The Giants concluded their final day of media obligations leading up to the Super Bowl the same way they came into the week -- with super-sized bravado.
The problem with the extra week leading up to the big game is that players who are usually reserved and reticent to make waves have extra time to speak their minds.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, who never has anything controversial say, said he doesn’t feel as if his team is too cocky or overconfident. Safety Antrel Rolle’s proclamation that Big Blue will win the game and defensive end Chris Canty’s boast that Giants fans should get ready for a victory parade didn’t even faze Coughlin.
In fact, Coughlin likes the way his team is brimming with confidence and feels they’ve done a great job at balancing that fine line.
“There’s been one or two quotes out there,” Coughlin said. “But to be honest with you, I don’t think either one of them are any different than Tom Brady’s.”
Coughlin was referring to Brady’s proclamation that “Hopefully we’ll have a lot more people at our party next weekend” when he addressed approximately 25,000 Patriots fans at last Sunday’s send-off pep rally.
Coughlin insists his motto this week (“Humble enough to prepare, confident enough to perform”) hasn’t been breached this week. He added he’s confident because every one of the 53-man roster practiced at least once this week and he expects full-attendance on Sunday.
“Everyone wants to be a part of it,” Coughlin said. “No one wants to be someone who is not able to participate or be a part of this wonderful experience. We’ve had everyone on the practice field, and hopefully, thank God, it will be that way Sunday.”
Coughlin also said running back Ahmad Bradshaw is expected to practice for a third straight day, on Friday, despite a broken bone in his right foot.
“Ahmad has practiced two days in a row,” he said, “which is very unusual and tells you the excitement that’s built up there.”
The chirping began as soon as Rolle proclaimed victory, but peaked when Jason Pierre-Paul boasted about what they did to Brady when the Giants beat them Nov. 6 in New England.
“Yeah, he was reacting to pressure that didn’t exist,” Pierre-Paul said of the Giants’ 24-20 victory. “He was just throwing the ball places where there wasn’t a receiver. So imagine us getting there even faster and we’re actually doing our jobs and getting there and getting hits on him.”
This wasn’t the first time Pierre-Paul made waves by verbally going after one of the league’s giants. Earlier in the playoffs he guaranteed victory over Aaron Rodgers and his 15-1 Packers. So, imagine the waves the second-year defensive end caused when he took shots at the man known as “The Golden Boy,” when he flippantly remarked the Giants aren’t in awe of Brady (“It’s not like he is God.”).
Big Blue may need the help of a higher power should they fail to match their bravado with a win on Sunday. Public sentiments -- for now -- are seemingly with the Giants, but the masses aren’t kind to Super Bowl losers. And should the Giants falter, no one will remember the team that courageously fought back from a 7-7 record to an appearance in the ultimate game.
The man responsible for putting together the outfit that hopes to get that ring is general manager Jerry Reese. According to the architect, he doesn’t have any problems with the brashness either. He feels the team is just “speaking confidently and not disrespectfully by any stretch of the imagination.”
Reese said winning breeds confidence, and no team has had to endure more do-or-die wins than his team.
“They’re not going to have a hangdog look and say, 'Well, we might win,’” Reese said. “Guys are confident we’re going to win.”
Canty was still confident when asked about his quote, but he didn’t want to delve into it anymore. He was back to his usually gentlemanly self by Friday and even evoked Coughlin’s famous slogan of “talk is cheap, play the game.”
“Let’s face it, confidence comes from demonstrated performances and we’ve demonstrated to one another we can perform at a very high level,” Canty said. “We can beat some really good football teams.”
Canty added he agreed with Coughlin that guys have properly straddled swagger with overconfidence.
“I think there’s a touch of laziness in overconfidence. That’s when guys have lapses in focus and preparation, and I definitely don’t get that feel from this football team. Words are not going to win this football game on Sunday. And it’s not going to be won in the media, the court of public opinion or anything like that,” Canty said, adding Coughlin would simply shut the chirping down if he found it to be excessive. “I think he knows when to step in and say, ‘Enough is enough.’ I don't think guys have crossed those boundaries.”
Big Blue notes
» Coughlin held his final presser on Friday morning and had some good one-liners. Perhaps his best was directed at the newfound Giants’ fans that are now aboard the bandwagon and specifically for those that jumped ship during their midseason losing streak: “Five weeks ago there wasn't even a bus. Now there are no seats.”
» Mathias Kiwanuka was asked about finishing strong and if starting strong is overrated: “It’s not about how good you are coming into the season. The Cowboys prove that every year.”
» Umenyiora had jokes too, when he wasn’t avoiding the media. When asked to expound on Pierre-Paul’s Brady/God topic, he flashed a broad smile and said: “Brady isn’t God but [he] might be Jesus.”
»The men looking to get at Brady are a five-man pass rushing rotation that features Pierre-Paul, Umenyiora, Kiwanuka, Justin Tuck and Dave Tollefson. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, a racecar enthusiast, even gave them the nickname NASCAR: “I gave them the choice of being the NASCAR unit or something named after, like, five thoroughbred race horses. And they all picked the NASCAR nickname,” said Fewell, who added he’ll even use all five on the field simultaneously. “I’m from North Carolina and I am familiar with auto racing. I think it fits just right.”
»Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s attention to detail is legendary. During a recent session Belichick made the strategic move of taking a 30-minute break during the middle of practice to mimic the extended halftime coming for Sunday's matchup against the Giants. Belichick said he’s left no stone unturned: “We were trying to simulate the best we can. It’s not perfect, but it’s the best we could do. Practice, take a break, come back out and re-start.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams live from Indianapolis on Twitter @TBone8.