NFL: Giants winding down from Super Bowl
By Tom Canavan
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó With the exception of a trip to the White House and a ring presentation ceremony, the Super Bowl partying is just about over for the New York Giants.
For the past two weeks, players have been working up a sweat during the team’s offseason conditioning program and exchanging stories about the wild two months that followed the Giants’ remarkable 17-14 victory over the New England Patriots in the NFL title game.
“There are a lot of NFL players that go through their whole career and never experience it,” center Shaun O’Hara said. “I think winning the Super Bowl is something every player and coach should have the opportunity to go through. The reality is they don’t.
“I think you have to cherish it for what it is, relish the moment as a great memory, but you can’t dwell on it,” O’Hara added.
If there were a common thread among the returning players, it would be how fast the past two months had gone.
David’s Tyree remarkable fourth-quarter catch, the parade through the “Canyon of Heroes” in New York City and all the personal appearances seem a distant memory.
“It’s been hectic,” placekicker Lawrence Tynes said. “I’m glad to be back here. There is some normalcy to it, but you have to understand when you win a championship in New York it’s big news.”
For most of the Giants, all that’s left is the White House trip ó expected later this month ó and the handing out of the Super Bowl rings sometime after that.
“The Super Bowl will never be forgotten,” halfback Brandon Jacobs said. “Guys will always talk about it. We know we have to hang that up and work toward next season.”
It begins Sept. 4 at Giants Stadium against the Washington Redskins. And Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning estimated as many as 90 percent of the team is taking part in the conditioning program.
“Everybody is here,” Manning said. “Everybody understands we have work to do. You don’t win a championship and take a year off. That’s not the program. That’s not how it works.”
The problem for the Giants is their history in post-Super Bowl seasons. The three other times New York went to the Super Bowl (1987, 1990 and 2001), it did not make the playoffs the following season.
Still, defensive tackle Barry Cofield isn’t worried.
“For a veteran who has never won, they may want to soak this in a little more,” Cofield said. “For a guy like me, I want to get back and experience that feeling again.”
Veteran safety Sammy Knight, who signed as a free agent in the offseason, has never won the championship.
“I’m riding the wave a little bit,” he said. “For me, it’s like I’m hungry. It has added incentive for me. I can sense it. I see the banner, and it pushes me that much more, seeing the joy these guys have in winning that Super Bowl.”
The good times have led to some funny stories.
O’Hara and Manning went to dinner in New York and met Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who congratulated them on their championship.
Manning then asked Berra how many World Series he won with the New York Yankees.
“10,” Berra said.
“Eli turned to me and said: ‘We have nine more to go,”‘ O’Hara said. “When you think of it in those terms, it’s pretty amazing.”