For most players, the Super Bowl represents the culmination of one season and a reminder that they still have six or seven more weeks of relaxation before off-season conditioning for the next one begins. They relish this free time, which is so hard to find come April and especially during the seven-days-a-week job that the NFL becomes in late July.
This year, however, they'll enter the break motivated by the Super Bowl stunner and suddenly more interested in New York as a possible playing destination. Those are just a few of the things I Iearned while talking to players on the heels of New York's 17-14 victory over the Patriots.
Though no active players will make the statement publicly, for obvious reasons, many around the league have gone out of their way to avoid playing for Giants coach
With this Super Bowl win and the stereotype about Coughlin changing as word spreads that he has altered his style and lightened up a little bit, New York is looking a whole lot better as a possible landing place.
"I really believe he mellowed after watching some of those press conferences," said tight end
Every NFL team has its linemen huddle up during pre-game warm-ups in an attempt to set the tone for the physical outing about to take place. Almost without fail, a veteran leader will get in the middle of the huddle, gaze intently into the eyes of his brethren and utter the words that every lineman believes intently: "
I always thought and hoped that was true during
"The Giants controlled the line of scrimmage all game on both sides of the ball and that was the difference." said
"I saw one stat that said
"Brady never gets sacked like that," added Neufeld. "The Giants just took it to them."
I was thoroughly surprised with not only the outcome of the game but also the manner in which it took place. I had the Pats winning by 14 and actually thought there was a decent chance the game could get out of hand. Having played for New England in '05 and '06, I was confident leaders like Brady and
"I had the same frame of mind as everyone else," said Rabach, "I really thought New England would have their way with the Giants."
"I certainly felt like the Patriots would win, but I thought it might be closer than some people were saying," said Buffalo Bills defensive end
Added Rosenfels, "All signs pointed to them winning... game in dome, 18-0, experience in the Super Bowl, the AFC being a stronger conference. But that is the magic of the NFL. Any given Sunday!"
The season had been so dominated with talk of the Patriots perfect run that many players on opposing teams were almost resigned to the inevitability that they were merely a bit player in the New England championship DVD. The Giants' will and perseverance in pulling off the upset has given hope to every player and team around the league that they can, in fact, win a Super Bowl. If not next year, then certainly one day.
Rabach gained particular confidence in watching a team that his Skins had defeated in Week 15 walk off with the trophy, saying, "An unbeatable team can lose to a 10-6 team. All that matters is how you play at the end of the year. This gives everyone hope that if you can just make the playoffs, something special can happen."
"The belief the Giants had in themselves far outweighed any doubts that the football nation had about them," said Seattle Seahawks running back
"I really think we can do it next year," said Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle