I guess, when something works, there's no reason to stop doing it. But I can't help but think that, for a group of people that likes to say "talk is cheap," the New York Giants sure do seem to enjoy a bargain.
In this week's episode of "Giants Needle Their Opponent," passive-aggressive antagonist Justin Tuck is accusing the Pittsburgh Steelers of playing dirty. Yes, of course the Giants host the Steelers on Sunday:
Tuck told ESPN's Rachel Nichols Thursday: "I hope we get some holding calls because they have gotten away with murder. They've done a very good job protecting Ben (Roethlisberger) -- they don't hold on every play. But we've seen a whole lot of it."
The funny thing about the Giants is that they don't even change up the program on this stuff. This is remarkably similar, as that story points out, to Tuck calling the Atlanta Falcons' offensive line "dirtbags" in advance of last season's playoff game and to offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride saying before last month's game in San Francisco that the 49ers' Justin Smith "gets away with murder." They don't even change their terminology.
Now, it may just be that the Giants are telling the truth. It certainly wouldn't be the first time the Steelers were accused of being dirty, and as we pointed out when we covered this last month, there was independent evidence to prove Gilbride's point about San Francisco's Smith. But what I know for sure is that every defensive lineman thinks every offensive lineman holds too much and that the Giants almost always seem to have something to say about that week's opponent, whether it's an accusation of dirty play or an admission that they don't like them.
No team gets its back up more quickly or angrily than the Giants do when they perceive someone is saying something negative about them. Yet, they seem to feel no compunction about giving as good as or better than they get. It's all part of the way they like to operate. They use external means of motivation ("Nobody respects us!") to fire themselves up, and they don't think it can hurt to make public comments about opponents' questionable techniques in advance of games. Hey, you never know if you might be able to plant something in the subconscious of that week's officiating crew, right?
The Giants' way of doing business tends to work out for them. They're a 6-2 defending Super Bowl champion for whom a lot has gone right over the past 11 months. I just get a chuckle out of the idea that a team that claims its motto is "Talk is cheap, play the game" talks as much as these Giants talk.