INDIANAPOLIS – The black suits are gone and if you're looking for a guarantee, you're better off going to Rex Ryan.
The New York Giants are toning down the talk. It's not that Plaxico Burress, who guaranteed a Super Bowl victory in 2008 and caught the game-winning score to assure it, is long gone. It's that the Giants don't have to play the disrespect card.
Yeah, they're underdogs against the New England Patriots – according to the smart guys who set betting lines in Las Vegas – but the attitude coming into this game is decidedly different than four years ago.
"I know last time we came out here, and we all wore the black suits," Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck said. "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.
"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 [the Patriots] 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."
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New York isn't trying to slay an 18-0 team this time. Heck, the Giants have essentially been there and done that with the Patriots already this season, having won at New England in Week 9. Playing the underdog is a tough sell given this season's win and the victory in Super Bowl XLII.
"I wouldn't say we were brash four years ago. We were confident then, we're confident now," Giants guard Chris Snee said. "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."
The Giants, including talkative safety Antrel Rolle, were on their best behavior Monday as they arrived here for their first media event. Coach Tom Coughlin and six players, including Tuck, Snee, Rolle and quarterback Eli Manning, addressed the media.
There wasn't a bit of hubris to be found. Heck, the Giants didn't even seize the stretch of a story some reporters tried to create Sunday when New England quarterback Tom Brady made a passing reference to having a victory party to fans at a pep rally in New England.
Or as Tuck put it: "It was a pep rally … what do you expect?"
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Well, reporters can hope. A guarantee like the one Burress made in Arizona in 2008 would be cool. Then again, most players seemed a little bored with the idea of a guarantee.
Snee essentially sneered at the idea of one of his teammates putting some words on the line.
"If you need something like that to get you motivated in this game, you probably shouldn't be playing in this game," Snee said.
Yeah, but Media Day on Tuesday could be a great opportunity for that type of talk, particularly with running back Brandon Jacobs getting his day on stage. But if Jacobs stays in step with Rolle, there will be nothing to stir the pot.
"I'm just trying to go out there and be a player," said Rolle, who declared that the Giants would make the playoffs even after it fell to 6-6 after a four-game losing streak. "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."
Rolle then compared his style with quarterback Eli Manning's approach.
"He's not like me. He's nothing like me," Rolle said. "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're not here for fun. We're not here for anything other than to take care of the Patriots come Sunday night."
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