INDIANAPOLIS-The annual Super Bowl Media Day is three hours of serious and not-so serious journalism. Each team had 13 players and their coaches, Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick. Each team had one hour each to answer ridiculous and business-like questions while sitting inside a tent on small, uncomfortable-looking stools, especially for the 300-pound-plus players. In front of all, a microphone, directly in front of NFL-branded water bottles.
The usual collection of local, statewide, national and international media mingled with the attention-seekers, many of whom who had talked their collective ways into gaining Super Bowl media credentials. NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders muscled his way to the front and flung questions.
Chad Ochocinco, now a quiet, seldom-used receiver, commanded some of the biggest crowds as he wandered around the designated interview area. “I didn’t want a podium,” he said with a smirk, but we knew better. Ochocinco would have loved to have been one of the Patriots’ designated 13, but only 15 catches on the season does that to a once upon a time star who commanded a $6 million contract this past season.
Giants coach Coughlin said, “I’m delighted and excited for our team. These guys have gone out and done it against the best we’ve played.” The Giants won five straight games to advance to the Super Bowl on Sunday, the second appearance for Coughlin, equaling the two appearances by Bill Parcells.
The guy who helped Eli Manning and the Giants jump-start their run to Super Bowl XLVI was Victor Cruz and fellow wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. “We’re great friends,” said Cruz. “We’re just soaking in this entire experience together and how special it is to be here together.”
Manning has worked with the trio and helped them, Cruz especially, in their development.
“He has done a great job learning this offense and making decisions. He’s gotten better because of meetings and game-time experience,” Coughlin said.
On the defensive side, Justin Tuck said, “It’s about us.. Not about what they [the Patriots] do. As long as we go out and execute our game plan, then we feel as though we can play with anybody. They are a very talented football team.”
The game is a rematch of XLII, which saw the Giants win 17-14 over the Pats.