In 2007, Michael Strahan was the unquestioned leader of the New York Giants. He was a veteran who demanded the attention of any room he walked into. Memories of a loss in Super Bowl XXXV left Strahan and company extra-focused.
"I think the magnitude was overwhelming to us, whereas the second time, I remember myself and Amani Toomer had a chance to address the team and we told them, 'Hey, it's just a game. Everything around it is great, but let's not get caught up in it.' "
The Giants famously wore all-black suits on their flight to Glendale, Arizona for Super Bowl week, a sign of unity.
The fact that he and fellow veteran Amani Toomer had experienced the feeling of losing the Super Bowl left them with an unfortunate understanding of the bitter feeling of what it feels like to get that close to the top.
The second both the New York Giants and New England Patriots advanced to Super Bowl XLVI, media outlets and newspapers the nation over prepared headlines about just how dialed in Bill Belichick and Tom Brady would be for this game.
Surely they shared the same feelings as Strahan did back in 2007, which offers them the early edge.
Now, the Giants have adopted the personality of their leader, the business like Eli Manning.
Having won his first trip to the Super Bowl, Eli knows what it takes to win, but he also watched his brother lose a Super Bowl not two years ago. He wants every member of his team to continue the "All In" mantra and put their best foot forward in Super Bowl XLVI.
"I was just telling them a little bit about how to prepare for this," Manning said. "Just a few things on just the mindset of this week. Prepare this week like you're playing this week, because once we get to Indianapolis, you've got to take a bus ride to practice and the whole schedule gets thrown off."
According to Antrel Rolle, the message got across.
"Excellent message from Eli," Giants safety Antrel Rolle said. "Even for a player like myself who's been to a Super Bowl, it's still great to hear someone speak with that kind of leadership. Eli doesn't say much, but when he says it, he means it and you know it comes from the heart."
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