‘From the Pressbox’
By Ernie Palladino
» More Ernie Palladino Columns
Ernie is the author of “Lombardi and Landry.”
Madonna promised that there will be no Janet Jackson-like wardrobe malfunction during her Super Bowl XLVI halftime show Sunday.
But that doesn’t mean the Giants aren’t hoping for something to come loose on somebody.
Maybe Tom Brady’s helmet.
That’s going to be the Giants’ objective, anyway. And if the good folks up on the defensive front like Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, and Chris Canty can put together an effective pass rush against Brady, they might just run away with their second Vince Lombardi Trophy in four years.
It’s possible, and they might not need a grand effort to do it, either. Pierre-Paul said Thursday that Brady might just have that pass rush in his head after their first meeting, a 24-20 win at New England on Nov. 6 in which Brady took just two sacks and was hit just three other times.
Not exactly a pounding right there. But still, Brady was plenty wild, throwing balls wide and in the dirt during a 28-of-49, 342-yard performance that included two touchdowns and an interception.
“It’s like he felt us,” Pierre-Paul said. “When we looked at the film, we really didn’t rush like we rush as a defense. He was still throwing balls on the ground and stuff.”
Brady, of course, would brush that off as pre-game chatter. But is it significant that his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen reportedly emailed out a plea to her heavenly friends to pray for her “Tommy” and deliver the Pats’ first Super Bowl victory since the 2003 season?
Maybe she’s been watching some recent tapes of the kind of damage a healthy defensive front can do, especially if Umenyiora gets the better of old adversary Matt Light.
The fact is, the Giants’ pass rush MUST get to Brady to stop the quick passing game to his two tight ends, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. And make no mistake, Gronkowski will play. And even if he plays at a reduced effectiveness, he’s still a bull that can plow over a safety like Antrel Rolle.
Do that enough times, and people will start quoting from his newly-marketed T-Shirt, “Where Trel At?”
The answer might be face down in the Lucas Oil Stadium turf.
But if the pressure gets there early, Pierre-Paul said it could be a happy repeat of Nov. 6.
“He did react to pressure that didn’t exist,” Pierre-Paul said. “He was just throwing the ball to places where there wasn’t a receiver there.
“Imagine us getting there faster and actually doing our job and getting hits on him.”
Do that, and the only wardrobe malfunctions will come on Brady’s end as he adjusts his helmet and shoulder pads while picking himself off the ground.
It won’t be easy. Brady’s line keeps him well-protected. But the Giants, who are not content with just being happy to be involved in the biggest show in sports, come with a purpose.
“We have to get there,” Pierre-Paul said. “We have to.”
Otherwise, it may be left to Madonna to provide an unexpected slippage to spice up Super Bowl XLVI.
Will the Giants get to Brady early and often? Sound off below…