(Long Island, N.Y.) Both head coaches and a good number of the players involved have been here, done that. Having past Super Bowl experience makes even the loose-lipped more the wiser and Media Day at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was more or less uneventful. Sorry for anyone expecting bulletin board material; cooler heads prevailed.
Even someone as flamboyant as Chad Ochocinco played it low key when asked if he came to New England with the goal of winning a Super Bowl. “You come in with expectations of being successful, and the goal in the back of your mind, as always, is to get to the Super Bowl,” the wide receiver formerly known as Chad Johnson said, and it appears that he has easily become acclimated to his new team’s way of thinking.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick knows that the talking that counts is done on the field and the disciplinarian surely let his team know that again – even though a good portion of their locker room is playing in their fifth championship game. His strategy is to keep things simple and the way that his players are used to.
“We’ve had a routine all year and we’ll try to stay in that routine,” he said. “There are some things like (Media Day) that are different, but we will adjust to those and get back to doing the things we need to do to get prepared for the game.”
On the other side, Tom Coughlin can rely on his veteran players to ensure that their younger brethren are in step. “When you have a tight knit team and the younger guys can go to the older guys for knowledge about the experience, it helps an awful lot,” the Giants head coach said. These veteran players have been really good about directing and talking to the young guys and making sure that they are on board.”
One of those younger players is Prince Amukamara, who has had a rocky rookie campaign in the Big Apple with an early injury and inconsistent play. But he seems to be prescribing to the laid-back attitude that this team preaches and knows when it’s time to go to work.
“On the first kickoff, there is going to be a lot of light bulb flashes,” the cornerback said. “But once the ball is kicked and you get that first hit, those feelings go away.”
The king of being unflappable on the Giants is none other than their quarterback, Eli Manning. Although he will be playing in his second Super Bowl, he never takes anything for granted and spread that way of thinking to his younger mates.
“Every person, whether this is your first year in the NFL or 14th, this is a special experience and you don’t know if you’re going to get another chance,” the MVP of SBXLII said. “Whether you’re at the end of your career or the beginning, you might not get here again. It is rare and it is tough so you want to enjoy the experience and the bonding time and the down time that you have with your teammates. When it’s time to prepare and practice, it’s time to get your focus ready to play this game. We need one hundred percent commitment and dedication to going out there and playing our best football.”
Smart words coming from someone who knows.