NEW YORK (WFAN) – The Giants rode a hot stretch late last season all the way to the Canyon of Heroes.
Now Osi Umenyiora wants to take that momentum, which culminated in February’s Super Bowl win, and apply it to 2012.
“There was no question we were the best team in football last year at the end,” Umenyiora told the New York Daily News. “What we have to do is carry that over and I think we’ll be all right.”
Even though they’re the defending champs, Giants quarterback Eli Manning told WFAN’s Boomer & Carton this week, “I feel like we’ve still got a lot to prove.” So does Umenyiora.
It all starts Friday when the team takes the practice field at training camp in Albany.
“There’s always a lot to prove every year,” Osi Umenyiora said. “It’s not like the Olympics or the World Cup. Every year somebody’s got to win it again. Last year’s over with. Going into this year nobody’s picking us to win again, as usual. There’s always going to be a lot to prove every year we go out there.”
Big Blue has their doubters in Las Vegas. Oddsmakers haven’t exactly been high on New York’s chances to repeat, placing the franchise around No. 10 in various sports books.
And then there was the treatment Manning received after winning his second Super Bowl MVP.
Former teammate Kurt Warner “fully” disagreed with the notion of Manning as a future Hall of Famer. The Giants star was later voted No. 31 by his peers in the NFL Network’s “Top 100,” resulting in backlash from Justin Tuck. Even ex-New York wide receiver Amani Toomer said Manning wasn’t the best quarterback in the NFC East. That honor goes to Dallas Cowboys starter Tony Romo, Toomer said this month on his radio show.
Umenyiora told the Daily News that the Giants are “used to” being undervalued.
“My teammates understand we are the champions and we are the best team in football until someone knocks us off that mantle,” he said. “To me there’s no question we’re a great football team and we’re going to play that way. But it’s just making everybody else on our football team understand that what we did last year wasn’t a fluke.
“What we did last year was real and we can do that again this year.”
Do you think there’s not enough respect around the league for Big Blue? Be heard in the comments below…