By Jason Keidel
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As New Yorkers prep for football’s biggest game, who better to hear from than a New York football icon? caught up with Giants legend Carl Banks, who opined on his two titles, Bill Parcells and Super Bowl 50.

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JK: How nervous were you before your first Super Bowl? Is it possible to see the Super Bowl as just another football game?

Banks: The Super Bowl was a week of nervous energy … so many scenarios that flow through the mind. The sheer magnitude of the game makes it more than “just another game.” However once the “game” begins, it is still football.

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JK: Were you more confident you’d win in 1986 than 1990?

Banks: In 1986, we were pretty confident we would dominate whoever the opponent was. 1990 was a bit different in that we never got the respect we deserved, and the challenge of the Bills forced us to play a different type of game.

The Giants' Carl Banks tackles Buffalo's Andre Reed in Super Bowl XXV. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

The Giants’ Carl Banks tackles Buffalo’s Andre Reed in Super Bowl XXV. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

JK: Where were you and what was going through your mind when Scott Norwood was lining up for that field goal?

Banks: I was on the field for the attempt. When they lined up, I thought to myself: Both teams played their asses off and, if this is made, they earned it. Obviously, I felt that last series was enough to keep him out of range.

JK: Do you like a big-game speech, or do you have your own more muted ritual?

Banks: I think the last time I paid attention to a big-game speech was in college on a bad football team. By the time Bill Parcells addressed the team, we’d have heard enough from him during the week. He knew how to work each guy, each unit, each assistant coach during the week so no major speech was necessary.

Actually, the genesis of the Gatorade bath was a element of payback for the ass that Bill had been that particular week. He rode us so hard that Jim Burt and Harry Carson decided to douse him with Gatorade.

JK: Bill Parcells was notoriously superstitious. Is there a quirk that you still recall all these years later?

Banks: He kept pennies in his office heads up. We could fool him during training camp. If we wanted to get out of a particular drill, we would insist we didn’t do it the week before. Because of his superstitions, the Gatorade continued.

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JK: Does Peyton Manning have enough to win the game or will it have to be the Denver defense that keeps it close?

Banks: This game will ultimately come down to which offense is best equipped to handle a dominant defense, which both teams possess. All things equal I like Wade Phillips and his troops. Peyton will make plays, but more important he will not turn the ball over.

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JK: Do you think the result of the Super Bowl will impact Peyton’s decision over retirement?

Banks: His decision to retire is probably already in motion. Win or lose, barring a definitive injury, he already knows his next move. I’m sure he wants to win Sunday, but a loss wont bring him back if he wants to leave.

The result of the game will not impact his legacy whatsoever. His work over the duration of his career speaks for itself. Super Bowls make champions; they do not make careers.

JK: How would Bill Belichick and your Giants defenses have prepared for Cam Newton?

Banks: We would spend a lot of time studying run game tendencies as they, along with him, are the biggest threat. The passing game is good but not complex.
Cam would be respected as a multi-faceted player that must be hit hard every time he makes the decision to run.

We want to affect his capacity to make decisions. Only done through effective physical play. He likes to run because he can and it doesn’t hurt. He must feel the hurt like that of a running back.

JK: How do the linebackers in this game stack up to those from the Super Bowl Giants teams?

Banks: Both groups are damn good. However, man for man, they may be short one good linebacker. We had four. Denver has two beasts, and Brandon Marshall is up and coming. Panthers have two beasts and really good supporting cast.

JK: Who wins Super Bowl 50?

Banks: Broncos, 24-14

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