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We've covered a zillion different angles on Super Bowl XLVI over the last two weeks and one of them was the Giants' continued insistence on playing the underdog card.
It didn't ring true last week and it didn't sound any better when Tom Coughlin dusted off the old chestnut on Thursday in Indianapolis. The Giants coach was insistent that there is no one in the world who believes the Giants can actually win the game on Sunday.
"It's still us against the world," said Coughlin. "That's the way we play it, period. We're still the underdogs. We still have an awful lot to prove."
Finding buyers of what Coughlin is selling won't be easy because it is hard to find anyone who is convinced the Giants are out of their depth this time around.
It's not 2008, the Patriots aren't undefeated and the general consensus seems to be that the Giants have a more talented team than New England this time around.
But Coughlin probably wasn't just addressing the media when he made that comment on Thursday. He was likely saying something he feels that his team needs to hear.
There has been a steady rise in the rhetoric from Giants camp over the last two weeks and it has crossed the line from being confident to a bit cocky in the last few days. You had Antrel Rolle's non-guarantee guarantee on Tuesday, Chris Canty telling New York to go ahead with plans for a parade and Jason Pierre-Paul scoffing at the notion that the Giants defense wouldn't make life miserable for Tom Brady on Sunday.
All in all, it sounds an awful lot like the kind of talk that made the Giants so upset when they were preparing to face the Jets back in the regular season. For a coach who lives by the mantra "Talk is cheap," all of the chirping has to be of some concern to Coughlin. His team doesn't seem to care a bit about his thoughts on the topic.
While all of the talking from the Giants does seem out of character, we prefer it to what Coughlin is pushing. The Giants don't sound like a scared team trying to talk themselves into a trip to the lion's den. They sound like a team that comes by their confidence honestly because they've earned the right to feel good about themselves.
Even if you'd like to hear a bit less big talk from the Giants, it's hard to come up with an argument that the underdog angle isn't the dishonest one in this case. That doesn't mean a little humility isn't a good thing. But there's nothing wrong with this team feeling confident and letting that confidence shine through in a way that shows it will come as no surprise to them if they win the game.
If they don't win, there will surely be a contingent that says the team was overconfident. Unless there's concrete evidence that the Giants took their foot off the gas in practice or somehow overlooked the Patriots, that's just applying a post facto narrative to something that doesn't fit.
Games are won on the field and all the noise won't matter once the Giants and Patriots get there.