Arash Markazi
Thursday January 24th, 2008

PARK CITY, Utah -- As Kate Mara talked to reporters at the Sundance Film Festival last Saturday about the premiere of her new film, Transsiberian, she had a difficult time staying focused. All she had to do was look down at the red Giants shirt she was wearing underneath her jacket and scarf to know where her mind was it.

"I'm really excited because I've never been to Sundance," said Mara. "I really like the film and I love the cast and we've all been able to hang out today but in the back of my mind all I keep thinking about was Giants."

It makes sense. After all, Mara, who has starred in films such as Brokeback Mountain and We Are Marshall, is the great-granddaughter of Giants founder Tim Mara, the granddaughter of late Giants owner Wellington Mara and the daughter of Giants Vice President of Player Evaluation, Chris Mara. Her uncle, John Mara, is the president and CEO of the Giants.

After attending the premiere of Transsiberian and doing assorted interviews on Saturday, Mara took a late-night flight out of Utah and into Green Bay to be with her family for the NFC Championship game last Sunday. Before she did, she took out some of her pregame nerves by playing Nintendo Wii in a portrait studio on Main St. and talking about her Giants' roller-coaster season.

"You never knew what the next game would bring," said Mara, who is also the great-granddaughter of Steelers founder Art Rooney on her mother's side. "Every game, even the ones we won, you could never predict. It was an anxious season. Well, it was for me anyway watching the games. I was constantly anxious."

After missing several games over the past couple of seasons because of her expanding acting career, Mara joined her family at every Giants contest this year.

"This season, I've been really lucky and I've gone to every game," she said. "I don't usually get to do that because I'm working, but I try to make sure that I'm not working during football season so I can be with my family and watch the games because it's a really big part of our lives. So this season I've gone to all the games. Luckily it's been a pretty awesome and exciting season so it perfect."

Well, as we all know there is only one thing that is "perfect" in the NFL this season and that's the 18-0 New England Patriots. Although the Giants are big underdogs in the game, Mara seemed optimistic about her team's shot judging from their thrilling season-finale loss to New England, in which New England led by 12 points in the third quarter before losing by a field goal.

"When we played the Patriots and almost won I think that was huge for the team," said Mara. "It gave everybody the confidence that they needed. I think every since then we've known that we are a great team and we can be a great team if we all play at our best. That was such a huge moment, not only for the team but for the fans because we all said, 'Oh my god, this could actually happen.' The Patriots are an incredible team and it was a fight till the end that we could have won."

If anything, the Giants have to feel good about being designated as the "visiting team" during the Super Bowl. The Giants have won all of their road games this season outside of their opening loss to the Cowboys, and have won all three of their playoffs games on the road.

So what's the secret to the Giant's road success?

"My dad, Chris Mara, has worn the same suit to every away game that we've won," said Mara. "It's his lucky suit. That's the secret. All of our games have been away so far this year, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Green Bay, and it's worked so far."

Mara also has her own game-day fashion statement for good luck.

"I wear necklace with pendent when my grandfather Wellington passed away," she said. "All the girls in the family got this football pendent that says, "The Duke" on the front and on the back says, "WTM." I always wear it for good luck. It makes me feel better."

So far, Mara has been feeling good during the Giants' surprising playoff run, and will be in Glendale with her lucky pendent around her neck and no doubt making sure her father wears his "lucky suit."

"I feel like we've gotten better and better every game which is much better than being great at the beginning and then being awful at the end," said Mara, who has experienced her fair share of fast starts that have faded. "I feel like they've improved. It keeps getting more and more exciting and you can't ask for anything more than that. I think when they played a team like the Patriots; they really did play as a team. I really feel in that game they became a real team that could work together and pull a win like that off. They have this confidence in each other right now which is really cool and really hard to find."

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