Patriots-Giants very different since Super Bowl XLII

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Patriots-Giants very different since Super Bowl XLII

FOXBORO -- Prior to the Patriots' final preseason game, against the Giants on Sept. 1, Bill Belichick was asked to think back to Super Bowl XLII in Arizona.

On Wednesday, Belichick was asked a similar question, but not just about that Super Bowl loss. It was also about the most recent preseason game, and what the Patriots took out of that while game planning for this Sunday's game.

"I think there's some things you can take from that, obviously," said Belichick. "It's not like a regular-season game. Personnel-wise, there weren't a lot of matchups. They didn't play a lot of the players that will be playing in this game.

"Still, there's some basic Xs and Os, and there's some matchups that are relevant."

The Giants played pretty much none of their starters in that final preseason game, which New York won 18-17. The Patriots, meanwhile, played their starters into the second quarter.

It marked the third time the Patriots and Giants have met, since New York's 17-14 win over New England at the Super Bowl in February of 2008.

All three of those games have come in the preseason, where it's tough to take a team's game plan, and convert it to a meaningful regular-season strategy. The Giants have defeated the Pats in the last two of those preseason games. Just like the Super Bowl, it's all in the past.

But any time Belichick plays Eli Manning and the Giants -- from now until Belichick's retirement -- he'll be asked about the past. Not about the preseason. Not even about the regular season. But about Super Bowl XLII.

If the Patriots had won, perhaps it wouldn't be such an issue. But that's not the case.

The Giants entered the second half of that Super Bowl, trailing 7-3. They then scored 14 fourth-quarter points on Belichick's defense, including Manning's game-winning 83-yard drive in the final minutes that saw a miraculous catch by David Tyree on 3rd-and-5 that kept New York's drive alive and led to a Plaxico Burress 13-yard touchdown with 35 seconds left on the clock.

It wasn't enough time for Brady and the Patriots' offense, and 19-0 turned into 18-1.

Sunday's game against the Giants will be the first time since that Super Bowl, in which the result will matter. It's not the playoffs, but it's no longer a preseason tilt.

Still, memories of that Super Bowl loss will rise to the surface for Patriots fans this week.

As for the team itself? Belichick said he won't think about it more than any other past game.

"We won them, we lost them, but they're all in the past," said Belichick on Wednesday. "They're in the books. Whatever happened or didn't happen, we can't change it. It's part of history. And right now, I'm focused on getting ready for this week's game. That's the way it is every week. Focus on the week that we're playing, not what happened in the past.

"I think we're probably pretty much over that. Whatever the thoughts were after the game, they've come and they've gone. It's what it is. You can't change it.

"That was a long time ago," added Belichick. "There's not really a lot of players. There's a few players, there's not a lot of players that are playing in this game that played in the Super Bowl. There's certainly a lot that are playing Sunday that didn't play in that one, that are critical players to both teams in the game. So I think there's a lot that's changed."

A lot has changed on both sides, with schemes and personnel. And while the memory of that Super Bowl is more pleasant for the Giants, they feel the same way, entering Sunday's game at Gillette Stadium.

It's in the past.

"We're in the moment, very much, just like anybody else that's involved in this current 2011 season," said Giants coach Tom Coughlin in a conference call on Wednesday. "And we are focused on our opponents week in and week out, and that's where our attention goes.

"I don't think about it. I haven't spent a whole lot of time thinking about that. It seems like a long time ago. I certainly was very proud of our players and very happy for our team, our franchise, and our ownership. And I'll always cherish those memories, there isn't any question about that. The New England Patriots were a team that had gone through the regular season undefeated, which is a feat that is very, very, very rare, indeed. And they deserve credit for that. So, that's the extent of it to me. I'm trying to live in the moment."

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Watch Tom Brady's daughter Vivian tear it up on ski slopes

Tom Brady's daughter Vivian is a natural on skis.

The New England Patriots quarterback and apparently proud father posted a comical video of his 4-year-old daughter tearing it up on the ski hill. Vivian took on the bottom section of the run while adhering to the all-important instructions from the Super Cool Ski Instructor from the Comedy Central show, "South Park."

Brady added the audio from the "South Park" ski instructor to the video of his daughter skiing, and included a joke about "french frying" and "pizzaing" at the correct moments. 

"That’s my girl! Pizzaing when she's supposed to pizza, French frying when she's supposed to French fry... NOT having a bad time!!" Brady joked on Instagram.

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

Curran: Jets' 2015 tampering with Revis more extensive than NFL revealed

The Patriots obviously got it right when they pushed away from the table during the Darrelle Revis bidding war in 2015. 

The once-great corner spent the 2016 season languishing on the field. He’s spending the early part of the offseason reacting negatively to backpack journalism after midnight. 

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But the alleged double KO by Revis and his buddies isn’t what prompts this submission. 

It’s the revelation from Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News that the tampering the Jets engaged in when they were prying Revis loose from the Patriots was way, way more involved than what the NFL fined them for. And that Jets owner Woody Johnson knew all about it. 

Mehta leads his piece revealing that, long before free agency opened in 2015, Revis “was ready to squeeze more money out of [Johnson] who he knew would be willing to overpay for his services again.”

Mehta reports that, “back-channel discussions with the Jets in February set the foundation for a Revis reunion . . . 

“Team officials in stealth mode communicated with Revis, Inc., through private cell phones and face-to-face covert meetings at the 2015 Scouting Combine rather than make calls from the team's landlines at their Florham Park facility. No paper trails were a must.

“Johnson, the driving force behind bringing back Revis to right a wrong in his mind, endorsed all of it.”

The Patriots -- who were in the midst of the Deflategate colonoscopy that resulted in absurd-level discipline -- lodged a complaint with the league over the Jets tampering after Revis signed with the Jets in mid-March of 2015. 

The Jets were fined $100,000 but weren’t docked any draft picks.. The tender wrist slap came, ostensibly, because Johnson moronically stated at a December press conference that he’d “love” to have Revis return to New York. 

Maybe Johnson wasn’t being a dummy. That comment provided cover for the league office -- which has a documented history of treating the two NYC franchises with kid gloves -- to let the Jets off easy. 

Mehta’s article is the latest offering from him since completing his heel turn against Revis. 

Mehta did everything but fly the plane to bring Revis to New York once the 2014 season ended. And this is what he wrote the day the Jets penalty came down: 

The NFL’s attempt to uncover any dirt was an exercise in futility, a witch hunt driven by nonsense from a hypocritical organization with no reason to feel threatened by its competitor. 

You may wonder what’s the point? 

Clearly, the Patriots got it right while the Jets cheated, got what they wanted, and are now getting what they deserved. 

And everyone already knows the league office’s investigations and operations arms under the brutally incompetent leadership of Troy Vincent are a laughingstock. 

All true. But if I don’t write this now, I may have no recollection of this particular instance of league corruption given the absolute avalanche of other incidents