Fifteen current Giants played in Super Bowl XLII and walked off the plane in Indianapolis yesterday, just like they did in Arizona four years ago.
That number, however, does not include the voodoo bear.
Rookie James Brewer was spotted on Monday coming down the stairs of the team charter with a brown, oversized stuffed bear slung over his shoulder. The unofficial mascot of the offensive line is usually situated outside of Kareem McKenzie's locker back in East Rutherford and was fortunate enough to travel to the Super Bowl last time. So it was only fitting it would make the trip again, given the outcome of Super Bowl XLII.
Because there were no rookies on the offensive line in 2007, the equipment staff packed the bear for the trip. But this season, Brewer was the lucky courier.
"This year they didn't pack him up like they did a couple years ago," McKenzie said during Media Day on the floor of Lucas Oil Stadium. "So someone had to go ahead and bring 'Little Bear.' We couldn't leave him at home, so James had to carry him. He's good-natured about it. Realistically, looking at, I mean let's be serious, if the worse thing he has to do is carry a bear on a plane to the Super Bowl his rookie year, I think any number of guys in the NFL would take that opportunity."
Contrary to what some assumed, the bear does not belong to Brewer.
"People thought it was mine," said Brewer, who played college football nearby at Indiana University. "So it's not my bear, it's kind of the team bear. I think being the only rookie on the O-line, it was, 'You're a rookie, go grab it.'"
McKenzie doesn't know exactly where the bear came from. But given his 6-foot-6, 330-pound frame, it seemed to fit.
"We call Kareem Big Bear, so that's Little Bear," Chris Snee said. "We thought we'd make a rookie carry it off the plane."
However it appeared, any piece of the Super Bowl victory four years ago is worth a seat on the plane.
"If I had an injury, they would go ahead and put the injury on Little Bear," McKenzie said. "So it's sort of like a voodoo thing almost, a little scary to a certain extent. But it just hung around me for the past couple of years. I have no idea who it came from or how it manifested itself into my football life.
"Right now, he's in the locker room by my locker," McKenzie said of the bear's current location in Indy. "He should have his own little locker, truthfully, so I can have a little extra space to go ahead and branch out a little bit."