Both Antrel Rolle (left) and Justin Tuck (right) have had trouble keeping their “swagger” in check prior to the Super Bowl.
What’s the one thing you just don’t do in the week leading up to a game against the New England Patriots, something teams in the past have failed at and paid dearly for? Oh yeah, that’s right: open your mouth. New York Giants safety Antrel Rolle clearly didn’t get that message. Before boarding the Giants’ plane to Indianapolis for Super Bowl XLVI, he said that the team was expecting to win. At media day yesterday, Rolle continued to express this confident state-of-mind. “We are going to win this thing,” he said. “We are going to win this thing for a lot of good reasons.” The safety assured the New York media that this did not mean he was guaranteeing a Giants victory, yet contradicted himself when he said that his team was “not going to be denied at this point.”
As I’m sure most Patriots fans know, head coach Bill Belichick and his team are always looking for bulletin board material, and it appears that Rolle’s comments along with other “confident” (not cocky according to Justin Tuck) remarks made by the Giants will serve as such. Is this a reflection that New York really thinks they are going to win, or are these things simply being said as a form of self-reassurance? The G-men have boasted a confident swagger ever since that ’07 championship season, so this could simply just be a display of their mindset. I disagree. I think the Giants are scared of the Pats, just as New England seemed to be when the players’ confidence turned to cockiness in media sessions leading up to Super Bowl XLII.
This time around, however, the two teams have flip-flopped roles. While the Giants are letting their ego run wild, the Patriots have been very easy-going. The players are focused on winning and understand that this is a “business” trip as evidenced by their button-down attire at Sunday’s send-off rally inside Gillette Stadium, but they also realize it’s still just a football game. Not just any other game, no doubt, but one that they’ve always enjoyed to play and should on Sunday no matter what’s riding on it. This relaxed attitude has been best exemplified by coach Belichick, who has been seen smiling and constantly cracking jokes with the media the past couple of days. This is very unlike a man who has always been unhappy and tense even when his team won games. He has carried this positive demeanor throughout the playoffs, and with the Super Bowl just days away it’s been in full force. As speculated by former Patriot Troy Brown, currently a reporter with Comcast SportsNet New England (CSNNE), Belichick seems to be relaxing in order to get his players to as well. Brown says Bill realizes that his guys don’t play well when they’re tense and worried about making mistakes, so what better way to loosen them up than by acting as if he doesn’t have a care in the world? The Pats have always gone about things in a very particular, tight-knit fashion, so I think that this relaxed state that the team is currently in is serving as a “calm before the storm,” a storm that I don’t think the over-confident Giants are expecting come Sunday.