SB Snap Judgments (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday January 29, 2008 6:53PM; Updated: Wednesday January 30, 2008 1:57AM
Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce doesn't strike me as a big Tiki Barber fan. Pierce was asked if New York was better off this season without their retired Pro Bowl running back, and he didn't exactly side-step the question.
"We're in the Super Bowl,'' Pierce said, letting his point linger. "I can't speak for anything other than we're in the Super Bowl. We weren't last year, and we are this year.''
Take that, Tiki-man.
That makes two days in a row that Pierce might have had the quote of the day. On Monday, he bristled at the suggestion the Giants were only here as the necessary opponents for the soon-to-be 19-0 Patriots.
"They are standing in our way,'' Pierce said. "We're not here to hand over the Lombardi Trophy to them. We're not Roger Goodell.''
The Patriots' 31-year-old offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels turned down the opportunity to interview for head coaching jobs in Baltimore and Atlanta earlier this month, but his name reportedly still remains on the Washington Redskins' radar screen. I asked him Tuesday if his refusal to interview was a blanket decision for this year, or could change next week once the Patriots are done playing games for the season.
"I haven't thought about that at all,'' McDaniels said. "At the time I made that decision, it was basically to say 'I'm focusing on the playoffs, period.' I'm not going to worry about anything like that. And if it comes up in the future, it comes up in the future and I'll entertain that at that time.''
That's a bit of a non-denial denial, but it sounds like he might listen to the Redskins to me.
For a team that wore black suits to town Monday to signify they were going to be all business this week, the Giants were the team that seemed to have the most fun with Super Bowl media day. The Patriots weren't sticks in the mud, but they had a certain amount of been there, done that mentality to their demeanor.
I even caught Eli Manning ragging on his famous older brother, when the topic turned to Peyton's commercial acting skills.
"It hurts me to say this, but he's getting better with his acting,'' Eli said. "He's pretty funny actually. And that's not easy for me as his brother to admit. But he's worked on it.''
That Stephen Gostkowski, he's no Adam Vinatieri. At least on Super Bowl media day. I have always made a point of spending a little time with Vinatieri on media day, just to hear him recount for the umpteenth time how he's a distant relative of both daredevil Evel Knievel and Gen. George Custer's bandleader. It was almost always the story of choice when it came to Vinatieri on media day.
So I buzzed by Gostkowski on Tuesday and asked the Patriots' second-year kicker if he had any famous/quirky family ties to compete with Vinatieri's?
"I got nothing,'' Gostkowski said. "I got a last name that's hard to spell. That's about it.''
That's one ugly and out-of-control beard, Logan Mankins. Might take an hour to hack that puppy back to anything close to shaving condition.
Could be just me, but Patriots No. 1 cornerback Asante Samuel doesn't sound too worried about being matched up with 6-foot-5 Giants receiver Plaxico Burress.
"He's not the first 6-5 guy we've gone against,'' said Samuel, who's generously listed at 5-10. True. Samuel takes on the 6-5 Moss every day in practice. Burress can't jump or run like Moss.
Samuel missed a good bit of training camp in a contract holdout that was prompted by his distaste at being franchise-tagged by New England. Giants defensive end Michael Strahan missed almost all of the preseason while flirting with retirement.
So who needs August?
"Maybe we did start a trend,'' Samuel told me. "Maybe we started a trend that people can miss training camp and still have a wonderful season.''
Strahan's getting a lot of predictable retirement questions this week. As in, are you quitting after this game? Put me down for he'll find a way to skip a good deal of training camp again next year, then report for another season.
"If we win (Sunday), that might be it,'' said Strahan, channeling Jerome Bettis. "And it might not. It's going to be tough, because when it's over, it's over. My fairy-tale ending would be winning the Super Bowl and quitting when I can still walk away.''
Now I know I'm at the Super Bowl, because the driver of the media bus I was on this morning repeatedly got lost on her way from the NFL media center to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, site of media day festivities. The first year that doesn't happen to me at some point during Super Bowl week will be the first time that doesn't happen to me at some point during Super Bowl week.
Speaking of UPS, which is what I just nicknamed the unwieldy sounding University of Phoenix Stadium, it's gorgeous inside, but looks like some kind of double-wide Gulfstream trailer on steroids from the outside.
And yes, the spaceship comparison just seemed too easy for my taste.
Patriots receiver Donte' Stallworth was wearing a pair of diamond earrings to media day, and some optimistic gent tried to get him to say that he and not Tom Brady set the tone for fashion in the New England locker room.
Stallworth wasn't biting. "Tommy's the best-dressed guy in the Solar System,'' he said. "Have you seen him?''
I'm betting that Zak DeOssie, the Giants rookie linebacker and son of former Patriots and Giants linebacker Steve DeOssie, will be asked 754 times this week who his father is rooting for Sunday. I stood near him for about 90 seconds on Tuesday and I heard that line of questioning at least twice.
"Blood is thicker than water,'' said Zak, a fifth-round pick out of Brown, his eyes already glazing over. "Everyone thinks he's torn, but we all know who he's rooting for. He's rooting for the Giants.''
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