opposing sidelines today with their first Super Bowl ring on the line.




    The two talk often and see each other whenever possible — it was easier when
    Grant joined the Giants last season and Ellis was close by as member of the Jets — but the past two weeks have been all
    business. For Ellis, it’s his first Super Bowl after 11 years with the Jets, the
    final two of which ended with losses in the AFC Championship Game. It will be
    Grant’s second Super Bowl — he and the Panthers lost to the Patriots in Super
    Bowl XXXVIII.




    “I figured I’d talk to him once the week is over with,” the 34-year-old Ellis
    said. “Right now, my mindset is about going in and winning this game. It’s not
    about personal relationships even though me and him are really close so it’s
    just one of those things we’ll catch up in the offseason.”




    ALWAYS THERE FOR SUPPORT




    Ellis was a 20-year-old sophomore at the time of the accident and doctors
    told him his football career was in jeopardy because they feared vascular
    necrosis as a result of decreased blood supply. He faced a long, arduous
    recovery if he hoped to step back on the field." Read more...

    PATRIOTS' GRONKOWSKI DOING BETTER, COACH SAYS

    Excerpt: "Rob Gronkowski showed no signs of limping today as the New England Patriots
    held a pre-Super Bowl outing at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, according to
    a pool report.


    The Patriots tight end has been recovering from a high ankle sprain he
    suffered in the AFC Championship Game. He returned to practice Thursday and said
    he is the
    one who'll make the decision
    whether he'll play Sunday against the Giants. He was listed as "questionable" on
    Friday's injury report.




    At the end of today's event, Gronkowski walked briskly from the field and up
    the tunnel, heading for the buses outside, according to the pool report.




    “I think he’s doing better,” New England coach Bill Belichick said. “I think
    he’s doing a little better each day. We’ll just have to see where things (are)
    and get through tomorrow.” Read more...

    GIANTS DON'T LET BROKEN DOWN BUS DISRUPT SATURDAY SCHEDULE

    "Tom Coughlin said on Friday of the Giants’ bandwagon, “Five weeks ago, there
    wasn’t even a bus, and now there are no seats on anything.”



    Well, today’s bus to practice must’ve been carrying too much weight because
    it broke down. According to the pool report, compiled by Yahoo’s Jason Cole,
    some players arrived at practice 5 minutes late. (Great line by Newsday’s Tom
    Rock: “Or as we say, ‘on time.’)




    But the jog-through ensued as planned and lasted 48 minutes. Cole reports
    running back Ahmad Bradshaw “showed barely a hint of soreness in his foot as he
    went through all the scripted situations for the offense.”




    Safety Tyler Sash (foot) and defensive end Osi Umenyiora (knee/ankle), both
    of whom are listed as probable, participated in the jog-through.




    “He looked fine, no soreness, nothing you could notice,” Tom Coughlin said of
    Bradshaw. “This was all situational stuff, nothing unusual. It was a Saturday
    morning jog-thru, all situations.”




    Tonight, the Giants’ players and coaches will meet from 7:30 to 9:15. After
    that, they’ll be shown a 3- to 4-minute highlight video to, as Coughlin put it,
    “get them in the right frame of mind.” After the video, Coughlin will address
    the team. Then, per the pool report, they’ll have a “snack.” It’s unlikely the
    snack will be similar to the one served by Rex Ryan at Jets camp last
    year."

    GIANTS' GM JERRY REESE RECOGNIZES THE FINE LINE IN THE NFL

    "There is a fine line between success and failure in the “what have you done
    lately” NFL and Giants general manager Jerry Reese knows it all too well.



    This time last year, questions about his football team were abundant and they
    continued into training camp and until the Giants turned things around with
    their season on the line against the Jets on Christmas Eve.




    “It’s kind of funny when you’re 10-6 last year and you don’t qualify for the
    tournament and you go 9-7, you win the division, qualify for the tournament,”
    Reese said. “That’s the difference between being a smart guy and a not-so-smart
    guy. Last year I wasn’t so smart. This year we win 9 games [and] I’m smarter. Go
    figure that.”




    Now, after constant criticism for making unpopular moves during the
    offseason, Reese is back on the media’s and fans’ good side, one win away from
    winning his second Super Bowl in five seasons. Just like that he can go from a
    failure to one of the most successful general managers in league.




    “In 2009, we thought we had a pretty deep team and we ended up 8-8, because
    we went out and got some free agents,” Reese said. “That isn’t always the way to
    do it. Everybody has different ways of doing things. We had a good nucleus of
    guys coming back and we just felt like we needed to make the best football
    moves. Obviously, they’re not sexy moves. We signed a guard, we signed a center
    and we signed a punter. That’s not really sexy, especially from a fan
    perspective. Fans are fans and they like to see big names and see you look like
    you’re stacking the deck, but we had good players already and we needed to fill
    the holes we thought were there and we tried to do that.”

    THE PATRIOTS MAY HAVE THE ANSWER TO THE GIANTS' PASS RUSH; NO HUDDLE OFFENSE

    "Over the last five weeks, opponents have unsuccessfully attempted to find a
    way to neutralize the rejuvenated Giants pass rush.


    They’ve tried to run the ball and complete short and quick passes, among
    other strategies -- anything to keep their quarterbacks upright. Tomorrow, the
    Patriots may finally have the antidote: an effective no-huddle offense.




    This season, New England ran the no-huddle offense more than any other team
    in the league and with Tom Brady under center, they were successful. A no-huddle
    offense against the Giants can keep them from substituting players in and out on
    the defensive line, allowing them to take advantage packages. An obvious case
    would be running the no-huddle when the Giants have all four of their defensive
    ends on the line, an undersized group in the middle that can theoretically be
    exploited against the run.




    The Giants have struggled at times against no-huddle offenses, but the
    defense has improved dramatically in recent weeks, and the main reason has
    simply been communication. And against the Falcons in the Wild Card round of the
    playoffs, the Giants held their own when defending Atlanta’s successful
    no-huddle offense.




    “We were battle-tested as far as the no-huddle offense throughout the
    season,” Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell said. “And I think that we
    improved as the season went on with our form of communication. During the
    season, that was definitely a challenge for us. Right now, I think that’s become
    part of who we are and what we do because we’ve faced it so much.”

    GIANTS' PRACTICE SQUAD MEMBERS ENJOYING SUPER BOWL RIDE, DESPITE NOT BEING ABLE TO PLAY IN BIG GAME

    "This has been the week that Andre Brown has dreamed of since he was a kid. He's
    been able to stay in the fancy hotel, go out to eat in the fancy restaurants,
    sign autographs and sit down for interviews. This is how he thought Super Bowl
    week would always play out.


    Only there will be no game for him.




    "Bittersweet, that's a great way to put it," Brown said. "I would love to
    play in the Super Bowl. But I understand my role right now. Every kid's dream
    growing up — to play in the Super Bowl, be Super Bowl MVP. Those were my dreams.
    I still want to be able to do it. But I'm here and I'm just glad to be
    here."




    When Super Bowl XLVI kicks off on Sunday evening, Brown will be alongside the
    other seven members of the Giants'
    practice squad. They will have the crisp, white jerseys on — Super Bowl patches
    and all — but they will not dress for the game. They will have practiced just as
    hard and just as often as the other 53 members of the active roster, but there
    will be no payoff of paying in the big game.




    It's not the ideal or preferred way to try and win a championship, but for
    now, the members of this group are content with it.




    "It's the game, it's just how the game is," said DT Dwayne Hendricks, a
    Millville native. "There's a lot of people fighting for a very small amount of
    spots. You can't get frustrated, you just have to understand that your time will
    come if you keep putting the work in. It has to come when you have talent."




    Some players are waived and resigned numerous times throughout the season.
    Some get the chance to dress for a handful of games. Some spend the entire year
    on the practice squad.




    "It's an opportunity for those guys to show us, look, 'I'm worthy of being
    here, of doing what you ask me to do,'" Giants general manager Jerry Reese said.
    "Working on their craft, running cards for the offense. It's an opportunity — a
    great opportunity — for them. You get to see them every day, you see their work
    ethic, you see them catching balls or blocking. Doing the things that you need
    to do to make a football team."




    Numerous players on the eight-man unit said that while nothing is technically
    different on the field in their preparation, they know this week everyone is
    held to a higher standard.




    "It's definitely different for us," said former Rutgers cornerback Brandon Bing.
    "It's more responsibility, I'll tell you that. As far as the media and the time
    that you have and where you are. The media is everywhere you go — in malls, in
    restaurants. You have to carry yourself as a professional."




    But this week is not unlike the others during the season. The Giants coaching
    staff encourages its practice squad players to eat in the cafeteria with the
    rest of the players. To mingle away from the facilities and develop
    relationships that aren't limited to position group or locker room positions. On
    Wednesday night, Bing went out to eat with Deon Grant, Victor Cruz, Antrel
    Rolle. As he said: "I don't think I've been out with practice squad guys."

    "We encourage guys not to blend in," Reese said. "If you blend in, you're
    going to be gone. You better try to stand out in practice. I don't care if
    you're on the practice squad running cards, you better stand out. We don't like
    guys that blend in. If I don't notice you or our coaching and personnel staff
    don't notice you, I'll ask, 'Coach Coughlin, what about this guy?' And he says,
    'I don't even notice him, Jerry.' That's not a good report for me. We like for
    guys to stand out, work hard and not blend in."


    In addition to trying to prep the regular 53-man roster for Sunday's game,
    players are often asked to fulfill different roles during the week. Brown is a
    running back, but because of his versatility, he has played the role of Patriots
    WR Wes Welker this week. He's also played some safety.




    "Hopefully this'll help me for a job next year," he said. "I look at it as
    another working day. If I'm running wide receiver routes, it's going to do
    nothing but help me. To show that I can do another thing add value."




    But with the magnitude of this being the Super Bowl, extra effort in
    preparation might go a long way when offseason personnel decisions are made.




    "You're supposed to do that every week," said OT Selvish Capers. "Coaches
    look at every part of this week."




    Even with all of the pressure and distractions that make this week unlike the
    others, the eight-man unit is enjoying themselves. They realize the rare
    opportunity that they've been given this week. That hundreds of players — on
    practice squads and not — don't get an opportunity to go to a Super Bowl.




    "It's the biggest game ever," Brown said. "We're still a part of it. We have
    to go out there and give them great looks every day. Whatever I can do to help.
    That's my mindset. We get rings, too. So I want one too."

    VICTOR CRUZ STARRED ON COURTS OF PATERSON, N.J. LONG BEFORE CATCHING PASSES FOR GIANTS' SUPER BOWL RUN

    "If you grew up in Paterson or had interest in playing for Paterson Catholic, you
    played basketball. That's just the way it was. You would play for Jimmy Salmons'
    AAU team, the Playaz. Then you would go on to play for Damon Wright's Cougars
    team. Every kid did this. And if you were part of that neatly woven hoops
    fabric, you knew players you didn't even play with. That's just the way it
    was.


    So when Jordan Theodore was in sixth grade, he would always find himself
    hanging around the city's courts, waiting for pick-up games on the playgrounds.
    He was testing himself for bigger and better things. There was a kid though,
    three years older than he was, who was the talk of the courts.




    It was Victor Cruz.




    Yes, that Victor Cruz.




    "Just being around Paterson Catholic, I remember going there and watching th
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  2. #2
    All-Pro dezzzR's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    thank you for doing this all season RF.





    ALL IN!!!!!

  3. #3
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    [quote user="dezzzR"]*thank you for doing this all season RF.





    *ALL IN!!!!!
    [/quote]

    +1

    [b]LET'S GO GIANTS!

  4. #4
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    [quote user="dezzzR"]thank you for doing this all season RF.





    ALL IN!!!!!
    [/quote]

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


  5. #5

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    Let's do this!!! Thanks RF

  6. #6
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    [quote user="lttaylor56"]Let's do this!!! Thanks RF[/quote]

    I am so confident it's frightening lol
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


  7. #7

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    GREAT JOB RF and Thanks always love the info!!

  8. #8
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    [quote user="Voldamort"]GREAT JOB RF and Thanks always love the info!![/quote]

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


  9. #9

    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="lttaylor56"]Let's do this!!! Thanks RF[/quote]

    I am so confident it's frightening* lol
    [/quote]I'm with you on the confidence. I'm setting up for my after game fireworks on the deck now!!!

  10. #10
    Moderator RoanokeFan's Avatar
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    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: SUPERBOWL SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 5, 2012 - 10:51 A.M.

    [quote user="lttaylor56"][quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="lttaylor56"]Let's do this!!! Thanks RF[/quote]

    I am so confident it's frightening lol
    [/quote]I'm with you on the confidence. I'm setting up for my after game fireworks on the deck now!!![/quote]

    Don't set anything or anyone on fire...unless they are Pats' fans []
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


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