Ever since falling 35 seconds short of a Super Bowl victory with the Cardinals three years ago, Antrel Rolle has been working toward another shot at the title.
A lone game with the San Francisco 49ers now stands in his way, and the safety briefly touched on the subject four days before the NFC Championship.
"You think about it," he said of a potential return to the Super Bowl. "I think that's what keeps you driving, but at the same time we have to take it one game at a time, one play at a time. I think that is our primary focus and that's going to be our only focus going into this game."
However, that's all he would say on the matter when the "S.B." words words brought up again. This time, he shifted the focus away from himself and his history.
"We're not answering questions about the Super Bowl right now," Rolle said. "I'll answer all of the questions you want about San Francisco, but questions about the Super Bowl I'm not going to answer."
Watching the film of the 49ers thriller over the Saints, there are a lot of questions Rolle and the defense will have to answer, beginning with their tight end.
The image of Vernon Davis walking to the sideline after scoring what would be the game-winning touchdown last week will not soon be forgotten. Nor will his stat line of seven catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
"I think he possesses different talents," Rolle said. "I think [all NFL tight ends] possess different talents. I think he's a lot faster than pretty much every tight end that you're going to face in this league. I think he's definitely amongst the fastest, if not the fastest. I think that's what puts him over the edge in the tight end category."
If it wasn't for his 31-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter, the Giants had Vernon Davis shut down for the previous three of their Week 10 matchup. Without the long touchdown that swung the momentum of the game, Davis had two catches for nine yards.
Since then, the Giants defense ran into some of the premier tight ends in the league and held its own against them during the final stretch of the season and into the playoffs. They limited Jason Witten in the regular season finale while the Falcons' future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez and the Packers' Jermichael Finley were each held to four catches and fewer than 50 yards.
Linebacker Michael Boley explained how they are doing it, as the same will apply to Davis.
"Keep giving them different looks," Boley said. "Don't give them something to key on. Keep giving them different looks, keep them off their game, and try to keep them off balance."
That answers that question.
Moving onto Alex Smith, the 49ers quarterback has been playing mistake-free football all season while his confidence is at an all-time high. His passing resume may have taken strides this season, but Rolle, who was once an NFC West rival, knows his mobility can also create problems.
Just ask the Saints, who witnessed Smith scramble for a 28-yard touchdown during four lead changes in the last four minutes of the divisional round. A day later, Aaron Rodgers was once again the leading rusher against the Giants, racking up 66 yards (9.4 average) with a long of 16.
"We faced a guy, Aaron Rodgers, last week that can run just as well as Alex Smith," Rolle said. "I played against him twice a year in Arizona so we're very aware of his capabilities. He is a great athlete as far as running the ball and throwing the ball. With that being said, we're going to rally to it. We're going to rally to it. I can promise you one thing, he won't run the ball too much."