In 2007, the New England Patriots had visions of a perfect season. The only thing standing between them and a chance at history was a red-hot Giants team led by Eli Manning and a dominant pass-rush. Four years ago in the NFL’s biggest game, the Giants battered around Tom Brady and shut-down the Patriots explosive offense as New York squashed the dreams of the Pats in one of the more memorable endings to a Super Bowl game in a long time.
This weekend, the two teams will get together in a rematch. Many things remain the same from that Super Bowl. Tom Brady is back to get revenge on Eli Manning and the Giants are once again heading to the big-game riding a wave of momentum after wins against the Falcons, Packers, and 49ers. However, this time instead of playing in Arizona, it’s in Indianapolis. If the Patriots want a different outcome then it will be up to Matt Light and the Patriots offensive line to protect Tom Brady from a pass-rush that has wrecked havoc in the playoffs this season. Super Bowl XLVI is Eli Manning against his big brother’s nemesis, in the house that Peyton built, for the Lombardi trophy. It sets up to be just like many of the playoff games already this season. Intense, gripping, and entertaining.
Matt Light joined 98.5 the Sports Hub in Boston with Damon Amendolara to talk whether or not the Super Bowl experience gets better with every opportunity, what he was thinking in the AFC Championship game when Billy Cundif was lining up for a game-tying field goal, how much this season has been played for the memory of Myra Kraft, whether or not it helps to have played the Giants in the regular season, if the loss in Super Bowl 42 is talked about, and whether or not he believes the Giants have the best front four in the NFL.
Whether or not the Super Bowl experience gets better with every opportunity:
“It does get better because ever since the very first time we went to the Super Bowl and got to experience all that the number one line I heard was you know ‘what’s your favorite ring?’ This was asked to I think our strength coach who had been down in Dallas and several rings to choose from. He always said ‘my next one. My next one is my favorite one.’ It’s true. This is definitely going to be the best of the best when I think about all the things we’ve done. This will be the best if we can pull this off.”
What he was thinking in the AFC Championship game when Billy Cundiff was lining up for a game-tying field goal:
“I’m hoping it doesn’t go through. You kind of stop there. Look if it would’ve gone through we would’ve gone out there and did what we had to do offensively to put ourselves in a good position. It was great not having to do that. Obviously you feel bad for him but we’re going to the game man. That’s all that matters. That’s what we’ve been working on all week. All week? All year.”
On the passing of Myra Kraft and how that has been a motivating factor:
“It’s been the one thing that has been the common thread to everything we’ve done. Remembering her, remembering what she stood for, the things that she has done that’s made such a big impact in the lives of so many people here in New England and all across the country. It was really at the heart of who she was. Giving back and having strong ties to each guy in that locker room through charitable works and other non-profits. You just can’t say enough and it’s just been so great being able to do what we’ve done so far in her memory and really being able to honor that.”
How much it helps to have played the Giants already this season:
“Obviously you do have some familiarity and that takes you so far but only so far. I think the fact that we played them in the regular season will give us a little something more to look at but really you look at how they’ve played in the last four or five games, it’s just been incredible. They’ve definitely improved during the most critical part of the year when you need to improve so we have a lot of work to do regardless of how much we know about them. We’ve got a lot of work to do in the film room, out there on the practice field, and everything else so hopefully some of that stuff we’ve learned you know in the previous two meetings will serve us well but we’re going to have to do a lot more than that.”
On the importance of the offensive line against the Giants front four:
“You have to play good football. You can’t make mistakes. You can’t have the negative yardage plays that put you in second and third and long and that stuff. All the things we talk about all year. That was then and this is now. It is what it is as far as what’s in the past. What we’re going to do and what we’ve been able to do all year is still something we’ve got to fine tune and we will. Hopefully we’ll get better than we were this past Sunday and we’ll go out there and execute at a high level. I think we will. We have a lot of guys that it means a lot to go in a do the little things and extra things. I think we will be in good position.”
Whether or not the loss in Super Bowl 42 looms over this game:
“We don’t talk about it. That was then and this is now. We’ve only got a handful of guys that were around for that. This is a totally, drastically different team than we had back then so I doubt that will play into anything that we have going on for the next eight, nine, or ten days or so.”
If the Giants have the best front four in the NFL:
“I think so. I mean I don’t think you get to this point without having a really good solid team in general. These guys have always been known for what they do up front. Those four guys, five or six, however you want to categorize them and whether or not you view them as an in-the-box type of player, they are all good at what they do. They have multiple different moves and things they do as individuals and a group so if it’s not the best then obviously one of the best in the league.”