Tag:Super Bowl 46
Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:51 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:36 pm
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Irsay: Peyton decision 'isn't about the money'

Irsay says making a call on Peyton has nothing to do with the money. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Irsay's handling the hosting duties this week and would prefer not to talk about Peyton Manning. But there's only so long he can go without being asked about No. 18 and in an effort to potentially pull the proverbial band-aid off, he did an interview with Rich Eisen Wednesday to address the Manning situation.

Irsay said that there's "so much uncertainty" involving Peyton's situation, but that his decision (which is not made yet, apparently) won't be "about the money" involved in Peyton's contract.

Manningville, Indiana

"There’s so much uncertainty in this thing," Irsay said on the NFL Network. “The thing that gets overlooked in situations like this, is that there’s never been an NFL quarterback that has had this type of injury. It’s never happened before. When our doctors talk to other doctors, even throughout the world, the reference points just aren’t there. This will be a case study, if it ever happens again, because it’s so rare that you have this situation."

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Depending on what Irsay decides to with Manning in 2012, that case study will almost certainly also involve criticism of his choice, barring Peyton simply never playing again. (And he's already said that's not happening.) $28 million committed to one player is a trainwreck. But, hey, it's not about the money.

"This isn’t about the money," Irsay said. "If it helps us win, I’ll pay it in a second. But when it comes to salary cap … we have real cap problems. You can’t make a decision that straps you for the next three seasons."

Except it is about the money. Not necessarily because Irsay could be classified as frugal (he's not) but because the money is simply an issue. If Peyton can't help the team win, then it's a waste of $28 million. It's a waste of salary cap space. It's a waste of valuable resources that could be used to help rebuild a once-dominant franchise.

Irsay said that himself, so he clearly understands the negative impact that bringing Manning back could have if he can't help the team win.

It's a bizarre situation to say the least. Manning's situation built all season long and now gets to crescendo in the middle of what is essentially his city.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 4:15 pm
 

LeSean McCoy admits he didn't try at the Pro Bowl

By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- LeSean McCoy had a heck of a season in 2011, rushing for 1,309 yards and 17 touchdowns. It netted him the FedEx Ground Player of the Year on Wednesday at the Super Bowl. And it also landed him a trip to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

While there, McCoy was on the NFC team that Aaron Rodgers believes should be "embarrassed" by a lack of effort. Actually, he was "one of those guys" that didn't try, and said so himself on Wednesday.

"Yeah? I'm one of those guys," McCoy said when asked about Rodgers comments. "You walk around every practice and the guys before the games on other teams are like 'take your time' because we're going on a very slow pace, very easy.

"And you get out there and you see guys half-doing it and you do the same thing."

It's not like this should be too big a surprise: the quality of the game is directly related to the intensity of the effort when it comes to the Pro Bowl, and that's exactly why it was a sloppy boring game that drew criticism from everyone remotely involved in the process. (That the game still managed to pull big ratings should tell you exactly how popular the NFL is.)

With all the complaints from fans and the media -- and some players -- it wouldn't be surprising to find out that McCoy's comments didn't sit well with the league, even if he is just talking about an All-Star Game.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:16 pm
 

Will NYG be NFL's most consistent team with win?

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By Ryan Wilson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin go back a long way. Both worked on Bill Parcells' staff with the Giants in the 1980s, and they remain two men who have great admiration for one another.

“I respect a lot of things about Tom – his evaluation of talent, the way he attacks teams, his consistency, his discipline, his team’s toughness, their resiliency," Belichick said.

Coughlin, several blocks away at the Giants' press conference, was just as complimentary. “He’s always been an exceptional defensive coach trained by the best, by Parcells," he said of Belichick. "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."

Now, two decades later, Belchick and Coughlin have four Super Bowl titles between them. Three of those Lombardi Trophies belong to New England but that happened during a four-year span from 2001-2004.

In the seven seasons since, the Patriots have made six playoff appearances, but returned to the Super Bowl just once, in 2007, where they lost to the Giants in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. From 2001-2011, New England is 16-5 in the postseason, but since 2006, they're just 6-4. Relatively speaking, 6-4 is a fantastic accomplishment. It's just that we've gone from hailing the Patriots as the next great dynasty four years ago to now wondering if they're even the NFL's best team this century.

In fact, if the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI, you could make a case that they belong in that conversation.

New York hasn't had the Pats' sustained success since 2000, but they played in a Super Bowl following the '00 season (a loss to the Ravens), and since Coughlin was hired in 2004, they've been to the playoffs in five of eight seasons. They're 7-3 over that time with three of those wins coming last month.

Since '07, Coughlin's winning percentage with the Giants is impressive (49-31, 0.613), though less so when compared to Belichick (64-16, 0.800). But regular-season accomplishments mean little if they don't culminate in a championship. No one talks about New England's almost perfect 2007 season except to point out that the Giants beat a thought-to-be unstoppable offense and longer odds to earn the Lombardi Trophy.

Yet no one mentions the Giants in the same breath as the Patriots (and to lesser extents, the Steelers, Saints, Packers and before this season, the Colts) and that includes some Giants players.

"Honestly, for us, that ’07 (Super Bowl) was kind of like us coming together as a football team," defensive end Justin Tuck said this week. "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.”

That's exactly what Super Bowl week is -- hoopla around a game -- but the absurdities of Media Day shouldn't obscure what the Giants will have accomplished if they win. Coughlin remains unimpressed, at least for now.

"That’s the furthest thing from my mind is how this enhances my legacy," Coughlin said Tuesday. "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.”

Fair enough, but by Sunday night we could be talking about Coughlin -- who annually (and inexplicably) finds himself on the hot seat -- as the man responsible for bringing the Giants two Super Bowls in five years. Just like Parcells.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 1:15 pm
Edited on: February 1, 2012 3:02 pm
 

NFL fines Umenyiora for missing media session

Umenyiora was at Tuesday's Media Day (above) but missed Wednesday's session. (Ryan Wilson, CBSSports.com)

By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – During Wednesday morning’s required media session, Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora failed to show, and the league has fined him $20,000 as a result.

While most of the Giants had assigned tables in the downtown Marriott’s ballroom adjacent to where coach Tom Coughlin held his Wednesday news conference, a few like Victor Cruz, Eli Manning, Ahmad Bradshaw and Umenyiora had podiums in rooms across the hall for the media availability start time of 10:30 a.m. ET.

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All podiums and tables were filled by the players except for Umenyiora.

According to a team spokesman, via the Newark Star-Ledger, Umenyiora attended a 12:15 p.m. team meeting.

According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, all other Giants and Patriots players and coaches were available during media sessions today.

UPDATE 3:02 p.m. ET: Here's the statement Umenyiora has released: “I misunderstood the schedule. It won’t happen again, and I will be at tomorrow’s media session and available after the game. I apologize for any inconvenience my absence this morning may have caused.”

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:21 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 4:06 pm
 

Giants defensive mindset comes from the top down

Pierre-Paul points the way for the New York defense. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

INDIANAPOLIS -- Everyone wants you to believe that Super Bowl XVLI is similar to the Giants-Patriots matchup from 2007. It makes sense -- the ferocious pass rush Tom Coughlin's squad brings to the table is so similar to the dominant 2007 defense. That's not some hapless circumstance though: it's a result of a carefully-crafted personnel plan that starts from the top up and permeates the entire organization.

Ask anyone on the Giants roster or coaching staff about what kind of attitude defines that defense, a unit that hasn't given up more than 20 points since Week 15, and you can tell there's a universal feeling within that group about the way they play. Right now that feeling could be described as "confidence." Or something ... else.

“Right now we have a badass mentality," safety Antrel Rolle said Tuesday. "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."

The Giants struggled badly throughout much of the year on the defensive side of the ball (the Seahawks hung 36 on them in New York and they lost to the Redskins twice; that's all you need to know). Rolle acknowledged as much. But they shut out the Falcons offense in the divisional round and put the brakes on the previously white-hot Packers before handling the 49ers, reminding everyone of the 2007 unit that generated so much pressure from their front four.

But since 2007, the organization's seen a few important changes Perry Fewell replaced Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator. Jerry Reese moved into Ernie Accorsi's spot as general manager. The organization's managed to not change though, primarily in the way they seek out and identify defensive players with a similar mindset.

"I think Jerry Reese and Mark Ross in our scouting department do a great job of identifying Giant defensive-minded football players," Fewell said. "And that came long before I came here. They've always had a good talent for doing that. The one thing that I can really talk about is pride, and 'Giant Pride.' When you step into the Giant defensive meeting room -- they make you write an essay about what it's like to be a New York Giant. And why do you want to be a New York Giant defensive football player."

Really?

"Yeah, that was not something I was accustomed to doing," Fewell said. "When I heard that they make the rookies do that, I thought it was really unique and different. So there's a lot of pride that goes along with being a New York Giant and being a defensive football player and I think that's permeated throughout the years with the Strahans and the Lawrence Taylors. It goes back more years than I've been there."

Think about that: you get your first job as a professional in your chosen vocation and when you get to work, you have to write an essay about why you want the job you've been chosen to do. It's insanity. But it's also a testament to the way the Giants build their defense.

So is the work the Giants do in the later rounds. There's no Victor Cruz (a shocking breakout as an undrafted free agent) on the defense. But there are a slew of slam dunks from the last 10 years of Giants drafts, whose talent allows the Giants to get hot at the right time.

"Our scouts are really the unsung heroes of this whole process. They are the lifeline," Reese said. "They go out for 185-200 days a year on the road, scouting. They unearth these players and bring them to our attention. We have a chance to look at these guys too. It’s all about us. The winning is about us as an organization. Our scouts and our players do a tremendous job. Our coaches do a tremendous job. I’m just happy for the organization as a whole."

Reese should be. Since 2003, the Giants have used their first pick in the NFL Draft on defense every single year, save twice: in 2004 when they took Philip Rivers (and swapped him for Eli Manning) and 2008, when they took Hakeem Nicks. Both those moves worked out OK, but it's the defensive selections that really stand out.

Mathias Kiwanuka, Aaron Ross, Jason Pierre-Paul and Prince Amukamara are all first-rounders taken by the Giants who either start or see tons of playing time. Corey Webster, a second-round pick, was the Giants first selection in 2005. Osi Umenyiora was a second-round pick in 2003, and Justin Tuck was a third-round pick in 2005.

What is it, exactly, though that the Giants look for when pursuing these guys?

"Ability," Tom Coughlin said. "The way in which we define the positions and evaluate the players according to the positions that they play. I'm not going to go into detail on how they're evaluated, but we stick strictly to our philosophy, our grading system and being as objective as we possibly can."

Coughlin's answer might sound like coachspeak. (Technically, it is.) But his point about "ability" actually points more to the Giants heavy desire to draft pass-rushers on a frequent basis. Accorsi did it when he ran the team, and Reese does it as well. Having four guys on the line who can generate pressure and turn up the heat on opposiing quarterbacks without having to send additional blitzers is precisely what makes the Giants defense so terrifying.

And Coughlin, like everyone else with the Giants, had a look of pride on his face when asked what differentiates the Giants defense and its specific players from other teams.

Don't expect him to call the the unit "badass." But he clearly feels the same way as Rolle. And it's a sentiment that's shared from top to bottom in an organization, and the reason why this unit's capable of looking like an elite defense.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:07 am
Edited on: February 1, 2012 5:54 pm
 

Gronkowski misses Patriots practice Wednesday

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By Ryan Wilson

Update (5:50 p.m. ET): On Wednesday morning Belichick talked about what Gronkowski might be able to do in practice later in the day. We now know that answer: nothing. The Patriots sent out a practice report around 5:45 on Wednesday afternoon and Gronkowski was listed as did not participate.

Gronkowski now has two more chances to get on the field and see how his ankle responds in practice. If he can't even do that, it's going to make for a tough decision as to whether or not he can even contribute on Sunday during the Super Bowl.
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INDIANAPOLIS -- It's hump day at Super Bowl week and head coach Bill Belichick continues to be in a good mood. In fact, his demeanor has been a storyline since the Patriots arrived. During Tuesday's Media Day session, wide receiver Wes Welker attributed it to the "lady in [Belichick's] life."

Whatever the reason, New England's head coach seems at ease four days out from the final game of the 2011 season.

During his Wednesday morning press conference, Belichick spoke on tight Rob Gronkowski, who continues to recover from a high-ankle sprain he suffered during the AFC Championship game. ("Rob's getting better … we're taking it day to day. … We'll see what he can do today [at practice] and go from there.") 

Belichick was also asked about the Giants' front four, a group that terrorized Brady earlier this year and did the same when New York upset New England in Super Bowl XLII.

"Those inside guys can really knock the line of scrimmage back," he said. "Their ends are a good combo of size and speed (and) I don't know if anybody can play like the Giants play -- they're so good."

Brady knows this too. Some Giants players have said that Brady can be rattled, and he might be more cognizant of pressure -- and it could affect the way he plays -- after having reconstructive knee surgery early in the 2008 season.

"It wouldn't be the Super Bowl if they (the Giants defense) weren't trying to knock me down or knock me out … but our offensive line gets paid too," Brady said. "We're going to try to eliminate (bad throws) … we had too many of those last time (against the Ravens). We're not going to be able to win the game playing like that."

****

Other notes from Wednesday's press conference…

-- Brady was asked about Chad Ochocinco, who was acquired just before training camp to give the Patriots a deep threat. Instead, he had just 15 catches and one touchdown in the regular season. He played a single snap against the Broncos in the Divisional playoff game and was inactive a week later against the Ravens in the conference championship. (Ochocinco missed practice time leading up to that game to attend his father's funeral.)

"Chad has worked hard everyday … and I've really loved having Chad on this team," Brady said. "He still has that childlike quality in terms of his enthusiasm for the game." And while Ochocinco's season hasn't gone well, Brady said that the former Pro Bowl wideout is still "willing to do whatever it takes to win."

-- Belichick was also asked about Julian Edelman, the college quarterback and former seventh-round pick who now plays just about every position but quarterback in New England.

"We saw Edelman as a good athlete at Kent State," Belichick said … "We didn't really think he was a quarterback but tough, quick, good with the ball in his hands with a desire to improve. … It's been a big transition for him (as both a returner and a slot receiver) … and we got in some injury situations and his skills as a slot receiver transferred into what we ask of our slot corners."

Belichick called Edelman "a smart guy" who's taken "a lot of plays in practice on both sides of the ball."

-- Brady may have said he "sucked" following the Ravens game but Belichick sounded unconcerned Wednesday. "I think Tom does a good job in his preparation every week. … He's one of our hardest workers. I meet with Tom at the beginning of the week and he's always seen as much (game film) or more than i have."

-- Belichick saved his best for last. He was asked about comments by Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said he was embarrassed by the NFC's effort in last weekend's Pro Bowl (the AFC won, 59-41).

"What I'm going to say probably shouldn't be what I should say to that question so I'm going to let it go," Belichick said as he fought back a smile. "What it was and what it is now … it's a lot different," he added before leaving the podium.

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 10:00 am
 

Jacobs: Burress wanted to play for Giants

BurressBy Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS – It’s no secret the Jets team ended its 2011 season in turmoil with Santonio Holmes playing the role of anti-captain, linebacker Bart Scott flipping off reporters and seemingly everybody criticizing Mark Sanchez. And while coach Rex Ryan is intent on fixing his team’s problems, the Jets couldn’t escape the bright lights of Tuesday’s Super Bowl Media Day proceedings.

Though Plaxico Burress, surprisingly, was one of the least-controversial members of the Jets squad this season, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said Tuesday that Burress didn’t even want to play for the Jets in 2011. In fact, Jacobs said, Burress wanted to return to his old team, the Giants.

"Oh, no question, I know he did,” Jacobs said in quotes recorded by ESPN New York. “I know he wanted to come to the Giants. We just didn't think it was going to be able to be done financially. But he may be (back) next year, who knows?"

After Burress was released from prison, he signed a one-year, $3 million deal with the Jets, and he actually performed better than expected, catching 45 passes for 612 yards and eight touchdowns in his first action since 2008.

Burress actually visited with the Giants before he signed with the Jets, but they only offered him a guaranteed $1 million. The Jets’ $3 million was fully guaranteed.

But Jacobs also said Burress didn’t want to return to Ryan’s squad next year, because of all the well-documented turmoil that occurred there this season.

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"I don't see him back with the Jets next year at all," said Jacobs, who spoke with Burress on the phone recently. "I don't know what he's thinking, but I don't see that. They've got a lot of things going on over there, and I don't know if he wants to be part of that."

Jacobs also added this:

"How many receiving yards did he have last year? How many catches did he have? He's a starting wide receiver -- (45) catches. We got three guys, four guys on our team that have that. He's a much better wide receiver than (45) catches, I tell you that."

But before we start celebrating Burress’ eventual return to the Giants, let’s not forget what he told Men’s Journal before the season began about coach Tom Coughlin.

"After my situation happened, I turned on the TV, and the first words out his mouth was 'sad and disappointing,'" Burress said. "I'm like, forget support -- how about some concern? I did just have a bullet in my leg. And then I sat in his office, and he pushed back his chair and goes, 'I'm glad you didn’t kill anybody!' Man, we're paid too much to be treated like kids. He doesn't realize that we’re grown men and actually have kids of our own."

So, a reunion with Coughlin might be somewhat awkward, eh?

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Posted on: February 1, 2012 8:32 am
 

Indianapolis' pleasant weather could change

The weather in Indianapolis has been good this week (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

INDIANAPOLIS -- Much like the hospitality, the weather this week in the host city of Super Bowl XLVI has been wonderful. In the middle of the day, the temperatures rise to the 50s, and though it’s been windy at times, it was perfectly comfortable Tuesday afternoon to walk the half-mile from Lucas Oil Field to the media center at the downtown JW Marriott without a jacket.

Strangely, the weather in this Midwestern city has been SO much warmer than the nightmare snowstorms that plagued north Texas at this time last year, making life dangerous for inexperienced snow-drivers who oftentimes had to motor more than an hour to get around the Metroplex.

The weather here has been nearly tropical (relatively speaking, of course) but all of that could change between now and Super Bowl Sunday.

"There's a potential storm Saturday and Sunday, but exactly how it's going to take shape, we're still not sure about," said AccuWeather.com meteorologist Michael Pigott.

According to AccuWeather.com, one scenario is that a storm that develops in the Plains would stay too far to the south and to the west in order to serve any precipitation to Indianapolis this weekend, but the other, more-troubling scenario is a storm that “is more progressive, sending some rain into Indianapolis by late Saturday and even the possibility of a snow shower on Sunday.”

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"Depending on which (scenario) is right, it will have a large effect on not only the Super Bowl, but also the following week,” Pigott said.

It probably won’t affect most of us who are flying out of town on Monday. And since Super Bowl XLVI will be played indoors, it doesn’t matter what kind of weather we’ll be getting by Sunday.

So, aside from the fact that you might have to throw on a jacket (and maybe a stylish scarf while you’re at it?), the weather before Sunday shouldn’t cause anybody coming in from out of town to panic. Just another reason why Indianapolis has been a more pleasant host than Dallas.

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