INDIANAPOLIS -- At the conclusion of his pre-Super Bowl XLVI press conference from the JW Marriott Media Center in downtown Indianapolis, New York Giants head coach took a minute to pose for pictures in front of a table set-up that showcased the Lombardi Trophy. Immediately after stepping down from the stage, Coughlin proceeded to the back of the conference room to partake in an on-air interview with NFL Network.
At this point, any devout Patriots follower would be shaking his or her head.
After, less than an hour earlier, Patriots coach Bill Belichick, once again in a light-hearted mood, couldn't have possibly looked more disinterested in the Lombardi trophy. He knew that this wasn't the time. And it's not that he can't or hasn't been appreciative of the opportunity to play for another Super Bowl title. During his press conference, he reflected as much, saying that "every Super Bowl is special, and it's a real privilege to be involved. I know this is my eighth one as a head or assistant coach, but it's what you work for all year long going all the way back to February or March when you start putting your team together and training camp and all the meetings."
And while Belichick has been appreciative and more laid back, he hasn't let that sentiment and attitude get to him or his team. He wants nothing to do with the accomplishment of getting to Super Bowl XLVI unless his team can actually win the thing. Again and again, he and the Patriots players have reflected that this week is a "business trip" and that there is still a "job" to be finished.
The Patriots are most certainly "confident." However, they are reflecting that confidence through an air of "quiet confidence," and as Tom Brady has said, the Patriots will do their talking on Sunday.
To me, I look at the Giants perceived "confidence" this week as being a bit arrogant. And, in my opinion, it starts with the head coach. Don't get me wrong, Tom Coughlin is a great guy, smart coach and I certainly wouldn't call him arrogant - but his team's "confidence" isn't the type that you want heading into the Super Bowl considering the potential pit-fall a loss could cause.
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For the past two weeks, all we've heard is how the Giants are going to rattle Tom Brady, score points at will against the Patriots porous pass defense, and how the Giants team "will win this thing." While Tom Coughlin's subtle actions today weren't in line with some of the things that Giants players have said the last ten days, they do reflect a split in philosophy from Belichick and the Patriots that has clearly trickled down and is represented in the personality of both teams.
And don't give me the "Patriots are sleeping" excuses that the New York tabloids are throwing out there. If you're in the Super Bowl, you should be confident that you will win - that should always be the expectation. But that confidence doesn't need to be expressed the way the Giants have chose to express it this week. Regardless of it's true nature, the Giants' outspoken confidence has created a sense of arrogance and cockiness that is hard to ignore.
As the Patriots have shown with their three Super Bowl titles in the past decade, you can win in the NFL through quiet confidence and dedicated preparation. The Patriots respect the Giants - they are a hell of a talented team. And while Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been a bit more relaxed during his press conferences this week, his underlying demeanor is all the same. The Patriots are confident, diligent in their preparations, and now, thanks to the sense arrogance and cockiness the Giants have created, the team will have a chip on their shoulder Sunday evening in Super Bowl XLVI.