NYsportsGUY is bold and Cat in regular font. Andiamo!
FIRST THINGS FIRST - On a scale of 1-10, will the Giants win Super Bowl XLVI and why?
I hate these kinds of questions simply because I dislike being over-confident in my team. I'm a very superstitious person when it comes to sports, so I'd like to not change anything from game-to-game while the Giants keep winning. I've been pessimistic about the Giants all year. That said, I had a concealed confidence prior to 49ers game. However, that confidence completely evaporated by the 4th quarter and I had to remove myself from the group of people I was with and go watch in another room. It's times like that 4th quarter and overtime that instead of getting angry, I go sit somewhere and stay silent until something good happens (thankfully the people I watch the games with understand my personality very well and graciously accept silence over profanity-ridden rants a la the first half of the Packers game between the blown fumble call and the Eli-to-Nicks Hail Mary that finally coaxed me off the ledge). Where do I put my confidence level at this very moment? Probably around a 7. That may change in the days leading up to the Super Bowl as my anxiety and pessimism kick in. This Giants team has had a difficult road to the Super Bowl, and have stayed scorching hot since the Christmas Eve victory over the Jets. After the Giants prevailed over the stellar, stacked 49ers defense, it's difficult to envision a situation where the Patriots defense stops the Eli Manning train. Not to mention the Giants regularly make defeating elite quarterbacks look easy. Tom Brady and the Patriots have their work cut out for them.
Is this a "rematch" or is it totally different than the last times these two teams met in SB XLII?
While it’s a “rematch” in a literal sense, both the Giants and the Patriots are completely different teams than they were four years ago, and have traveled on different roads to the Super Bowl this time around. First, the Giants are a more complete team than they were in the 2007 season. While the Giants' win in 2007 was aided by impossibly impeccable catches by both Plaxico Burress and David Tyree, the 2012 wide receiving corps is arguably more consistent. When healthy, Nicks and Manningham have been solid, dependable options for Eli Manning. However, the biggest difference is Victor Cruz. The 2007 Giants team did not have a playmaker like Cruz, who demands double and triple coverage from opponents. Cruz’ ability to evade tackles with salsa-like spin moves and quick feet has not gone unnoticed. Teams know that Cruz not only has the ability to catch and secure long passes, but also has the aptitude for turning a 5 yard catch into a 35 yard run…or a 99 yard touchdown run. It can be said that the entire Giants’ season turned around after Cruz' 99 yard touchdown run against the Jets on Christmas Eve. Indeed, the Giants had just been annihilated by the Redskins for the second time in the season after coming off a 1-4 stretch that rendered their team hard-fought but defeated, injured, and on the brink of facing elimination at the hands of their loud-mouthed, hated, stadium-sharing "rivals." Since Christmas Eve, Giants fans have been on a magical ride that feels eerily similar to that epic 2007 postseason run (especially the week 13 defeat at the hands of the then-undefeated Packers late in the regular season, by the same exact score as the 2007 late-season defeat against the then-undefeated Patriots). But Giants fans should not assume that this Super Bowl win is automatically in the bag, even though it may seem that the Giants have the Patriots' (and Brady's) number. If you don't think Brady and Belichick are out for blood this time around, you've got another thing coming. Brady said this week that he physically cannot bring himself to watch Super Bowl XLII highlights. I can't wait until he says the same thing about Super Bowl XLVI, but that is all but guaranteed. The Patriots are not riding high on an 18-0 season going into this Super Bowl. They've faced adversity this season, and have already lost to the Giants once. Their ride to the Super Bowl was certainly easier than the Giants' ride to the Super Bowl, but the Patriots will be more prepared than ever to face this Giants team.
You have been critical of Tom Coughlin and even went as far as calling for his dismissal before the season began. Have you changed your mind here?
The mark of any good lawyer is being able to admit you’re wrong (in the rare occasion that happens); I was wrong about Tom Coughlin. Before the 2007 season, everyone was calling for Coughlin's head, myself included. Then, the impossible happened, and suddenly everyone's hope was renewed. Was it true that Coughlin became more player-friendly and changed his approach to coaching that season? Or was it just the air of a spectacular Super Bowl run that clouded everyone's doubts? The three seasons after the 2007 Super Bowl win seemed to be a progression from top-of-the-world to Mets-like embarrassment late in games, and seasons. While the first round playoff elimination in the 2008 season wasn't pretty, it was somewhat easier to stomach coming off the 2007 season. What was not easy to stomach was the late season and late game collapses that were the marks of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Was Coughlin losing the team? Did he ever have it to begin with? Fast forward to the 2011 season. The schedule had a brutal stretch for the Giants and it looked like this season was ripe for repeat disappointment. I was convinced after Week 15 that the Giants weren't playoff bound, and didn't deserve to be. I disliked the way that Coughlin publicly called out the defense, saying they played with no heart. Sure, he was right, but doing that in a public press conference couldn't possibly motivate anyone. I underestimated the fact that Coughlin knew his team--and his players--better than any fan could imagine. This team gets up for Coughlin, and it's impossible not to acknowledge that. Not only that, but Coughlin runs the team the way the Maras have always run this Giants organization--with class, dignity, hard work, and respect. Coughlin doesn't need to tell you his team will make the Super Bowl, he lets the on field product speak for itself.
Besides Eli Manning, what Giants player has been the most instrumental to the team making this playoff run?
Jason Pierre-Paul, and it’s not even close. When Tuck and Osi were sidelined at different times throughout the season, Pierre-Paul held the defense together and simply dominated quarterbacks. From sacks to safeties to forced fumbles and tipped balls, Pierre-Paul has done everything a defensive end could possibly do to help his team win. Even when he wasn't primarily responsible for the foregoing, he was always seen in replays making the timely tackle instrumental in letting his teammates get the job done. Not to mention, offenses are scared of him. When Aaron Rodgers heard Pierre-Paul's footsteps during the divisional round, he rushed passes or threw the ball away. Don't think the Giants haven't noticed that Brady does the same.
Where do you plan on watching the game and what sort of Giants gear will you be sporting?
Unless someone reading this wants to graciously send me to Indianapolis, I will be spending the Super Bowl with the same group of family and friends that I've spent almost every single Giants game with this season. That's where the superstition comes into play. I will also be rocking my white Manning jersey, as I have been wearing it since the New Years Day game against the Cowboys and throughout the playoffs.
Would you rock these heels?
Absolutely, but never to a game. Ladies, PLEASE never be that woman with high heels on at a sports game. It’s a no-no on all accounts.
You have drank of lot of Jets flavored Haterade this season? What is the REAL reason for the disdain towards Gang Green?
Rex Ryan and the minions he’s created since taking over the Jets’ helm in 2009. I’ve been a Giants fan my entire life and never hated the Jets, nor did I talk smack about the Jets in the pre-Rex era. As a tried and true Yankee hater, I just never had the distaste for the Jets like I had for the Yankees as a Mets fan. Maybe it’s because the Jets weren’t all that good (hey guess what, they still aren’t), or maybe it’s because the Jets fans I had as friends were never quite as rude, condescending, and downright irritating as my Yankees-fan friends were. That all changed in 2009. It just so happens that I joined Twitter in 2009 as well. Twitter seems to be where all of Rex' minions go to troll the Giants and their fans. I'll stop the answer to the question here as I'd prefer to keep this a mostly Giants article, even though the Jets and their recent inner turmoil have been attempting to steal the spotlight. So, who's having the last laugh now? As the Giants official Twitter account put it, "[s]ome teams are happy getting to Conference Championship games, but [the Giants are really good at] winning them! 5-0 all time..."
You are a self proclaimed Pessimistic Mets fan, What can the Mets organization learn from the Giants organization? Besides double checking the validity of investment opportunities of course.
The league structure, player salaries, and CBAs are far too different in baseball and football to ever competently and completely compare the two. That being said, there are some general concepts that the Giants organization have always embraced and embodied that the Mets should take notes on. The Giants do not sign players just to appease an impatient fan base (i.e. not re-signing Steve Smith and Kevin Boss in the off season). The Giants draft high-impact high-quality players that make a difference on the team. The Mets have a knack for highly-touting their prospects before said prospects end up being complete busts (i.e. Fernando Martinez), or studs as players of other teams (i.e. Heath Bell). The Mets need to become a stable, complete organization from its lowest-level affiliates and its minor league scouts, up through the medical staff, hospital affiliations, coaching staff, and front office. The Mets have never been able to function as a well-oiled machine like the Giants. It’s not a team that’s ever demanded respect or that’s been able to put out a consistent, winning product on the field. The Mets have a long way to go before they ever become as successful as the New York Football Giants.