INDIANAPOLIS – Unlike four years ago when they dressed in black suits as a symbol of unity before facing the undefeated Patriots, the New York Giants returned to the Super Bowl this time with no sartorial gimmicks.
Touching down in Indianapolis for their rematch with New England on Sunday, the Giants are simply a confident team. They believe in themselves as much as they did in 2008 when they ruined the Patriots’ perfect season with a stunning 17-14 victory in Arizona.
“We had no doubt,” guard Chris Snee said Monday, referring to the Giants’ feelings four years ago. “You have to be a confident team when you get on the plane. You reach this game for a reason. It’s not by chance. You have to be confident coming out here.”
The Giants tried to demonstrate that four years ago with their all-black attire.
This year, Justin Tuck left his black suit in the cleaners. Attire was a personal choice.
If there is a difference this time it’s not the way the Giants feel. It’s the feeling about them.
If they win, no one will be surprised. They beat the Patriots in the regular season and they come to Indianapolis with almost as much momentum as New England, which has won 10 in a row.
The streak for Eli Manning and company is only five, but the Giants seem to be getting better each week.
Tuck insisted that teams don’t get to this point in the season without believing in themselves.
“It can be misunderstood for cockiness, and whatever else,” Tuck said. “But at the end of the day, when we step on that football field, we believe we are going to win that football game. If you ask any athlete and he tells you anything different, then there is something wrong.”
Safety Antrel Rolle was his usual self when asked about being confident.
“I mean, we wouldn’t have boarded the plane if we didn’t expect to win,” said Rolle, who lost a Super Bowl in February 2009 while playing for Arizona against the Pittsburgh Steelers. “I think that is the bottom line. We have come here for one thing and one thing only which is to win. We are expecting to win this game come Sunday.”
The Patriots (15-3) certainly understand how the Giants feel. They feel the same way.
“Listen, this is the last game of the season. I’m pretty sure that the Giants want to win and we want to win, point blank,” defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “You have two good football teams who don’t want to walk away with an ‘L’. Both sides are going to have to play really good football and not give up anything cheap. Trust me, we’re not the only ones that feel that we want to win this ballgame. They’re sitting over there saying the same thing. This is the last game, and the biggest game of your career. This is what you play for.”
The Giants (12-7) had a much different send off than the Patriots, who arrived Sunday after attending a rally in Foxborough, Mass., that drew 25,000 people.
Coach Tom Coughlin’s Giants left from team headquarters in the Meadowlands around 11:30 a.m. There was no rally and only a few extra fans showed up to wave goodbye.
Before leaving, the team held what is a normal Saturday walkthrough and left at the same time they would normally leave for a road game.
The short flight was uneventful. It was quiet and the players either watched a movie or slept, Snee said.
“You get off and you know you are at the Super Bowl,” Snee said. “The media is there and there is a small red carpet. It’s exciting.”
Manning said the rest of the week is a time to focus.
“When you feel you have a good team or players and an opportunity to go win a championship, you don’t want to let those slip away,” said Manning, the Super Bowl MVP of the Giants’ win over the Patriots four years ago.