Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Updated: November 4, 12:18 AM ET
'Bad mood' Pats crank it up for Giants
By Chris Forsberg
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- If running back Kevin Faulk owns a videotape of Super Bowl XLII, he doesn't know where it is. Not that he'd have any use for it. The longest-tenured member of the New England Patriots has never watched a replay of the team's most frustrating loss and doesn't plan to start this week with the New York Giants coming to town for their first nonexhibition clash since that postseason meeting.
"First and foremost, that is not going to have anything on the game this weekend," said an emphatic Faulk. "And they won that game, that's only thing you can say about it. They've got a couple of guys from that team, but at the same time, it's a different team, a different year, and a different situation, really."
Pressed on the 17-14 loss in the Arizona desert that spoiled New England's quest for a perfect season, Faulk suggested he has avoided even the briefest of highlights.
"I never watched the game; never seen the game," he said. "Let's just talk about us playing them on Sunday -- us trying to play better and win a football game. That's what we want to do right now as a football team."
If Faulk sounds a little grumpy, it's because he and the rest of the Patriots pretty much are. But it's got nothing to do with the Giants. One cringe-worthy film the Pats had no choice but to review this week was Sunday's debacle in Pittsburgh, and that's left all the players -- those here for the 2007 season and otherwise -- feeling pretty sour.
"We're all pretty much in a bad mood," admitted quarterback Tom Brady. "There is a mourning process that goes on with our team, our coaches, players. We hate losing. It's not something we'll ever get used to. It sucks. The whole week sucks, actually."
Maybe not as much as the first full week of February 2008, but the first days of November 2011 haven't exactly been a picnic, either.
"You just have to go out there and erase that memory with a good win and good days of practice," Brady said. "Once you get into the preparation of the week, you end up moving on to the week coming up."
The Patriots were preparing for their first practice session of the week as they met with reporters Wednesday morning to discuss Sunday's tilt with the Giants. Players were still digesting (and not easily) what went wrong against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but were eager for a chance to atone.
The Patriots have rarely lost back-to-back games during coach Bill Belichick's tenure. As Brady noted, that's the hallmark of any good team. Faulk said New England's one-game-at-a-time mentality allows them to always focus on what's next, regardless of the previous outcome.
"Let's get to the next game -- that's the mentality," he said. "You want to get there, get that taste out of your mouth, get that feeling out of your mind. You want to get back in the win column."
All of which likely made that Super Bowl loss so tough to sit on. The Patriots had to wait seven months for their next game, then watched Brady tear his ACL in Week 1 of the 2008 season. (New England ultimately went 11-5 behind backup Matt Cassel, but missed the playoffs that season.)
Belichick, who made a hasty retreat in the final seconds of Super Bowl XLII, certainly wasn't in the mood to reflect on that loss when asked Wednesday how much he thinks about that game.
"Probably not really much more than any other game," he said. "We've won them, we've lost them, but they're all in the past. They're in the books. Whatever happened, or didn't happen, we can't change it. It's part of history. 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."
Echoed Brady: "That's a distant memory. There's not much you can take from that."
It won't come as any solace, but the Giants don't plan to watch any tape from Super Bowl XLII, either (though quarterback Eli Manning did admit to owning, and maybe even having watched, the Giants' Super Bowl victory on DVD).
"I won't look at the game this week," Manning said. "I don't go back and watch that game. There's a lot of different players, different schemes.
I think New England's doing different stuff, there's whole new players, so it's a matter of us watching this year's tape, getting prepared, then going out there and trying to execute our game plan."
So while fans will be inundated with highlights of Super Bowl XLII this week, the players themselves won't see a single clip. Heck, Giants coach Tom Coughlin said he won't even think about it.
"We're in the moment," he said.
That's a good strategy. After all, none of the Patriots' previous success against the Steelers did them any good last week. Reflecting on what happened in Super Bowl XLII won't help either side on Sunday.
And watching that tape certainly won't put the Patriots in a better mood. Only a win will do that.
|Patriots RB Kevin Faulk (33) still hasn't watched the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory, and that's not changing heading into this week's rematch.|
Chris Forsberg covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.