By DARA KELLY, IrishCentral Staff Writer Published Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 9:34 AM Updated Wednesday, February 1, 2012, 10:22 AM
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady made a move to explain his preemptive invite to a victory party this Sunday, which annoyed many Giants fans.
Brady said to 25,000 fans at Gillette Stadium on Monday night: “We’re going down there, and we’re going down there for one reason. We’re going to give it our best and hopefully we’ll have a lot more people at our party next weekend.”
Explaining his comments he told the national media “it was a pep rally” when the team landed in Indianapolis ahead of the NFL final.__________________Read More:
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“certainly the players were excited, I know that 25,000 fans who were there were excited as well so … we had great support home and away. Hopefully we’ll have some Patriots jerseys in the stands next Sunday night.”
Brady said he has a lot off faith in his team members ability this Sunday.
“I have certainly a lot of trust in my offensive line,” he told the media.
“These guys … great group of players that have really played together for a while …. Matt Light over there at my left tackle, there’s nobody that I love having over there more than him. And Logan [Mankins] and Dan Connelly’s done a great job, we’ve had a few centers this year … Brian Waters came to our team this year and has done a remarkable job, and then Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer at the right tackle position have played great so…”
See more: Super Bowl, Tom Brady, NFL
SAN FRANCISCO —
In one week, the San Francisco 49ers will try to top the New York Giants in the battle for the NFC Championship at Candlestick Park.
Inside O’Neill’s Irish Pub, 49ers fans watched the all-important New York Giants, Green Bay Packers game Sunday, which determined the 49ers fate.
The Giants defeated the Packers, 37-20.
Some 49ers fans were still riding high off Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. the 49ers defeated the Saints in the last minute on Saturday, 36-32.
Mike Johnson, a 49′ers fan, was at Saturday’s game sitting at the 50-yard line, 50-yards back.
“Incredible, just freaking incredible,” Johnson said.
Paul Graham, another 49′ers fan, said he hoped the Giants would win so the 49ers could play at home.
“that stadium definitely made a difference,” he said.
A few blocks away at Zeke’s Bar and Grill, a Green Bay Packers Bar, Omar Grouse, an outnumbered Giants fan, sat and watched the game.
“I have faith,” Grouse said.
The last time the 49ers hosted an NFC championship game was 1998.
At that time, the 49ers had the best record in the conference. the quarterback was Steve Young and it was the first year for head coach Steve Mariucci.
The 49ers already beat the Giants once this season, and if the 49ers can do it again they’ll be playing in Super Bowl 46.
Kickoff for the 49ers, Giants game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
The Giants won a nailbiting NFC Championship game in overtime in San Francisco thanks to a 31-yard field goal.
They will now face new England in Indianapolis at Super Bowl XLVI on February 5 after the Patriots clinched their place earlier in the evening with an equally tight 23-20 victory at home to Baltimore.
New England fans were also left on the edge of their seats after Baltimore spurned the chance to take the game into overtime when kicker Billy Cundiff MISSED a short-range field goal with 11 seconds left.
The big match-up is a repeat of the title game in 2008, when hot favourites new England were denied a perfect season by a shock touchdown in the final minute as the Giants recorded a famous 17-14 win.
Quarterback Manning, who was the Super Bowl MVP four years ago, made sure the new Yorkers would get another chance at glory by throwing two touchown passes and then guiding the team to the clinching field goal by their Scots-born kicker.
A heavyweight defensive battle was played in almost constant torrential rain and neither team was able to make much impression for long periods.
But the 49ers
The White Plains Sports Authority barely had enough Giants gear in stock Friday to fill one side of a display case. Photo credit: Sarina Trangle
WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Giants fans have bought up nearly the entire stock of the football team’s gear at the White Plains Sports Authority.
The rush began a few weeks ago, according to sales associate Luis Muñoz, who said the section reserved for Giants attire has been downsized to one side of a display case.
“We’re sold out of pretty much everything that’s Giants,” said Muñoz, a Yonkers resident. “Reebok lost the contract this year so everybody wanted to get stuff before it’s all Nike.”
Muñoz, a Giants fan, will be traveling to Connecticut this weekend to tailgate with friends.
“I hope they win,” he said. “I have $100 on it.”
Across the street at Dick’s Sporting Goods, Elizabeth Miller said the store has seen more Giants fans than usual.
“Everybody is looking for stuff because it’s a rare occasion,” said Miller, a customer service specialist from new Rochelle. “They’re looking for everybody’s jersey because they’re pretty much playing as a team this year.”
Dick’s plans to open “right after the Giants win” Sunday, according to Miller, a Big Blue supporter. Fully-stocked Giants gear will also be waiting for fans when the store opens at 6 a.m. Monday.
Bob Hyland’s Sports Page Pub expects to have a huge crowd rooting for new York’s team right beside former Giants guard and White Plains native Bob Hyland.
“If it’s anything like last Sunday, it’ll be huge,” said Liz Hyland, Bob Hyland’s wife. “We see a lot of Eli Manning jersey’s in here. It’ll be a fun spot to be.”
The Sports Page has about eight extra staff on duty to ensure customers get their Sunday specials in an efficient manner, she said.
he has carried his team through most of the season, and Tom Coughlin believes he’s more than capable of lifting them again.
“Without a doubt he’s up to that challenge,” Coughlin said. “Or any challenge.”
that confidence comes from Manning’s remarkable performance, in which he set franchise records for passing yards (4,933), attempts (589) and completions (359). he also set an NFL record by throwing 15 of his 29 touchdown passes in the fourth quarter – a big reason why he was able to lead the Giants back from a fourth-quarter deficit to a win five times.
in a season during which 10 of the Giants’ games weren’t decided until the final two minutes, Manning’s play has usually been the difference. But the calm, Pro Bowl-bound quarterback still doesn’t feel it is his burden to carry his team.
“No. I think that’s the point of a team,” he said. “It’s everybody doing their jobs. It’s everybody leaning on each other. our defense is playing outstanding lately. Hopefully they continue to do that. Offensively, the run game is coming around. We’ve run better in the last half of the season than we did at the beginning. The receivers are back healthy and doing a good job of getting open. When we play our best it’s when all three phases of the game are all playing at a high level.”
The truth, though, is that has rarely happened – even with the recent improvements in the defense (11 sacks in the last two games) and rushing attack (104.4 yards per game in December and January). And with the NFC playoffs loaded with high-flying passing attacks (all but the 49ers rank in the NFL’s top eight), Manning will surely have to be on his game.
The Giants will do their best to pull off one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history against the New England Patriots, and if they win, the Patriots unblemished season record is forgotten. The mighty patriots will only be validated if they win it this sunday.
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GIANTS 29, JETS 14 the last straw came when the Giants arrived at the stadium on Saturday and saw all their Super Bowl logos on the wall outside their locker room covered with black curtains. after a week of listening to the Jets talk, that was the final insult. Boy did it feel good to the Giants to tear those curtains down. That’s the first thing they did after coming off the field with their honor restored and playoff hopes saved thanks to an emotional, 29-14 win over their intra-city rivals in the Meadowlands. David Diehl, Lawrence Tynes and Zak DeOssie did the honors as soon as the game was over, but the entire Giants organization shared their joy. PHOTOS: GIANTS MAKE IT A BIG BLUE CHRISTMAS “We all saw that as a sign of disrespect,” Diehl said. “They’ve worked extremely hard to cover up our logos and the Super Bowl trophies right outside our locker room. I think all of us said, ‘Hey, fine. let them do what they want to do. But after this game, we’re going to show that this is a team with a lot of pride.’” They showed plenty of that on Saturday with a stellar performance that included five sacks and three turnovers by their revitalized defense and the first 99-yard play in franchise history on a touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Victor Cruz. It was a relentless effort worthy of their “big brother” status that the Jets had so loudly been after. “Given all the noise that was coming out of Florham Park, it’s a satisfying win,” said the Giants’ usually reserved co-owner, John Mara. “It kind of reinvigorates this franchise and the players.” Brandon Jacobs, who got into an argument with Rex Ryan on the field after the game, was a bit more pointed in his message to the Jets that he put so eloquently: “It’s time for them to shut the f— up.” this was about far more important things than “bragging rights” for the Giants, of course. the win literally saved their season. Had they lost they could have been eliminated from contention. instead, they’ll wake up on Christmas morning knowing they can start preparing for a winner-take-all showdown for the NFC East title with the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on New Year’s Day (8:20 p.m., Ch. 4). But don’t underestimate how much those “bragging rights” meant to this franchise and its players, especially after listening to constant trash-talking from Ryan and his players that really began three years ago when Ryan got the Jets job. nobody seemed to take it more personally than Jacobs. Jacobs called Ryan a “disrespectful bastard” and said the coach told him to “shut the f— up.” Jacobs also called Ryan a “fat boy.” and when Ryan tried to talk back to him, Jacobs said, “I told him I’d punch him in the head.” those warm holiday wishes aside, that’s exactly what the Giants (8-7) did to the Jets (8-7) with arguably their finest defensive performance of the year. Jets quarterback mark Sanchez tried in vain to pick apart the Giants’ vulnerable defense by throwing the ball 59 times. But he completed only 30, was held to 258 yards and threw two interceptions. He was also sacked five times and lost a fumble. “Last week we practiced with more energy, more enthusiasm and greater speed (on defense) than we had in a long time, and it shocked me,” Tom Coughlin said. “I said, ‘Is that the same guys?’ the way they practiced is the way they played. They were exceptional. regardless of the circumstance, they kept turning the Jets offense back.” They needed it, too, because Manning struggled to find open receivers against the Jets’ secondary. He completed only nine of 27 passes for 225 yards. But he came through with two huge completions that turned the game. Late in the first half, on a third-and-10 from his own 1, he hit Cruz with a 12-yard pass that the second-year sensation turned into a 99-yard touchdown. Then late in the third quarter, he hit Cruz (three catches, 164 yards) with a 36-yarder that set up an Ahmad Bradshaw 14-yard touchdown run that gave the Giants a 17-7 lead. the Giants had a chance to ease their way to a victory from there, but they turned the game into a nail-biter after Sanchez fumbled a snap on the Giants’ 1-yard line with 8:53 remaining and Giants linebacker Jacquian Williams recovered in the end zone. Throwing on first down, Manning was picked off by Jets linebacker David Harris on the next play, and the Jets converted that into a 1-yard touchdown run by Sanchez that got them within 20-14. But the Giants’ defense wasn’t finished, and defensive tackle Chris Canty sacked Sanchez in the end zone for a safety with 2:13 remaining. One failed onside kick by the Jets later and Bradshaw was running for a 19-yard touchdown that sent Jets fans scurrying for the exits. for the Giants, though, the “bragging” had only just begun. “Those guys in green like to do a lot of talking,” Canty said. “But at the end of the day the New York football Giants talk with our football pads in between those white lines.” “We did a little talking ourselves. We’re not innocent,” added defensive end Justin Tuck. “But we came out and backed it up.” yes they did, and now they still have a chance to back up all their playoff guarantees with one more big regular-season game. But that’s for later. First, they needed to reassert what Diehl yelled when he tore down the curtains: that “This is Giants Stadium!”
The New York Giants lead the Green Bay Packers 20-10 after the first half of play at Lambeau Field.
After the Jennings non-fumble ruling from the first quarter was not overturned, the Packers scored a touchdown quickly in the second quarter on an Aaron Rodgers` pass to John Kuhn. Green Bay then tried an onside kick but the Giants recovered it.
The Giants then didn`t exploit the short field. After their drive stalled, Lawrence Tynes` 40-yard field goal was blocked by Green Bay linebacker Brad Jones.
The teams traded possessions after the blocked field goal. Green Bay punted after reaching New York`s half of the field. The Giants moved to the Green Bay 34-yard line before Eli Manning was intercepted at the 13-yard line. The Packers were driving again after the interception before John Kuhn fumbled it away. this one was a clear fumble that was correctly given to the Giants:
After that turnover, the Giants drove into the redzone but the rushing game`s issues showed up again. New York couldn`t punch the ball in on the ground and threw an incomplete pass before settling for a field goal to retake the lead, 13-10.
The Giants extended their lead following a long run play as the half was winding down. On the final play of the half, Eli Manning`s hail mary pass was caught in the endzone by Hakeem Nicks.
The Lambeau Field crowd sat in stunned silence after the score. We`ll be back after halftime.
For more coverage of Giants vs. Packers, stay tuned to our storystream. for more Giants coverage, visit our team page or our blog Big Blue View.
The Dallas Cowboys’ (8-6) crushing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) on Saturday night did little more than prove just how inept the Bucs are these days, and gave us no inclination as to how good the ‘Boys are this December.
Dallas had botched two fourth quarters in a row before Saturday night’s thumping in Tampa, and unfortunately, a horridly overrated 8-6 squad controls its own destiny in the NFC East.
First off, the division belongs to the New York Giants (7-6), and will be rightfully theirs at season’s end.
The Giants have managed a 7-6 start through 14 weeks of play, same as the Cowboys, but instead had to travel to the Saints and host the Packers in consecutive weeks, back-to-back battles with the reigning Super Bowl champions that resulted in defeat.
The Cowboys’ pathetic schedule this season is by no means their fault, but the same can be said for the Giants.
Dallas lost to the same Arizona and New England teams that the Giants topped early in the season, and was blown out at Philadelphia and dissected late against the Jets.
New York split with the Eagles this season, but at least looked competitive, and the Giants will play the Jets in Week 16 in a game they will win.
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
With both NFC East rivals, Dallas and New York set to matchup in Week 17, the division crown will come down to who’s better at MetLife Stadium on New Year’s Day.
That team will be the New York Giants, again.
A 12-point lead at home on prime time with under six minutes to go wasn’t safe for Tony Romo and co. the first time around, so what will change three weeks later?
Eli Manning has been incredibly dominant this season in the fourth quarter, his QB rating and 14 touchdowns during that portion of the game are tops in the league.
Romo melts in those moments, we’ve seen it time and again, at Seattle in 2006, against the Giants in 2007 and again in Minnesota in 2009.
The playoffs are not for Romo and these Cowboys, they show up small on the big stage, regardless of how massive their stadium is, or the stars on their helmets.
Manning and the Giants have been there before, and they are going back in Week 17, no matter how many more chumps like Tampa Bay Dallas destroys.
By Barry Wilner / the associated Press Published: November 19. 2011 4:00AM PST
San Francisco, along with quarterback Alex Smith, gets ready to play an NFC West matchup against Arizona on Sunday. Marcio Jose Sanchez / the associated Press
Now that the San Francisco 49ers have established their dominance over most of the rest of the league, it’s time to put away their division.
The first step in what could be a very early clinching of the NFC West comes Sunday at home against Arizona. the 49ers have built their 8-1 record, second only to Green Bay’s perfect 9-0, with only one win in the division, beating Seattle in the season opener. now San Francisco gets a hefty dose of NFC West foes, a good thing considering the rest of the division is 8-19.
The 49ers have won the past four meetings with the Cardinals, who were held to 13 total points in the two games last season. And those Niners weren’t anything like these Niners under rookie coach Jim Harbaugh.
“This is not a trap game for us. This is a rivalry game,” left tackle Joe Staley said. “we expect the best effort out of them. It’s always a very physical game regardless of records. we came into their place when they went to the Super Bowl that year (2008), went to their house and beat them. we had a bad record that year.”
Indeed, San Francisco went 7-9 then; it already has surpassed that victory total.
The Cardinals have shown some progress recently and won their past two by excelling — or getting lucky — down the stretch.
“I’m not going to say that we are 100 percent there or that we are very proficient at it now,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said, “but it’s nice to have been able to make the plays, move the ball, and score touchdowns in a situation where we needed to do that.”
The other two division teams also go at it, with Seattle at St. Louis.
Also Sunday, it’s Cincinnati at Baltimore, Tampa Bay at Green Bay, San Diego at Chicago, Tennessee at Atlanta, Carolina at Detroit, Philadelphia at the new York Giants, Dallas at Washington, Oakland at Minnesota, Buffalo at Miami, and Jacksonville at Cleveland.
Monday night, Kansas City is at new England.
Week 11 began with Denver beating the new York Jets 17-13 on Thursday night.
Off this week are new Orleans (7-3), Houston (7-3), Pittsburgh (7-3) and Indianapolis (0-10).
Seattle (3-6) at St. Louis (2-7): On the final weekend of the 2010 season, these “powerhouses” met for the division title. the Seahawks got the prize, at 7-9, then somehow stunned new Orleans in the first round of the playoffs.
Neither team is thinking playoffs right now. Seattle comes off an energizing upset of Baltimore and has seen RB Marshawn Lynch break out.
The Rams have won two of three, the loss coming in overtime at Arizona, as their top runner, Steven Jackson, has stepped up.
Cincinnati (6-3) at Baltimore (6-3): the winner will be tied with idle Pittsburgh atop the NFC North, but this is much more of a statement game for Cincinnati, whose six victories are against teams with a combined 22-36 record.
“If you want to make a playoff run, if you want position and you want a chance to extend your season, then all seven of these games matter and this is the next one,” left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “All seven of these, to me, are extremely important.”
Baltimore will be angry with itself after following a comeback win at Pittsburgh with a dud in Seattle.
“they weren’t in our conference, but at the same time, you want to beat the teams that you are supposed to beat,” said running back Ray Rice, who got only 27 yards on five carries against the Seahawks. “It was one of those situations where they got after us pretty good, and it was pretty emotional.”
Tampa Bay (4-5) at Green Bay (9-0): This one could get ugly judging by the way each team is playing.
Tampa has lost three straight and four of five. It ranks at the bottom of the NFC in red-zone offense, which the Packers top. the Bucs have 13 sacks, and not getting pressure on Aaron Rodgers is suicidal.
With the Pack averaging more than 35 points a game and Rodgers throwing to as many as 10 targets each week, the matchups look lopsided.
San Diego (4-5) at Chicago (6-3): If Chicago was going to get into a brawl with the opposing quarterback, it figured to be this weekend, not against Matthew Stafford and Detroit, as happened in the Bears’ rout of the Lions.
San Diego’s Philip Rivers and Chicago’s Jay Cutler have a nasty history with each other, although both downplay it now.
Kansas City (4-5) at new England (6-3) (Monday night): new England might have set things back on the usual course in the AFC East when it handed the Jets a prime-time whipping. All of the Patriots’ issues on defense disappeared for one night as end Andre Carter got a franchise-high 4