HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN
"Good afternoon. To the very nice people of Indianapolis that welcomed us, we say, 'Hello from the New York Giants and thank you for the beautiful weather.' We all packed as if we were coming into snow country, but obviously we didn't do a very good of anticipating. We're very happy to be here and it's an exciting time in all our lives. We look forward to this very historical event today, and I would think that the Indianapolis fans would now become Giants fans and support the Giants as well. We've been in anticipation of this, in coming out here to Indianapolis, of getting started on this wonderful Super Bowl week, of conducting our meetings and practices here and acclimating our players to the surroundings and having an opportunity to get over to the stadium tomorrow for media day. We're excited to get things started."
(on what P Steve Weatherford has brought to the table for the Giants) "He's done an outstanding job. We knew him as an excellent athlete and have done our homework on Steve. Obviously, he's a guy who comes very well prepared, energetic, an exceptional weight room worker, and a good example for a conditioning guy to be honest with you. All you need to do is look outside my office window and there he is; Mondays, Tuesdays he's out there running and doing extra conditioning. We knew him as a very versatile punter. He's come on and he's worked very hard to be the style of punter that we would employ as a Giant punter, and he's done a good job of that. He's become proficient as a directional punter, and I think he's improved as the year has gone along. He adds an element of excitement to our team in that he's been in four championship games and not advanced to the Super Bowl. He's very, very excited to be a part of this Super Bowl team."
(on his relationship with New England head coach Bill Belichick while they coached together with the Giants) "Well documented, but nevertheless Bill and I were assistant coaches together back on the Giants teams. I was not with the '86 team. I was fortunate enough to come in and be hired by Bill Parcells in 1988, and I was a part of the '88, '89, and '90 New York Giants, and of course a Super Bowl championship in 1990-91. Bill was the defensive coordinator and the secondary coach while I was the receivers coach. What we did was, early on there was a certain amount of competitiveness about the positions and the interaction of the positions. More than that, there was a spirit of cooperation. We helped each other and would act as each other's scout squad. We would take advantage during training camp of any opportunity we were given to work against each other, whether it be red zone work, one-on-one, or whatever. We would show him the design that he wanted to see, and he would show us the coverage that he wanted to see. We worked well together, and I think it was a very good thing for our staff to be honest with you because our cooperation was outstanding. Both sides, the secondary and receiving corps, benefitted from it."
(on what he admires about Belichick's coaching style and whether it changes how he prepares for the Patriots) "I certainly do admire him, and he's done an outstanding job. He's an exceptional football coach, and I've said that before. The style and the preparation…Bill is going to work very hard, as we are, at showing you something and it really isn't what you think it is. You really have to add an element of that into how you prepare. He's always been an exceptional defensive coach trained by the best, by Parcells. He's also become an outstanding offensive coach and Tom Brady has helped him to really diversify and get into areas offensively that only lead to the particular strengths of the individuals involved, and he's done a very good job of that. He's always been an outstanding special teamer because he was a special teams coach at one time."
(on what he learned from former Giants head coach Bill Parcells and how his coaching style has evolved to relate with today's players) "From Parcells, the thing that I admire mostly from Bill Parcells to George Young, Mr. Mara when I had the opportunity to tell him, was the belief in continuity, the stability. There were very few peaks and valleys. There was a feeling of pressure; the finger was always on the coaching staff and how they prepared their team and how the players responded to that. Ultimately, anyone who was around Parcells for any length of time learned how to win. That's the biggest thing I took away from it. When I left the head coach of the New York Giants and became the head coach at Boston College, it was an ideal time for me because I had just come off a Super Bowl championship. My confidence was very high and I believed in how our system worked and the infinite details that went into coaching assignments and working with players, etc. That's the way my head coaching opportunities began. I think you always stimulate yourself and you're always trying to improve. No matter what year it is and what the circumstance is, what I've always done is taken an offseason and launched myself into something that I can improve upon that our staff and our players can benefit from. That's how it's evolved for me."
(on what a second championship would do to his and quarterback Eli Manning's legacy) "I think for Eli it would be a great endorsement for the quality of football player he is, what kind of football season he has had, and what he means to our football team and our franchise. The second part of that is, it's not about me. That's the furthest thing from my mind is how this enhances my legacy or whatever term you used. That's nowhere 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 be, preparing our team to the best of our ability, and then playing exceptionally well, as best as we possibly can."
(on how he is able to set boundaries with players who are outspoken and say things about the team without crossing the line) "I think that, first and foremost, what you want to try and accomplish is that if a player has something he wants to say about the way business is being done, then come in, sit down, and talk to me. That's the basic bottom line. Players have personalities and they are who they are. You want a certain amount of that on your football team, but you don't want someone who puts themselves in a position to hurt your team. So, there's a standard there with how flexible you are. I thought that Michael Strahan, once he got to know us and know what our program was all about, he was a tremendous supporter of it and he did a great job as our defensive captain."
(on how valuable prior Super Bowl experience is) "I think it's important. What we have is a nucleus of guys who can relate to the younger players, who can talk to them now and have been talking to them for the last week, about how to conduct themselves in this environment, how to know exactly what's coming, how to deal with distractions and deal with all of the issues coming up from family and tickets and those type of things, trying to get that taken care of before we even come out here so that the player has no distractions out here whatsoever. The furthermore, the buildup to the football game, no matter how you want to put it, presented is something that these young guys have never, never gone through. Just the day of the Super Bowl and then the time on the field, if you're not comfortable with your team and making them understand that there is a lot of nervous energy that can be spent without actually accomplishing anything. I think there is any number of ways. Mostly, it's about attitude. Mostly, it's about where if you're in a position that the young player is responsive and he will listen to some of the players that have gone through this before…Eli stood up in the team meeting the other day and said a lot of things that were responded to not only by the young kids, but by the veterans as well. I think that the information gathering and sharing of information from someone who has been there and succeeded, that can be extremely valuable."
(on why the Giants decided to travel to Indianapolis today rather than yesterday and whether the flight seemed like a normal road trip or a trip to the Super Bowl) "First of all, this is the path that we followed four years ago. I thought it was a very good one and it came from research that I had done prior to setting the exact schedule. I felt that our players, because of arriving here when we do and because of media day tomorrow, have plenty of time to be accumulated to the hotel, to the setting, to the meeting rooms. You see these guys walking around now trying to find their way around. That'll all be taken care of when we go to work on Wednesday. I just felt like this whole process was very good, and the way in which our schedule was established. I thought it was very good for us the last time we did it. We tinkered with it a little bit here and there, with the circumstances that we have been dealt with meeting rooms and that type of thing, but for the most part, the schedule remains the same. The flight started out like a day in which we were making a normal travel to a game, and you kind of have to catch yourself realizing you have a lot of work to do throughout the course of the week. I think the players were excited. When we got on the plane, it was the video cameras and all of that stuff. They're excited about it."
(on how QB Eli Manning has performed this season and proved he is an elite quarterback) "The best thing that I can say to answer that question is his response when he was asked probably about the hundredth time that he was asked about that whole situation is, 'Look, I'm trying to be the best quarterback that I can possibly be and to help our team win.' And I thought, 'Boom, that's the answer.' I congratulated him on his response and I told the whole team about it. I think it's a good one. He's never ever been anything less than a top one to me, and that's all I care about. I certainly felt…I don't know if I got the entire story on it. What I really heard is this business about him being elite, and he is elite, period."
(on his level of concern of his team being in the middle of the downtown area) "Look, for me to be concerned with something that I didn't have anything to do with doesn't make any sense to me. We try to make our team aware of what it means being located in the center of town and what it means to be in a community where no matter where they go and whatever restaurant they're in, everyone is going to know who they are and that can be a good thing. You just have to make sure that you understand the circumstances and you go forth as a pro."
(on what has brought slot receivers into the forefront the past couple of seasons) "It certainly is a matchup thing, but obviously the better that you are at that spot, particularly with the underneath routes and the things that you can do to beat the one-on-one coverage and the quickness with which the ball can be released by the quarterback. If you're good enough and quick enough to get yourself in the middle of the field when the safeties divide, you provide the quarterback with an awful lot of weaponry. With Wes Welker, it certainly seems that the position has been made for his outstanding quickness and his ability to win the matchups and get on top against two-deep. In Victor Cruz, you have the same kind of young guy who has exceptional quickness and is learning as he goes along here and has had an exceptional year as he learns more about how to play at an NFL level."
(on how Coach Belichick's diverse strategies with personnel and game planning, and how difficult that is to plan for) "I think that's what we all try and strive for. There's always some kind of wrinkle that you have to try and defend and prepare for. Bill does an exceptional job of that. He's a football coach, and you have to prepare for the whole deal."
(on the biggest change or adjustment he has made since the Jacksonville era) "Probably patience. Picking my spots better in terms of the spontaneity that perhaps I would utilize in terms of trying to correct something right away. Maybe waiting and picking my spot. Mainly, I think it's more patience."
(on beating the Patriots on two last-minute drives the last two times they have met) "If I got the question right, each year is a different year and each team is a different team. Certainly the Patriots have been able to prove that they've been able to drive the ball at the end of the game and win, and fortunately so have the Giants."
SAFETY ANTEL ROLLE(on having a team composed of 19 players with Super Bowl playing experience) "I know what to expect. I know what to expect on pretty much every level. I'll be honest with you; I kind of forgot what this feeling felt like. Getting off the plane, it was a remarkable feeling. It was a feeling of comfort and a well-deserved atmosphere. You have to be prepared for anything (this week). Most of all, you have to keep your eye on the prize and understand that this is a business trip. We're not here for fun. We're not here for anything other than to take care of the Patriots come Sunday night."
(on whether there will be problems keeping the team focused this week) "I don't think we'll have that problem. We have a very focused group of guys, of men, of veterans. As far as young guys, the young guys have been doing an excellent job of following suit. They're (a) main reason why we're here at this point and we're going to continue (with) that drive and that focus."
(on New England WR Deion Branch) "People who prepare against him, they understand how good Deion is. Deion is the best in this league. He understands all the tricks of the trade to this game, and most of all, he's great for (the New England) system. He fits in that system extremely well. I think Deion definitely gets his due. Maybe not in the media or in the press, but within his team as an organization, I feel he gets his due."
(on the problems posed by the New England tight ends) "They're great tight ends. I think they both (TE Rob Gronkowski and TE Aaron Hernandez) possess great qualities. Whereas Hernandez, I think he's a glorified tight end, and Gronkowski, I think he just pretty much does it all. He has great hands, great route-running and catch(ing) ability, and most of all he just always finds a way to get open."
(on whether he prepares differently given the injury to New England TE Rob Gronkowski) "No, not at all. This is the biggest game of the year. (New England) wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for him, so he's going to do whatever he has to do to make sure he's ready for this game, and we understand that."
(on whether he is concerned about the hype during the week) "I'm not worried about the hype. I'm not too big on the hype. I'll just make sure that whenever I have some downtime in my room that I'm studying to make sure I'm the best prepared guy on the field come Sunday."
(on the mood of the team on the plane to Indianapolis) "It was great. Same as always. Like I said, we're not going to get beside ourselves. We're not going to do anything different that we haven't done for the previous 20 weeks. We're going to go and we're going to play ball."
(on whether the confidence that New England has shown affects his team) "It doesn't matter at all. The game (still) has to be played on Sunday. And the only thing that is going to determine the outcome of the game are the players in the game, who's going to take the field and who's going to be on either side. No talk, no media, no speculation, no parties, none of that stuff is really relevant at this point."
(on his experience switching from cornerback to safety several seasons ago) "My experience was just based off that I was in a system that I really didn't like. I was in an off-the-man system and I really just didn't understand the scheme. Now that I know much more about football, it just wasn't a good scheme, for me or for anyone else who was playing the cornerback position. So it was just a decision that I made to go to safety and use my skills otherwise."
(on the toughest part of the position change) "The toughest part is probably the mental aspect of the game. Corner is a lot easier than playing safety. In safety, you have to know the fronts, you have to know the linebackers are in, you have to know your gap assignment, you have to understand that you are the quarterback of the defense. When playing corner, you just need tunnel vision and to know the coverage. That's the biggest difference."
(on whether he brings swagger to his team) "I'm just trying to go out there and be a player. If swagger is what it is, that that's what it (is). I don't approach every game the same. Some games I might be the most quiet guy in the locker room. Sometimes I might be the most amped in the locker room. I never know what I'm going to be, so I might as well just go out and play it by ear and be whoever I'm supposed to be on that given day."
(on team owner John Mara and the New York Giants ownership) "Great, great ownership. Outstanding ownership. (Mara) is definitely close with the players, with the staff and with the coaches. I love it. I would definitely love to retire a Giant and be a part of this franchise for as long as I can."
(on if he had confidence in team owner John Mara during the lockout) "Absolutely. Our organization and our ownership did something no other team in the NFL did, and I don't have to speak on what that was, but my mother helped me realize and open my eyes to (the fact that we) have some outstanding owners, owners with a heart. That's something you have to be appreciative of. It's not all about football. It's about having a heart and having someone who is close-knit with you and who understands what the majority is going through.
(on his feelings about QB Eli Manning's speech to the team during the Super Bowl bye week) "I've been learning a lot about Eli all year long. I think that that guy has been exceptional, not only on the field, but off the field. I think his attitude, his confidence, his approach has been remarkable. I needed to hear (what Manning said). Even though I've been (to the Super Bowl) before, it's something that I also needed reiterated to myself, and I'm glad he said what he said. Eli doesn't talk much, so you know when Eli stands up – and he had a look on his face – that you knew it was time for business. Eli and I, we have a lot of personal conversations, and him standing up and saying that, you just heard chatter going around the room, like 'Wow.' He's our guy, man. We don't do this without No. 10. Everything else falls into place after that."
(on what he feels about QB Eli Manning being thoughtful with his words) "I love it. He's not like me. He's nothing like me. Whatever I feel in a moment, I'm going to say, and I think he definitely picks his moment. But we also understand him as a teammate. And the guys who are close to him, his running backs, his receivers, those guys are always on the same page and I see his leadership with them in and out, every day. We love Eli, man. We're going to ride and die with him no matter what the situation is, and he's the reason why we're here, without a doubt."
(on his personality) "I don't know. I think it definitely comes from my family. My mother's a counselor, my father's a police chief, and, honestly, they haven't always been that successful. I've seen them climb the mountain and I've seen the hard work it took for them to get there. And through it all, you know, they've had some pats on the butts, but they've always stood strong for what they believed. I guess that trickled down to me, because that's honestly the way I see things. A lot of times I've (taken) a lot of heat for a lot of things, and I understand that, but, at the same time, I don't care what the outsiders say. I only care about what's going to happen and what's going to come forth in our locker room with our guys. My teammates understand me and that's the only people I really care (about) who need to understand me. They know that I've never been a problem, I'll never be a problem, and everything I say is for the betterment of this team. They understand that and we're moving forward."
(on if there is a certain attitude among the team's defense) "I think as defensive unit, we've had a lot of struggles this year. But right now we have a badass mentality. That's the way we like to look at it, that's the way we want to keep it, and we're very confident in our approach. But most of all, I think we're very smart in our approach, meaning that everyone is on the same page at the same time and we have a clear understanding of what every guy is doing, not only yourself. So, you know, we're a very intellectual team, and we take pride in that. But, at the same time, when the bell goes off on Sunday, we're in attack mode. That's the way we look at it."
(on how much of the defensive attitude comes from defensive coordinator Perry Fewell) "Perry Fewell is an exceptional guy. He's a brilliant guy, mindset-wise, and he's a very fiery guy. I think it definitely trickles down to us. We feed off of him, he feeds off of us, and we're one. When it's all said and done, we're one."
DE JUSTIN TUCK(on the key to rattling Tom Brady) "I think it starts with hitting him, even when you don't actually get sacks, just keeping people around him so he can't step up. I think he gets a little frustrated when he has to go to his second or third receivers. You can kind of confuse him sometimes with our coverage. I think there are a lot of things that can get him rattled, but it just seems like not too many people are able to do that."
(on what the Giants were able to do so well against Brady in their previous Super Bowl meeting) "I think it's just pressure. We had a lot of hits on him. Even when we didn't hit him, he didn't have the time to sit back there and allow some of the routes to develop. We know that as a D-line, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure that we are in his face. He is a hell of a quarterback, and he is going to do a lot of things to throw us off our rhythm. I really expect them to use their screen game, quick throws to kind of get us out of rhythm early. You are going to get your shots because they are an explosive offense and they like to take shots downfield, too. We are going to have our chances, and we just are going to have to do a great job of taking advantage of them."
(on if hitting Brady around his legs is more important since his ACL surgery) "It doesn't matter if he had surgery or not. As an athlete, you don't want anybody around your legs. As a D-lineman, I don't want O-linemen cutting me. I'm sure as a quarterback, you don't want guys diving at your knees either. I'm sure that would find a way to get to his psyche a little bit, but I don't think it has anything to do with him just being a quarterback. I think it has a lot to do with just athletes in general."
(on if the Giants are more subdued this Super Bowl) "Yeah. Honestly, for us, that '07 thing was kind of like us coming together as a football team. We just said we wanted to kill a dynasty, and that's what they were. But now, we've been here before and we felt as though all that is secondary. We just want to come in here and have our mind focused on playing a great football game, and not really getting caught up in all the hoopla around the game."
(on if this feels like a regular game) "I don't know how many people were out there today to send us off, but I don't know that we've had that when we just went and played a regular football game. We all know what the game is. A lot of times you say it doesn't hit you until you actually get here. I think it hit us. I think it hit us early, and I think just seeing the focus of the last couple of practices we had before we left, you could kind of tell that guys elevated their passion about this sport. They understand that you are in the Super Bowl, and this is where 30 other teams wish they could be. It's going to be something you will never forget, so we knew where we were going."
(on if this Super Bowl has a different feel than the previous one) "Not really. We didn't really buy into all the underdog stuff last time. We knew it was there, and we knew nobody was giving us a shot, but we always believed in ourselves. It's still the same here. I hope to say it would be the same if we were favored or not, that we believe in ourselves. That's all that really matters. We never really cared what other people outside of those guys in that locker room or our owners or our coaching staff has said anyway."
(on if he heard about Brady's party) "No sir."
(on what it says about the two teams playing such close games against each other) "It says that it's just two great teams. That football team over there has been, I think, the model of consistency for the last 10, 11 years in this league. We've tried to kind of hang with them a little bit. In these games, it goes back to the whole Boston-New York thing. These games have always been kind of a little bit more elevated than people outside the game would know. We're looking forward to it again. We think it's going to be another fourth quarter game. It always does come down to it in games with them because, I think, we are so evenly matched. We know each other pretty well, even though we are not in the same division or we play each other every year. Our coach and their coach have been on the same staff. We are kind of built the same way that they are. So, it's a lot of … I don't know. We're very familiar with each other, I guess."
(on the frustration of his season due to the injuries and if he is 100%) "I'm not 100%. I don't think anybody is 100%. It's just something you deal with as a football player. I think, for me personally, I allowed it to kind of affect me mentally going into some of the early games this year. That really took a toll on me as just a person, because, me personally, I wanted to be the leader this football team can always look to. I thought I had to do that by only what I do on the football field – only sacks and tackles for loss and things like that. This has been an eye-opening experience for me knowing that leadership doesn't necessarily have to do with how you play on the field. It has a lot to do with what goes on behind closed doors and how you can motivate guys in other situations. I have learned a lot from that this year, and I think it has made me a better football player, better person."
(on if he would have liked to have a big pep rally to send off the Giants) "Not at all. I wish we could have flown in at night with nobody knowing we were here, and I could have woke up to do this instead of having everybody cheer you on because all that … What for? Nobody wants to talk about (partying) before the Super Bowl. Everybody wants to talk about after it. If you leave this place being the winner of the 46th Super Bowl, then you can have as many parties, you can have as many pep rallies, you can do whatever you want to do after that. Until that happens, I could care less for all the hoopla."
(on the Patriots' pep rally) "I have heard about it.
(on if he has seen the Patriots' pep rally) "No."
(on the success of the Giants' pass rush late in the season) "We've been a little healthier. We have played more games with each other. JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) has had a great year all year long. Me and Osi (Umenyiora) have kind of battled with injuries and never really got in-sync, I guess. But, these last couple of weeks, we have had the opportunity to play with each other. I think chemistry is very important to the play of four down-linemen. That '07 year, we played the whole year with each other, and we just knew how to play off each other. I think a lot of times this season we've kind of got in each other's way, if you believe that, because insertions, you just didn't know how guys were going to play off of certain looks. But, the last couple of weeks, it just seems like all that has started to go our way."
(on how the pass rush benefits the linebackers and secondary) "Obviously, if you have seven guys back there, you can kind of cover up a few more of the holes. When you have a pass rush that is hot and is going well, you don't have to cover as long so you can take a few more gambles, you can do a few more things coverage-wise to confuse a quarterback or give him some different looks."
(on why the Giants continue to respond to Tom Coughlin) "I think this team responds to Coach Coughlin because you know what to expect from him. I know we have had some roller coasters and some ups and downs, but he has always stayed consistent. I think it's the players that haven't. But, the last couple of weeks, you can just tell that we have rallied behind him. It's something about kind of being backed into a corner or being backed against a wall. It seems like we were there at 7-7, and we've come out fighting. I think he has done a great job as far as … When Coach Coughlin comes up, everybody wants to talk about how rough he is, how unforgiving he is, how the reigns are pulled back pretty tight on the football team, but playing for him is golden for me. You know exactly what to expect from him, you know what he expects from you. It's easy to go out and do your job when you don't have to go out and worry about what we are doing here, what are we doing there. I love playing for the guy, and I hope I get to play the rest of my career for him."
(on if the team still has the brashness that they had during the last Super Bowl) "A little bit of it. But, at the end of the day, it's just all about coming out here and getting the win. That's what we're focused on. I know last time we came out here, and we all wore the black suits. I know a lot of people asked us about that. I think this team is focused on the fact that the '07 team and this team are completely different, so we kind of wanted our own identity. But, a lot of that has still stayed the same. It's a team that believes in itself, believes in our coaches. Sometimes you can kind of get misunderstood for brashness, I guess."
(on if the Giants' defense and pass rush are in the Patriots' heads) "No. They are professionals, and they understand that any given Sunday those guys can come out and play this game just like we have never beaten them before. I expect us to do the same thing. But, this game will not be won off what we did in '07 or what we did earlier this year. It will not be. I hope we don't fall into that trap of believing that because that team has won 10 straight. They are playing, I think, better football – team football – than they played in '07. But, I think we are playing better team football than we played in '07. It's going to be a fun matchup. It's going to be a fun atmosphere, and I am looking forward to it."
(on Osi Umenyiora's comments that the Patriots' offensive line is dirty) "That was an individual matchup between Osi and (Patriots T) Matt (Light). I'm not even going down that road."
(on how he thinks the Patriots' offensive line plays) "I think they play well together. I haven't seen anything on film that would suggest them being dirty. But, honestly, in the trenches everybody has some kind of dirtiness to them, offensively or defensively – you have to. You can't play this game without it or you will get pushed around. I think anytime you talk about D-line or offensive line play, the word dirty can be used."
(on if the team feels like underdogs) "We didn't feel like underdogs in '07. I told you all earlier, we don't care what the odds makers or the insiders or whatever they may be, say about these game lines. Any given Sunday, any day you line up, you can be beat or you can win. So, do we feel like underdogs? No."
(on if they feel like the home team) "I haven't got the opportunity to even be here long enough. But, I could see why a lot of the Colts' fans would root for the Giants."
(on the comeback season of Mathias Kiwanuka) "It's just fitting that he gets the opportunity to come back to Indianapolis and play in the Super Bowl after what happened with him personally, with his brother. It's been a rough road for him. We are all very happy for him and hoping that we can get a happy ending to this for him because he definitely deserves it. He is a competitor, and he never kind of hung his head either way. He knew he had a long road to go back, and you talk about neck injuries, that is always something very scary. But, that guy is not faulted either way. He continued to work, he continued to come back. He deserves everything that is coming his way right now."
(on the defensive line playing off of each other) "It's just having that chemistry with each other and knowing that in certain down-and-distances or certain calls, how Osi likes to play it, or in certain formation sets, how I know JPP (Jason Pierre-Paul) likes to maybe make an inside move to this or to that. That's what I mean by playing off each other."
(on the team's Super Bowl experience being a big deal) "I think it is. I don't know how much of a big deal it is comparing ours to theirs, because they have been to a few themselves. But, having been here the first time in '07 and kind of being wet behind my ears then, I know what I know now is completely different. Knowing what to expect and knowing how to prepare yourself for this football game is totally different. I think the experience can help, but at the end of the day, it's all about playing good football. If the experience helps you play good football, then there you go."
on what he is telling the younger guys this time around) "Play good football. That's all that matters. Don't get caught up in all the hoopla because we are not going to any parties. We set a curfew earlier than what we did last time. The party starts Monday, or the party starts Sunday night for one of these two teams. We are going to try to do our best to do everything in our power to make sure that we are partying Sunday night. That's all that matters."
(on how many times he has heard the word "finish" this season) "I have heard 'finish' just as much as I have heard 'Justin.' A lot. That is something that Coach Coughlin definitely believes in. It's kind of evident in some of the games we've won. You are never out of the fight, you always have the opportunity to finish. I think this team realizes that you can't succeed without finishing. There have been times where we have come back and when games looked like we weren't going to finish, and there have been games that we have lost because we didn't finish. The Philadelphia game last year comes to mind, and that's something that sticks in all of our hearts. That's one of the reasons why this offseason was so critical for us to kind of put that as a battle cry for us."
(on how closely they monitor Rob Gronkowski's injury) "You know what, if he plays, I am sure he is going to help that football team out. If he doesn't, I am sure they've got other plans. They have a lot of weapons on that team – it's not just about him. I don't know. I'm sure they've got something planned to counter the fact that he won't be 100%. But we're not approaching it any different than if he wasn't 100%. We are going to approach it like he is 100%."
(on if Tom Brady proclaiming that he hopes there is a party in New England amounts to trash talk) "Man, it was a pep rally. What was he supposed to say? I don't think it's Tom doing anything but getting fans riled up."
(on Eli Manning's leadership and maturation) "It's funny how things leak out of a locker room, but it's not like that's the first speech we've had this year, not like it's the first from Eli we've had this year. But, I think why he did it was because he has been there before. He has been a Super Bowl MVP. He knows what it takes to get a football team ready for a game like this. He is just trying to give some of the young guys a heads up about what to expect, and he has matured this season. I've talked about it with a lot of different people about how he has matured considering New York being the media capital of the world. He'll tell you right now, head coaching and quarterback-play in New York City, you always get a little bit more of the blame when you lose and maybe a little bit more of the praise when you win. It takes a strong person to be in the position that he is in and take some of the criticism he has taken over his career and bounce back the way he has."
QB Eli Manning(on what a second Super Bowl Championship would mean to him) "You don't think about that as a player. You concentrate on the opponent, that's New England – trying to get ready for them. You try to keep your mind focused on the job and what style of football it's going to take to win this game. If you get concerned with other things, it takes your focus off what your job has to be for this coming Sunday. That's the mindset of the players and the coaches – just trying to get ready and focused to go out there and play your best football."
(on whether the uncertainty with Peyton Manning's football future causes him to have a deeper appreciation for the game) "If you play this game long enough you realize how precious each season is and how precious these opportunities are. You don't know if you're going to get a chance to play in another Super Bowl. You don't know when a season might be cut short on you. It's not just reminding me because of what Peyton's going through. Having had numerous teammates get injured and miss the season or all of a sudden their careers get cut short or they have to retire; those things happen. You're reminded of that yearly. You understand that in a season when you feel like you have a good team and you have good players and you have an opportunity where you can go win a championship, you don't want to let those things slip away because you just don't know if you're going to get another opportunity."
(on why he felt it was important to give the team a speech about his last experience at the Super Bowl) "I know everyone is excited. When we had the meeting last week, it was a Tuesday. We had just come off a big win. We were excited about going to the Super Bowl. Our families were excited, there were a lot of things going on. I just wanted to make sure guys knew the importance of the practices last week. That week, when we were back in New Jersey, those practices are the time when we need to have our best practices. The focus has to be there and our preparation has to be at its best because when you get to Indianapolis, your schedule is thrown off. All the things that you might normally do during the week, it might be a little tougher to get the extra work in. So, I just told them to treat this week like you're playing on Sunday. (I told them to) handle all the business with tickets and family, make sure all that was handled last week, so when we get to Indianapolis your focus is on getting the game plan and having the mindset that this is a business trip and we have to go play our best football."
(on whether there was a turning point this season for the Giants) "I don't know if it was one specific time. Obviously, the win at Dallas was a big one. There was a stretch there when we lost four in a row – going to play a division team, a team that was first place in the NFC East at that point. It was going to be tough to make the playoffs if we didn't win the division at that time. We knew we had to go in and play well against a good team. They were playing good football. We got back on a winning streak – got us back to that winning feeling. It was a big win at the time. The Jets' game was another big one. Our defense played outstanding. Offensively we didn't do much, but we didn't make many mistakes. We were able to rely on the defense and not put them in harm's way. From then on, our defense has been playing outstanding. Offensively we've been playing smart football. We've been making plays. If we don't put our defense in harm's way, if we don't make mistakes and make turnovers, we can win games playing great defense and playing smart offensively."
(on the similarities between the Giants' Super Bowl run this year compared to four years ago) "As a player, it's not our job to compare these two seasons. The fact that we're playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl, that's the similarity. That's the only thing that I want to think about. We know that they're a very talented team. We're going to have to play great football. They have tremendous players on both sides of the ball. They have a way of making comebacks at the end. They have a quarterback who has been able to do that for a long time. On both sides of the ball, we are going to have to play our best football. We are going to have to play for 60 minutes. You can't let up or relax or give them any easy field position or easy points because they'll take advantage of it."
(on whether this trip to the Super Bowl feels different than his last trip and whether he plans to visit Peyton Manning this week) "It feels very similar. You're just excited to be here, like the last time. It's not a situation where you feel more comfortable or you have a better idea of what to expect. You may have a better idea of media day, tomorrow, and what to expect. You don't want to be so relaxed you have a great feeling that everything is going to work out perfectly. You still want to prepare hard and get all your studying in, and make sure you're doing everything to get your team ready to play. That's still the mentality, knowing that we have a lot of work to do. It's all going to come down to making sure we play our best football on Sunday. That's the ultimate goal.
"I don't have any plans, right now, to see Peyton. I know I won't be going over to his house anytime this week. The last Super Bowl I played in, he was in Arizona starting on Wednesday or Thursday and I never saw him then. I'll talk to him throughout the week, like I always do. Besides that, I am going to keep my normal routine and probably will not see a whole lot of family throughout the week."
(on the Giants staying in downtown Indianapolis) "It's something that we will have to see as the week goes how that affects us and how we have to deal with that. In Arizona we were away from the action. There wasn't a whole lot going on around us which was nice. Obviously, there will probably be more distractions. Getting around the hotel might be a little more crowded. If you want to go somewhere or go outside for a little bit, there will probably be more fans around. That is something as a team, each individual needs to realize that and understand that you can't get distracted. You can't let these things get in the way of our preparation and what we have to do to get ready to play on Sunday."
(on playing in Peyton Manning's shadow ) "Peyton has been a great big brother to me and very helpful in my progression as a quarterback whether through college or the NFL. He has supported me and given me any tips he could think of, especially my first couple of years. For a Christmas present, he bought me a computer that stores all our software to watch film at home. He would want to do anything for me to be a better quarterback, to help me play at a high level. He has been very helpful at that. In his case, he's been the guy who I've looked up to. Not just because of what he's done in the NFL, but since I started watching him play football when he was in the seventh grade and the starting quarterback. I didn't miss one of his games from the time he was in seventh grade through high school. I saw every one of his games. I tried to see every college game, whether on TV or attending. He is someone who I've watched closely, talked to and worked with on drops and different (techniques). When he went off to college he would come back and things his coaches were teaching him in college, he would come back and teach to me when I was in eighth grade or in high school, just so I would have an advantage. We've had a very close relationship. I thank him for all that he's provided me and helping me become a better quarterback."
(on the possibility of winning a Super Bowl in Peyton Manning's city) "I really have not thought much about playing in Indianapolis. It's not really a time to reflect right now on that. It's just a matter of trying to get ready for the Patriots and get ready to play this game, and get ready for their defense. We'll look back on the fact of playing in the Super Bowl in the town where he plays for the Colts. We'll look on that later."
Guard Chris Snee(on Manning's development in the pocket) "He's done a great job this year of sliding one way or another, keeping his eyes down field - that's where we've had a lot of our big plays this year. From him buying an extra second, delivering the ball - he's definitely done a much better job of that."
(on Jason Pierre-Paul 's talents) "How big he is, how powerful he is and yet he has unbelievable athletic ability and speed. He has every tool you need. The scary part is he's really just beginning his career and learning how to play. It's exciting."
(on the turning point in the season after the comeback win at Dallas) "We wanted to keep playing. That's really what we faced from the Jets game on. We weren't ready to be finished yet. We wanted to keep on playing, more confidence. It was as simple as we wanted to keep playing."
(on the normalcy of the trip) "We came in and did the normal stuff we'd do on a Saturday morning and then left the same time we normally did. It was a nice short flight but it was normal."
(on his confidence level) "No doubt. You have to be when you get off the plane. You reach this game for a reason – it wasn't by luck or chance. You have to be confident."
(on being pinned the underdog and how that affects their play) "We'll still probably play it. We'll find someone who picks against us. If we're chosen as the underdog, we'll take notice but that's not the driving force. The ultimate is winning the Super Bowl.It doesn't matter to me if we're underdog or favorite."
(on the importance of the offensive line) "The trenches are important every game. Honestly, we feel that is where games are won or lost. Although, if you look at last week's game, Eli (Manning) got hit quite a bit, so people might call me a liar on that part. We feel as we must set the tempo and be the most physical group on the field."
(on fellow LB Mark Herzlich) "Tremendous story. It just speaks to the type of guy he is – the courage. Obviously, he has had to put in so much hard work just to gain the strength back. It speaks to what type of guy he is.")
(on Manning's durability) "He's a tough guy. He's a competitor and has that burning desire to win games. That's nice to see in your quarterback. He's the ultimate competitor."
(on Manning's leadership) "He's not a guy who goes up there for the sake of speaking. He has a message and that's why everyone listens. That tells you what kind of leader he is for our football team. Last week, he gave a brief message explaining what this trip means for us. "
(on confidence leading into this game) "We're very confident. We feel like we're playing good football right now. The thing is you have two teams with great momentum - New England has won ten or 11 games in a row. It should shape up to be a good game. Recent play has led to an increase in confidence for us."
(on level of this game) "Once tomorrow is over with, we'll take a step back and move from there. Especially for the young guys who haven't been here before, it'll be something. We're just going to enjoy and when it's time to work on Wednesday, we can focus."
(on Eli Manning's attitude after taking shots) "He doesn't complain. I don't think I've ever been in a game when he's done that. He just goes off the field, looks at his pictures - I'm sure he knows who hit him and what guy is responsible, but he's not calling anyone out."
(on looking at film after the San Francisco loss in the regular season) "It was tough. It was a game where we had to sit there, make notes, figure out what we did wrong. Know what they did – every movement or twist."
(on being a brash team four years ago) "I wouldn't say we were brash four years ago. We were confident then, we're confident now –that's the similarity. If that rubs people the wrong way, then so be it. I don't think guys are crossing the line – we're a confident bunch and you need that going into this game."
(on being the underdog) "It doesn't matter. That will all be decided on Sunday. It does nothing to us."
(on feelings towards New England) "We want to beat them this week. I wouldn't say we dislike them - it's not because they win so much. Sometimes, you just want to see someone else hoist the trophy."
(on plays against Albert Haynesworth in week nine) "I don't think that lead to his release. He's a heck of a player. I was just trying to finish the season."
(on the momentum after the comeback win at the Cowboys) "It was huge for our season. We were down 12 at five minutes to go – obviously, you know what happens if we don't win that game. I feel like you can say that for so many games from our season. I felt like it was constantly a fourth-quarter game. We got it done."
(on Victor Cruz's salsa dancing) "I didn't see it until I got home. I liked it. Not something I am capable of doing – it works for him. My sons have caught on."
WR Victor Cruz
WIDE RECEIVER VICTOR CRUZ
(on how often he's had to pinch himself as the season has gone along) "I think I still have the sore mark right here on my arm. It's been an amazing ride for me man. It's one that I didn't imagine having initially. I just wanted to come in and do some good things and see where I could fit into this team. It's been amazing."
(on if he consciously came up with his end zone dance the first time he scored) "No, it just kind of happened. It was one of those things where I was coming into the week and it was Hispanic Heritage Month around Week 3. My coaches were like, 'Man, you've got to do something special. You're half Puerto Rican and you've got to do something to really get the people fired up.' So I said alright, and whatever, as I wasn't expecting to get into the end zone as it was my first start. So I got into the end zone and as I'm running in, I was like, 'Wow, I need to do this thing now.' It's just something that kind of came about and then my grandmother loved it. It just continued from there."
(on dance instructors in New York stating that his dance is not technically correct) "This is my way. When those dance instructors get into the end zone, they can do it whatever way they want to."
(on if there is some irony in that he was not invited to Indianapolis for the Combine) "I guess so. Being from a small school, I understand how that whole thing goes. I wasn't 6-5, 220 pounds or I didn't have off the wall statistics, so I understood how that whole thing goes. I'd rather be here for the Super Bowl now than the Combine."
(on if he was disappointed that he wasn't invited to the Combine) "No, I wasn't disappointed. I just knew whatever opportunities were in front of me, whether it be Pro Day, Combine, or whatever it was, I just had to make the best of it. I had two pro days. One was at Boston College and one up at UMass. I just did the best I could and was fortunate enough to open up some minds."
(on what it says about the draft process and the League that they can miss some big talents that go undrafted) "I just think there are so many guys out there. There are so many guys that you're essentially just taking a chance on. Some guys just slip under the radar. Once those hidden gems kind of get figured out and somebody sees them and they get their opportunity to make the best of it, then it's a great opportunity. It's a great shot that they took. If they don't, then it's another one bites the dust."
(on if he sees opportunities to exploit the Patriots' pass defense) "I think so. Any time you look at a defense and you see a receiver playing defensive back, you automatically open your eyes up and want to exploit those matchups. Going into the game, we just have to understand and see where we can exploit them and see what coverages they come out in and what they do defensively against us. It should be an interesting time to see how they do and see how they play us. We'll see how it goes."
(on if he thinks he can exploit matchups against Devin McCourty, who has struggled this season) "Anytime you line up and you're playing football, as a competitor, you think you've got a good shot. Anytime I line up against anybody, doesn't matter who it is, I think I have a good shot to do some good things, catching the football and making good things happen."
(on the biggest surprise this season in terms of the attention he received) "I think just all of it. I think the 'Dancing with the Stars' thing was pretty eye-opening. It's just been an incredible ride. I can't even put it into words. Sometimes I kind of think back to where I was a year ago and where I am now, it's just a complete 180. It's just amazing."
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Super Bowl XLVI – Monday, January 30, 2012
QUOTES FROM NEW YORK GIANTS MEDIA SESSION
MORE WIDE RECEIVER VICTOR CRUZ
(on how the difficult times have helped shape him as a person) "They've just helped me to learn to battle through adversity, battle through things that I wasn't comfortable battling through and understand those moments and just battling through them. Understand that this is something that God has placed before me that I can handle, and I just have to get through it and keep plugging away. He'll get me out the other end of the tunnel."
(on who he is most thankful to for helping him along the way) "Definitely my mother. She's the one that has kept me humble and grounded and just made sure that she never gave up on me. As many times as she could have, as many times as she could've just dropped the ball and say, 'Forget it. You're just screwing up and you're just not going to be anything.' She never did that. She never gave up on her son. I thank her for it every day."
(on who is most thankful for on the Giants team) "Everyone, man. Everyone. The staff. Everyone that believed in my talent. Everyone that was up there during the whole process that believed in me and really gave me a chance. The entire organization has just been a class act and they treated me just like anybody else."
(on what the plane ride was like coming into Indianapolis) "Guys were excited, initially, getting on the plane and sitting down, everybody was talking. Everybody was videotaping and recording everybody. It was cool going in. Once we got in the air, everybody was relaxed, falling asleep, things of that nature. It was a good flight."
(on if he's spoken to any of his UMass coaches or teammates and what their thoughts were on everything) "I speak to Coach (Brian) Crist, my former receivers coach there, and I speak to (former quarterback) Liam Coen all the time. He was texting me earlier today. They are just proud of me. They've seen how far I've come. They really have been around for my entire journey, so it definitely has been great to talk to those guys. They're just proud of me."
(on if there is a veteran player that has pulled him aside and given him advice on what to expect this week) "I think it was Deon Grant. Deon Grant just came up to me and was like, 'Man, just enjoy it. Enjoy the moment. Understand what you have to do. Focus. Understand what you do well and hone it on that. Watch film. Watch all the film you get. Don't let the moment consume you. Don't get overwhelmed with this. It's just another game. We just get a trophy at the end. That's the only difference.'"
(on at what point they'll be able to flip the switch back to it feeling like any other game) "I think that's going to happen right when we get to practicing. We got today off and tomorrow is Media Day. Right after that, I think I'm going to flip the switch and we start practicing and start getting into those meeting rooms. It's all business after that and we have to go out and prepare to win a game."
(on what he is expecting to be different with the Patriots from the first time they played earlier this season) "I don't know. They did a lot of good things. They executed very well on offense. I think they're going to change some things defensively, mainly because of our three receivers and they've struggled a little bit throughout the season in that area. We'll see what they do. We'll see how they come out and play us. It should be an interesting matchup."
(on how he would describe the Giants season) "I would describe it as up and down, a little bit of a roller coaster. When we had to play right and when we had to play the right way, we hit our stride at the right time and we've been playing great ever since."(on the importance of the slot receiver) "It's important because it's just another tool, another tool you can use inside. It causes some matchup problems because when you get a smaller or faster guy in there in the slot, it's harder for guys like linebackers. You have to bring in another defensive back into the game and typically that's their third or fourth best guy on defense. It's just a subtle difference that they have."
(on similarities between him and Wes Welker) "Yeah, he's a guy that I've looked at growing up. You always watch the best in the League and he's definitely one of the best at his craft and at his position. He's definitely a guy that I take a few things from and you add it to your game."
(on if he gets antsy about the thought of scoring a postseason touchdown as his teammates have scored multiple times) "Of course. You want to go in and score, and you want to get into the end zone one time in the postseason. You understand your role and your role is to catch everything that is thrown to you and make the best play possible. It's just something that comes with the territory and I'm happy with those guys. When those guys score, I feel like I score. I feel like a part of me scores. Whenever any of them score, I feel like it's for the good (of the team)."
(on facing the Patriots for the second time this season) "We're really familiar with them and it's different because you have to game plan a little differently and understand that they've seen a lot of your stuff. You have to come in and try to disguise a few things, and not let them get a good beat on you. It'll be a challenge for us and coming in, we'll see how they play us and adjust accordingly."
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