Giants look all business upon arrival in Indianapolis
That was the starchy reason Justin Tuck gave when asked why he and his teammates had not embraced what was established four years ago when the Giants showed up for the Super Bowl decked out in all black suits. They were going to a funeral, they said at the time, ready to bury the Patriots’ perfect season.
Men in Black II seemed like a natural for this week, one of the last strokes in similarities between the two seasons. But Tuck and his boys bounded off the airplane in Indianapolis on Monday in a rainbow of tans, grays, blues and other hues. Tuck’s quip that his black suit was being laundered was just one of the reasons they eschewed the pallbearer persona. It was not the main one.
“(The season in) ’07 and this year, it has its similarities, but what we did in ’07 will not help us one iota come Sunday,” Tuck said. “Two different teams and hopefully, this team can make a name for itself like we did in ’07. ... We kind of wanted our own identity.”
Tuck also had a warning for anyone who wanted to wear black to recapture that old Arizona magic.
“This game will not be won off what we did in ’07 or what we did earlier this year,” he said. “It will not be. And I hope we don’t fall into the trap of believing that.
“They’re playing better football, better team football, than they were playing in ’07. But I think we’re playing better team football than we were playing in ’07, too.”
Other than the wardrobe, the Giants have been trying desperately to keep things as close as possible to the schedule of their previous journey to the Super Bowl. That’s one of the reasons Tom Coughlin had the team fly out Monday and not Sunday like the Patriots did. Other than some minor logistical adjustments to the way meetings and classroom sessions will be orchestrated in the team hotel, he’s basically photocopied the itinerary from that successful trip.
“This is the path that we followed four years ago,” Coughlin said. “I thought it was a very good one.”
It certainly had a very good result for him and the Giants once.
The team’s flight from New Jersey to Indianapolis was, in some ways, like a space age transporter that took them from the mundane world of an NFL team to the electrified world of the Super Bowl. They went through a normal travel-day routine Monday morning, which included some special teams meetings and other details, then boarded the plane without the fanfare or 25,000-person pep rally that the Patriots had.
“Same as normal,” guard Chris Snee said. “Everyone was quiet, did their own thing, whether it was watch a movie, take a nap. The same thing we normally do.”
But then the wheels touched down and it was completely different.
“You get off and you know you’re at the Super Bowl with the media there and the small red carpet that they laid out there,” Snee said.
For many Giants, it was a first experience. For others, it was a much-needed refresher in the madness.
“I’ll be honest, I kind of forgot what this feels like,” said safety Antrel Rolle, who played in Super Bowl XLIII with the Cardinals. “Getting off the plane is a remarkable feeling. ... But most of all, you have to keep your eye on the prize and understand that this is a business trip. We’re not here for fun. We’re not here for anything else but to take care of the Patriots come Sunday night.”