Since the actual Super Bowl game doesn't start until late this afternoon/evening at the very earliest (and Tuesday afternoon at the very latest), let's throw a few longer reads out there to get you through the interminable wait...
-- First, you should know that Carl of Aqua Teen Hunger Force picks the Giants. Lay down your money! [Adult Swim]
-- Chris Brown of Smart Football has a brilliant piece up about the Vince Wilfork of the Patriots, and how Wilfork's gap versatility on the New England defensive line allows Bill Belichick to run one- and two-gap schemes in ways that other teams simply can't. Bonus: You'll get a good primer on the hybrid fronts that have taken over the NFL in recent years. [Grantland]
-- Who was the hidden factor behind the mellowing Tom Coughlin had to undergo if he was ever to reach his players? Kurt Warner, in the one season he played for the New York Giants. In 2004, Coughlin's first year as head coach, the players were revolting against the coach's military-level discipline, and Coughlin asked Warner to list the things he needed to change to be a success.
"Go home and make a list of all the things you think I need to do better as a coach," Warner recalled Coughlin saying, "and don't hold back." Warner did as he was asked, scribbling "page after page after page," he said. "There were times when I was worried that I would hurt his feelings or damage our friendship," Warner said. "But deep down I knew he'd never hold it against me as long as I did it with his best interests at heart." [NJ.com]
-- The always-excellent Mike Garafolo has an interesting piece on the "ghost pressure" that can affect all quarterbacks, including Tom Brady. The New York Giants will do their best to affect Brady with what he can see ... and what he can't. [NJ.com]
-- And for those teams stuck in the abyss ... well, how is it possible to turn a franchise around, as Coughlin and Bill Belichick have done with theirs? Bill Lubinger hypothesizes that four factors must come into play: Stability, leadership, talent -- especially at quarterback, and the buy-in. Easier said than done, but hey -- you've gotta start somewhere. [Cleveland.com]
-- How did the Giants three-safety "AK-47" package evolve into their defensive trademark? Ohm Youngmisuk has the inside story. [ESPN New York]
-- There were five times this season when luck went the Giants' way. Had any of these things turned up "tails" instead of "heads," who knows where they'd be? [New York Times]
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