Friday 15 December 2017

Patriots on giant killing mission

The New England Patriots are careful not to use the actual word, but revenge is on their minds as they prepare to face the New York Giants in tomorrow's Super Bowl.

Four years ago, the Giants stunned the heavily favoured Patriots with a fourth-quarter comeback to snatch Super Bowl victory in Glendale, Arizona.

For the Patriots that remain from that team, memories of a defeat that denied them a place in the record books with a perfect 19-0 season still hurt.

"That hurt, man. That hurt bad," Patriots defensive end Mark Anderson said.

"We should have won that game right there. I don't even like to think about it any more. It was pretty bad, getting all that way and still we weren't able to win. It was tough."

Quarterback Tom Brady (above), the face of the Patriots franchise and a three-time Super Bowl champion, admitted there are parts of that day that still run through his mind.

"All the games you lose, there are plays that you want back," he said.

"Certainly, every time you lose, you think there is more that you could have done to help the team win. But when you win, you don't think about any of those things. You think about what you do well."

Even so, revenge is not a theme the Patriots are keen to talk about. As Brady said, this is a different Giants team, and a different Patriots team.

"I've seen plenty of clips from the game," he said, looking back to that day in Arizona.

"It's a different scheme, it's a different defence. Some of the players and the match-ups are the same, but I can see those from when we played in week nine (this season). There's not a lot of things that you can take from that game in 2007."

Four years ago, the Patriots were the undisputed powerhouse and the Giants were the unlikely upstarts who somehow snuck into the Super Bowl and won it.

This season might not be so far off. While the Patriots are 15-3, the Giants were reeling at 7-7 six weeks ago before five straight wins powered them to Indianapolis and another title shot.

The Giants' London-born defensive end Osi Umenyiora is hoping the parallels continue.

"Hopefully, we will have the same result," he said. "We still have one more game to go, but this is unbelievable."

The match-up of the Giants' 65-year-old Tom Coughlin and the Patriots' 59-year-old Bill Belichick will make for the oldest coaching battle in Super Bowl history, and the wily old heads on both sides will provide plenty of interest.

Coughlin was fighting for his job a few months ago, but could now join an elite group of just 12 men ever to guide teams to two or more Super Bowl titles.

To do so, he will have to beat a man who already has three rings in his collection.

"(Bill is) an exceptional football coach, and I've said that before," Coughlin said. "The style and the preparation ... Bill is going to work very hard, as we are, at showing you something and it really isn't what you think it is."


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