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Giants vs. Patriots Super Bowl rematch 4 years in the making
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) ' That was then. This is now.
That's what players on the Giants and Patriots are saying about their previous Super Bowl meeting, New York's 17-14 stunner over the then-unbeaten Patriots four years ago.
To hear them talk, it has little or no relevance to Sunday's matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium.
' Honestly, for us, that '07 thing was kind of like us coming together as a football team," defensive end Justin Tuck said Monday when the NFC champions arrived in Indy. "We just said we wanted to kill a dynasty, and that's what they were. But now, we've been here before and we felt as though all that is secondary. We just want to come in here and have our mind focused on playing a great football game, and not really getting caught up in all the hoopla around the game."
Or the hoopla still attached the 2007 NFL championship. Replays of David Tyree's incredible ball-against-helmet catch or Plaxico Burress' winning TD reception in the final minute seem to be shown around the clock ' along with the Giants sacking Tom Brady five times.
The Giants (12-7) might need to replicate that performance to stop New England (15-3) from winning its fourth Super Bowl under Bill Belichick and Brady at quarterback.
"We had a lot of hits on him," Tuck said. "Even when we didn't hit him, he didn't have the time to sit back there and allow some of the routes to develop. We know that as a D-line, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make sure that we are in his face. He is a hell of a quarterback, and he is going to do a lot of things to throw us off our rhythm.
"You are going to get your shots because they are an explosive offense and they like to take shots downfield, too. We are going to have our chances, and we just are going to have to do a great job of taking advantage of them."
New England didn't take advantage in that Super Bowl, the last time both teams got this far. Dredging up what went wrong not only is painful but, the Patriots say, it's useless.
"Every time you get to this level, it's a special level. You have to enjoy it," defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. "This is something that is going to stick with you for the rest of your life. 2007 was 2007, now we're in 2012. Both teams are different. I don't think we're looking for revenge."
Belichick is playing down that angle, too ' even if some believe he's constantly reminding his players that the Giants not only beat them in the Super Bowl four years back, but beat them at home in November.
"I've been asked about that game for several days now. All of the games in the past really don't mean that much at this point," said Belichick, 3-1 in NFL championship games. "This game is about this team this year. There aren't really a lot of us coaches and players who were involved in that game, and very few players, in relative terms, between both teams. We are where we are now, and we're different than where we were earlier in the season. The Giants are where they are now, and I think they're different than where they were at different points of the season. To take it back years and years before that, I don't think it has too much bearing on anything."