‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.”
The Giants had no sooner landed in Indianapolis Monday afternoon when it became apparent that this Super Bowl appearance won‘t be the same as 2007.
They changed things up.
No “Men In Black” look.
There was no Antonio Pierce to push through the all-black apparel dictum for the flight, the Giants’ show of sartorial unity that kicked off Super Bowl XLII week just four short seasons ago. So fashion anarchy reigned.
Grays. Tans. Blacks. Navy blues. A veritable financial planner’s rainbow for a trip to a city that offers nothing in the way of sand and surf, and everything for a focused business trip.
Not a fashion risk in sight. Just Eli Manning, in a neat dark suit, striped tie, white shirt, and a pocket square, standing in Everyman contrast to Tom Brady’s fine-cut, European getup of the previous day.
It wasn’t so much a statement of anything that the Giants should announce their presence this way. And maybe that’s exactly what this Giants team wanted. They don’t need no stinkin’ gimmicks for this one. They are a different team than the 2007 edition that beat the then-undefeated Patriots.
That team needed a little something extra, even as they executed that improbable, glorious championship run after struggling through a 10-6 regular season. This one heads in playing well above that team, simply because Manning has become a far better quarterback than he was four years ago.
Nobody doubts them now. No longer regarded as two-touchdown underdogs, they are actually favored in certain camps despite what the Las Vegas odds makers said when they had the Pats laying three right after the conference championship games.
Still, they didn’t change anything. In keeping with the “Business as usual” theme of this week, the Giants again arrived in the Super Bowl city a day after the Pats landed.
“This is the path we followed four years ago,” Tom Coughlin said. “I thought it was a good one.”
He also figured it was a good idea to have a special teams meeting before his squad boarded the buses for their charter flight.
All business, this team. Gimmick free.
No predictions, either. When Mexican TV asked Coughlin his pick for the Super Bowl MVP, he responded, “I don’t have a crystal ball, but I hope he’s wearing a white jersey.”
Hint: The Pats are wearing blue on Sunday.
Focus is the point Coughlin and his staff have pounded home the past week, and will continue to emphasize in their practices this week. And make no mistake, he’s relying on Super Bowl-seasoned veterans like Manning, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, Brandon Jacobs, and Ahmad Bradshaw to settle the younger players.
“What we have is a nucleus of veterans who can talk to the young guys,” Coughlin said.
And Manning, of course. He, too, is keeping things as low-key as possible this week. He won’t have time to visit with brother Peyton, who with a second Super Bowl victory will pass the sure-shot Hall of Famer.
He’ll just communicate by phone.
“I’m going to keep my normal routine,” Manning told the media.
Normal. As in no frills and gimmick free.
The signs of a confident team ready to take care of business.
Super Bowl week has begun in earnest.
Giants fans, how confident are you going into the big game? Sound off below…