Q: You’ve obviously won a lot of big games over the course of your career. Are you more nervous, less nervous having to watch your brother play in the big game next Sunday?
A: I’m excited for him. I know this has been an interesting year for him. From a new coach to a new offense and trying to learn that, dealing with an injury, having to sit out for seven weeks—he’s never gone through that before. Kind of coming back as a backup, he’s never done that before. He gets in and has kind of taken advantage of that opportunity and winning and now being in the Super Bowl. Just excited for him. I’m sure once the game gets there, yeah, I usually get a little nervous. That’s just kind of how it is whenever I watch play a game. Just rooting for him and want the best for him. Q: It’s a little different watching your brother this time for most of us because we kind of sense that maybe it’s his last shot, maybe it’s his last game. Does it seem at all like that to you, like this is a chapter closing?
A: He’s not said anything to me about it. I think I kind of think like everybody else where you see this as possibly being the last game. I don’t know if he knows himself or if he’s thought about it. When you get to year 19 and kind of deal with some injuries and things going on, it’d be a good way to go out. I don’t know if it is, but because of that possibility, I hope that he can win this game and if he decides to hang it up, go out on top. Q: Did you wonder if he’d make it back here, either after his injury issues or after losing so badly to Seattle two years ago?
A: I thought they had a good possibility just because, even two years ago, he was playing better than anybody at that time. He was playing great football. And after his injury he came back, he was throwing lots of touchdowns and winning games, and back to his old form. Obviously the Super Bowl didn’t go well for the Broncos. Even last year, he was playing well as well. I thought they had a good defense, a good team, good players so I thought they were going to be contenders. Just proud of the way he’s handled everything and dealt with the circumstance. It’s tough—it’s tough to go through a new offensive change, especially when he’s really been in—even when he went to Denver—really for the most part, his offense and his scheme. Now, after basically being in one offense for 18 years of your life and then changing it up, that’s not easy. I think he’s adjusted to that and done well. I think even when they were 7-0 at the time, he was taking some criticism and he hadn’t had a whole lot of that either. I think he’s dealt with a lot of adversity and proud of the way he’s handled the situation…overcame it all and now they’re in the Super Bowl. Q: You’re a guy who’s won two Super Bowls. In your estimation, is there a difference between a guy who has one Super Bowl or won two Super Bowls? Do you get looked at differently or do you not see a difference there?
A: Honestly, I think there’s maybe too much placed on rings and Super Bowl championships because it’s not one player. The quarterback is not the sole reason that you win a championship, it’s the team and everybody coming around. Peyton, his impact on the game of football, will not be determined based off this one game. He’s kind of changed the game, and the no-huddle offense they had in Indianapolis for so long, and doing things at the line of scrimmage, and changing plays and getting out of bad plays and getting into good plays. He was the starter of doing that. I know guys who have done it before, Chip Kelly in his different offenses. He’s five MVP’s and Super Bowl appearances and won a lot of football games, thrown a lot of touchdowns, and he’s played at a high level for a long, long time. I hope he can win, but his impact has already been made. His legacy, whether it will or not, I don’t think it should be affected by this one game. Q: Does it take away your bragging rights if it were to happen?
A: No. There’s no bragging rights just because we both know that it’s a team effort, everything going the right way. One player can’t control the outcome of a whole season or a certain game because there’s going to be other circumstances. I’ve never mentioned that or ever compared who has more rings. That’s never been a discussion or ever come up in any way. Q: You played the Panthers earlier this year and had some success with the late comeback. Will you have any discussion at some point with Peyton about what you saw or kind of leave it up to him to determine from his own study?
A: I’ve kind of given him some of my thoughts from the game from them. But I think he’ll do his preparation and his study. Yeah, if he has any questions for whatever reason, I’m happy to give him my thoughts and my two cents on their scheme, on their players that I observed. Q: Will you help him during the week with ticket requests or with family arrangements or anything like that? What is your role as he gets ready for this?
A: Yeah, I can definitely help him out with tickets. Early on just say, “What do you need from me? How can I help you? How many tickets do you need me to get for you?” That’s what he’s done for me in the past, what I’ve done for him in other Super Bowls. Just kind of make it easy on him. He’s kind of got the agenda down and knows what he needs to do and try to get it done as early as possible and out of the way so he can just focus on playing the game and preparation and enjoying this experience. Q: Do you plan on attending the game and does your whole family?
A: Yeah, I’ll attend the game. I was going to be out there anyways. I’ll be at the game. Yeah, my parents, my brother, will all be there. Q: Peyton was famously not calm while watching you in your Super Bowls—a lot of jumping around the box and fist pumping. When you watch him in big games are you calmer or excited as he was?
A: Definitely get excited. When good plays happen, especially if it comes down as it gets later in the game and convert on key third downs and score touchdowns, or the defense gets a stop, you definitely get excited. Last week with the Broncos, watching that one, definitely coming down to the wire and the final two-point play and the fourth down plays, definitely show a little emotion while you’re watching. Q: What about the way that Peyton has adapted, has changed during this stretch from electrifying quarterback to more of a game manager? How do you view that whole transition and how has he handled it?
A: He’s just doing what he’s got to do to win football games. I think he wants to go out there and score touchdowns. I don’t know if he’s like to be called a game manager. I think he’s the quarterback and he’s trying to lead an offense and throw touchdowns. They’re going to try to run the ball, they play great defense—I think he understands that. I think he’s always been a game manager. I think he still has the mindset to go out there and light it up and score a lot of points for their offense. Q: Is there anything you’ve taken away from him personally as you’ve watched him adjust to his new role? Just from the way he’s handled things to accepting it?
A: I think just proud of the way he’s handled the whole situation this year--injury and missing time and kind of coming back and being prepared for any situation or circumstance to come up when he gets in the game. He didn’t know how this season was going to play out or if he would play again this season. Obviously he got the opportunity in the Chargers game and stepped up and led some nice drives and got the win to lead the team into the playoffs. I’m proud of the way he’s played in the playoff games and making plays to win the game. Q: Peyton’s obviously played in a few Super Bowls—do you imagine that he has the experience factor obviously on his side against Carolina? Do you think that’s going to have any major outcome or impact on the game?
A: I think the best team will win. It’s just going to come down to, like all games, the execution and who plays the smartest and who makes plays and who doesn’t make mistakes. I think he’ll do what he has to do to go out there and play well and just kind of going in there and doing your part. I don’t think Super Bowl experience plays a huge role. Q: It’s obviously a special week for you as well with the Man of the Year award coming up. Just curious to what your reaction to what that will be like when that’s handed out next week?
A: Just honored—honored to be included in the three. I kind of feel like just to be recognized as one of the three finalists with Anquan and Ben Watson, you kind of feel like you already won. Whether you’re called out on next Saturday, I’d be honored to get that. It’s not something I’m nervous about or “Oh, I got to win this”. It’s not a game, it’s not something that you can do anything about. Just proud of the work I’ve done in the community and helping other people. I’m happy for those organizations that I’ve helped, them being recognized and being brought up and talked about. That’s good for helping other people. Q: I talked to some of the staff at Hackensack about your visits and they said the best part is when you ask them to leave and you shut the door and you just stay and you talk with the kids. Can you tell us a little bit about what those conversations are about? What do they want to talk to you about? What do you say to them? Do you have any plans or hopes to have a clinic like you do in Mississippi in the New York-New Jersey area at any point?
A: I think a lot of times when I visit a hospital, I really would rather just go unannounced and call them 3o minutes before I show up and kind of go visit the kids. Sometimes the community relations people with the Giants want to send a camera because they really want me to be up for the Walter Payton Man of the Year. They need footage and I don’t want that, that’s not the point. I’m not doing it to try to get an award, that’s not what I’m up for. Sometimes you walk into the room and an eight-year old boy sees a camera, he’s not going to say anything. He’s nervous, he doesn’t feel well, that’s not what he wants. I really would rather go in and just have a conversation or have a talk or see if I can lift his spirits and get him to laugh. If he’s excited—if he is Giants fan or fan of me, let him show that excitement rather than be nervous for that environment. I’m not doing it for show. I don’t know if a clinic is in the works in this area. I kind of have been working with Hackensack and just ask them what they need. What do they want, what are they looking for, and how can I help out? In Mississippi, they needed a new children’s clinic so I said, “Yeah, let’s do that.” They gave me several options of what they were looking for, what they needed, and that’s the one I picked in Mississippi. In Hackensack it started out with the Tackle Kids Cancer and the kid’s cancer clinic was what I wanted to be part of so I joined with that team. Q: The way the game unfolded on Sunday, did that remind you at all of the Giants wins against the Patriots in the Super Bowls, especially on defense?
A: Well yeah, the way they got after Tom Brady and the pass rush getting on him. If you want to slow down a quarterback the best way to do it is get hits on him and make him throw it before he wants to, get sacks, and just disrupt the timing of the pass game. That’s what they were able to do. Obviously it’s a little different than the Super Bowl games where the Patriots have the call with a chance to go tie it up. The Broncos were able to get a stop. With the Patriots, you know it’s going to be a close game, you’re not going to blow them out. You’re going to have to make plays in the fourth quarter and the Broncos were able to do that. Q: We haven’t talked to you since the coaching change. Your thoughts on Ben McAdoo and how he’ll do as head coach?
A: I think Coach McAdoo will do a great job. I think he really does a wonderful job of holding court in the offensive meetings and getting his points across. I think he’ll continue to do a great job with the whole team. I’m excited for that. I think he’s ready and he’ll have a great staff of coaches. I think we’re close. I think we have some pieces in place that I’m excited about. I know we always need some new people, some areas where we need some help. I think the Giants are always committed to doing whatever it takes to get the right people and to get back to winning games and making playoffs and having that championship caliber squad. Q: If I could be bold enough to ask a Pro Bowl question: have you given any thought or have you talked to Odell at all about being the captain and maybe if his team would draft you?
A: I told Odell: I said “Odell hey, I know you’re captain, don’t feel any pressure to draft me. But if you don’t draft me, don’t expect to catch any balls next year. No pressure at all.” I left it at that, and I think he’ll make an educated decision at the draft.