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Eli Manning Press Conference, 01.24.12

Q: Antrel Rolle said that you addressed the team today. What did you say?

A: I just told them a little bit about how to prepare for this – handle all of your business with tickets, getting that stuff done, just a few things on the mindset of this week. ‘We have to have great preparation. Prepare this week like you’re playing the game this week. Once you get to Indianapolis and you have to take a bus ride to practice – your whole schedule gets thrown off. Once you get there try to keep the same routine on some things. Everything that we would do during a normal week, we’re going to get it done this week and then next week have great practices and preparation, continue preparing, but get our workload in this week.’

Q: How much football stuff is done this week as opposed to next week?

A: Everything’s in. I would say it’s 95 percent complete. There might be a few additions that week. The more film you look at, you might change a few things, but really from the standpoint of the coaches and the players, our preparation will be done this week. Everything is kind of a day off. We’ll start on Thursday, but Thursday, Friday, Saturday will be like a normal, in our case, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. So everything will be going in. Once we get out to Indianapolis we’ll have those practices on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, but it will be review at that point. The game plan is in. We’ll get an extra day of each emphasis of the week to work on.

Q: I remember Tom Coughlin emphasized that last time. Is it better to get it done here?

A: Yeah, I think so. That’s a big help. I think that’s the way you want to do it. Everybody knows the game plan and everybody has two weeks to look at it, understand it. Once you get out there everybody will feel good about what we’re doing. Now it’s let’s continue this dress rehearsal and get extra reps of plays and just have a great understanding of what we’re doing.

Q: What’s the biggest difference with this team since the last time you played the Patriots?

A: It’s tough to say. Last time we played them our defense played outstanding, getting turnovers. We turned the ball over once in the end zone, which is always tough. I thought we did a good job of rallying back in the fourth quarter and had a couple of drives to go score and win. Obviously we didn’t have Hakeem Nicks that game. There are a few things that are different. They have some players back. They have some new players playing. We’ll have to go back and we’ll watch that game obviously to see what they did to slow us down. They played a lot of two safeties and really challenged us to run the ball. I think we’re running the ball better now than we were at that point. So we’ll see if that changes up. I think those are the main things.

Q: What did you think when you saw Ann Mara go up to Terry Bradshaw during the NFC Championship trophy presentation?

A: I didn’t see it. I’ve heard about it and kind of seen it on the news and read about it a little bit. You have to laugh. Mrs. Mara, you see her and you think ‘Sweet Mrs. Mara’, but she is obviously very passionate about Giants football and passionate about this team and involved and knows players. I like her attitude. I like the way she spoke her mind about something she cares dearly about.

Q: Would you cross Mrs. Mara?

A: Never. Not Mrs. Mara. She’s the boss.

Q: How much did you share with the guys about staying in the moment and not getting caught up in everything?

A: I think that’s important. It comes down to us getting our preparation done this week. If you do extra meetings – the meetings that I hold with my running backs or something I do with my receivers, I’m going to try to get all of that done this week because once you get out to Indianapolis your routine does get thrown off. If there are certain things you do during a normal week, once you’re in Indianapolis – if you get a massage on certain days or if you get treatment or if you get an extra workout in – you want to try to continue to do those things. You want to try to stay in that same rhythm, have that same schedule. It is going to be thrown off. You will have to work around it somewhat, but you want to keep things as routine as possible.

Q: Are you sore from Sunday?

A: No. I feel good. I got a good workout in – will be ready to go once we start practice and excited about our opportunities.

Q: Do you think there will be more Giants fans than Patriots fans because the Super Bowl is being played where your brother plays and because the Patriots are not the most popular team?

A: It’s also a case where when you get to a Super Bowl there are not many fans from that town going to the game. There will obviously be some, but it’s a lot of corporate people going, a lot of fans from both teams will be there. You always hope that you will have the most fans supporting us and rooting for us. You’re always interested in how the crowd noise will be, whether you’ll need to use a silent cadence or regular cadence. We’ll probably practice both those. That’s the good thing about having two weeks. You have a lot of things you can work on.

Q: Are you going to talk to Peyton about the noise in the stadium?

A: I don’t think he’s ever been the away team in his own stadium.

Q: You’ve had a lot of success in the playoffs against teams you’ve played in the regular season of that year. What does that say about your coaches?

A: Obviously both people have that same opportunity, both teams do. We’ll obviously look hard at the first game, but knowing coach Belichick and their staff they’ll have a new game plan, they’ll have some new wrinkles in there. We have to give credit to them. They’re a great staff and great coaches. They’ll be well prepared. Just from watching one of their games it seems like they have changed up a little bit. When we played them last time there was a four-down scheme, now they seem to be going more 3-4. Even though it’s still similar, it’s still the same players in there, it’s just a matter of how they’re lined up.

Q: Do you guys do a good job of anticipating what they will do?

A: Yeah. I think you have to. You have to anticipate what they might do. That’s the good thing about having six practice days to get ready, you can practice a whole lot of different looks and be prepared for anything.

Q: Do you regret saying that you were elite?

A: No. I don’t have any regrets. I thought I gave an honest answer. I didn’t regret it at the time or think anything of it at the time. Obviously it’s been made into a big deal, but I can’t always control that. I’m worried about getting ready to play this game and go out there and play my best football and get the team to play our best football. That’s my job. My job is to play the game. It’s your job to talk and make up stories.

Q: Anything about the Super Bowl that will be different for you the second time?

A: I don’t think so. I think last time we had a good idea in having talked to some of the players – Amani Toomer and Strahan – guys who had played in Super Bowls before. I think they gave good messages that week just on getting ready, getting focused, not being wowed by the experience and thinking, ‘Hey, I’m about to play in the Super Bowl’ or watching the camera flashes on kickoff. If you get involved with that, all of sudden you’re playing a game and once you start playing it’s already the second quarter. So you have to have the mindset that, ‘Hey, we’re going to play a game’ and understand your responsibilities and just go enjoy it, have fun and as much as possible treat it like every other game you play in even though it’s tough.

Q: What do you respect most about Tom Coughlin?

A: Just the way he prepares, the way he gets his team ready, his messages, the way his attitude is portrayed onto the players and the players kind of take on that attitude in their preparation and approach to play. He’s very passionate about football, about his coaching and being prepared and being committed all the way in to doing your job correctly. I think that’s what I see the most out of him and what leads his players to prepare and play that way.

Q: Do you have a relationship with Tom Brady?

A: Not like Peyton probably. I’ve seen him around and we’re always friendly. He’s always been nice to me. So besides that, we’re not real close.

Q: As you entered the league and developed was Tom Brady one of those quarterbacks that you measure yourself up against or you watch?

A: He’s definitely a quarterback that you watch just because he was obviously having success in those years and over the past years he’s played at an extremely high level – his playmaking ability, his movement in the pocket, playing smart football. You watch a lot of quarterbacks and if you’re playing a team, you’re preparing for them and you see that they’ve played the Patriots you’ll kind of watch those games just because their offense does good things, they have a good passing attack and see how they hit some plays and did certain things. He is a good quarterback to watch and he does great things.

Q: Did any of those hits you took on Sunday hurt and why did you take so many hits?

A: We threw it 58 times so that’s always going to equate to more hits. We had 93 total plays also, so it wasn’t like we were just throwing it every time. That’s a lot of plays in a game. We had some decent runs, but we didn’t think that was the approach to beat this team. We knew it was going to be tough to run it against them. We thought we could hit some quick passes and avoid some of the hits, slow down their pass rush, but obviously in the second half they started getting a good rush and making some plays. We couldn’t quite get the ball out fast enough on a couple of situations, but that’s part of football. There’s going to be tough games where you’re going to take some hits, but obviously we did some good things offensively, did have some chances to hit some big plays and got the win.

Q: Were you at least proud that you didn’t turn it over that game?

A: Yeah. That was probably the key to that victory. Going in we said, of any other stat, if we have zero turnovers we felt we would win that game. You have to make some plays and have good third-down conversions – things like that. We thought the number one thing we had to do was protect the football to give ourselves a chance to win.

Q: How do you balance going to the Super Bowl and your family?

A: Having a good wife and she supports me and understands that I’m about to go play in a very important game. She’s dealt with the Super Bowl as well. She understands what time I have to spend getting ready this week and once we get to Indianapolis she knows I’m going to be very busy. She’ll be doing her own thing and I’ll be doing mine.

Q: Do you expect any more marriage proposals from fans during media week?

A: You never know. Media day is always crazy. Be prepared for everything, I guess.

Q: This is a legacy game for you.

A: This is a big game for the Giants organization. This is a big game for every single player who’s going to be playing this game. It’s no bigger for me than Coach Coughlin than it is for JPP and Justin Tuck and any other person playing this game. So I think you approach it that way. You want to be as prepared as possible. You hope that you can go in there and play your best football that you’ve ever played. That’s always the goal, but ultimately you have a game plan, you try to go execute it and whatever type of game it turns into – whether it’s low scoring or a lot of touchdowns or whatever the circumstances – you play to those circumstances and try to put your team in a situation to win.