This is the full text of the press conference featuring NY Giants QB Eli Manning after his team defeated the New England Patriots 21 to 17, and was provided courtesy of the National Football League. What’s interesting is that the New England Patriots do not have any posted quotes from their Monday post game statements on the NFL’s media website. Of course, had the Pats won, that would have been a different story.
Here’s the press conference:
NEW YORK GIANTS QB ELI MANNING
Super Bowl XLVI News Conference
Indianapolis, Indiana – February 6, 2012
NFL COMMISSIONER ROGER GOODELL
(Opening statement) “Good morning. Let me start by thanking the people of Indianapolis, starting with Jim Irsay and the Colts organization for pursuing the Super Bowl here in Indianapolis and their great leadership. The people did a fantastic job here, from the Super Bowl Host Committee to all the volunteers, to the leadership starting with Governor (Mitch) Daniels, Mayor (Greg) Ballard. We can’t say enough about the tremendous work that everybody did. I see (Host Committee Chairman) Mark (Miles) over here with the Super Bowl Host Committee. It was just an extraordinary effort and a great event, so we thank you all for a great week and a tremendous Super Bowl. The game itself speaks for itself, another fantastic finish and probably another fitting way to conclude our season. A lot of unscripted drama during the season and unpredictable finishes, and we had another one yesterday that will go down in the record books. In fact, I just got an e-mail that looks like the rating was either on par or slightly ahead of last year’s rating, which was, as you all remember, the largest audience for a television show, not just a sports show – the largest television show in the history of television. Another extraordinary audience got to see a great football game, which makes us all happy. As far as individual performances, which is not our game, but is certainly important. Eli Manning just put in an unbelievable performance last night along with his teammates, but Eli really stood above that an played fantastic. He’s only the fifth player to be named on a multiple basis as MVP of the Super Bowl, and he joins a pretty elite group of quarterbacks that achieved that. I think it was Terry Bradshaw, Bart Starr, Tom Brady and I think I have one other one. Joe Montana. How could I forget that one? So that’s a pretty elite group, and well-deserving. To the Giants, congratulations on the Super Bowl. To Eli, congratulations on the Super Bowl, I know that’s most important to you, but also, we’re thrilled to have you as the Pete Rozelle MVP Award winner.
(on if he got any sleep last night) “I got a little sleep, but we enjoyed the victory with friends and family and teammates, so it was a good night. A good night to celebrate, but I got enough sleep to make it this morning.”
(on if he’s excited about what this team could accomplish long-term in the future) “I am. I’m excited about a number of young guys who stepped up this season. There were some questions going into the beginning of the season on a few spots, but that quickly got answered. Victor Cruz has been a great story, Jake Ballard. Some of these guys have played great football, made great plays for us this year. We knew we had good players on this team. A veteran offensive line, two running backs who won Super Bowls before and played well. Hakeem Nicks, who was here. Mario Manningham. These guys have made big plays in games over the years. Obviously, a defense with a number of players who can rush the quarterback and get sacks. We felt we had talent across the board on the team, that there were a few spots where we needed young guys to step up, as any team always does every year. You’re going to need young players to come in and play a role, and give you a chance to win a championship.
(on what he saw on his 38-yard completion to Mario Manningham) “Well, they were playing Cover-2. They really had our Cover-2 beat to the right side with Hakeem (Nicks) and Victor Cruz in a two-man route. The Patriots did a good job of jamming both receivers, throwing off the timing of the route. They do have a tendency, their safeties will read my eyes, so I did look to the right pretty long. I didn’t like what I was seeing, so I slid up in the pocket. I was going to see where that safety was to the left. I saw he had cheated in, I saw a little window for Mario Manningham where he would catch it or nobody and he made a great catch. A good job staying inbounds, keeping his two feet inbounds, knowing he was going to get hit on the sideline and holding onto the ball. So a big play in the game right there, obviously. When you’re backed up in that situation, when you get a 40-yard gain, that changes your play-calling. You can run the ball, you can be a little more patient. You feel like you’re getting close to field-goal range right there, which was all we needed. But, (there were) a couple of other big plays. Mario had another catch later in the drive, Hakeem Nicks on a slant, and then obviously, Ahmad (Bradshaw) on the touchdown run. Just a great drive and a great way to finish the game.”
(on Manningham’s route) “It’s basically a ‘go’ route. It’s something that we work on all the time. Down the sideline, we feel our receivers have a great ability to make those plays. Great speed on the outside. New England did a pretty good job of eliminating our big plays, not enabling us to get one-on-one coverage, keeping two safeties a lot to eliminate our playmakers from getting those opportunities. On that play, Mario was running hard, didn’t look at the coverage and dictate, ‘Hey, it’s ‘Cover-2,’ I’m not getting the ball.’ He was running down the sideline and made a big play for us.”
(on why he tried to run a similar play to a previous pass to the opposite sideline) “Two different plays, but obviously, very similar. That one I haven’t seen on film yet, but it looked like I maybe led him too far out of bounds. It could have been a big play for us, but I still had confidence in Mario and I had a feeling he would have a good day. I talked to him all week, saying if teams want to double Hakeem and Victor Cruz and if that leaves you singled up, you’re going to have to play well. So he was excited about the game, excited about his opportunities and he obviously stepped up and made a lot of catches for us.”
(on what Peyton Manning said to him after the game last night) “I got to be with Peyton a bit and he was proud of me. He was proud of the team. A quarterback like Peyton is, he knows the game well and he asks questions a lot of people won’t ask. Like the touchdown to Victor Cruz, he asked me if I saw the middle linebacker running out there, and I didn’t. He can see there and tell it how it looks. It was ‘single-high’ and he kind of jabbed to my right a little bit before running left and looking up Victor. Under center, you know they’re bringing a blitz. It is tough to see that, but luckily, he never looked back at me and I threw it right off his shoulder and Victor did a good job of concentrating and making the catch. Then he talked about the throw to Manningham. He was mad, he said everybody was talking about how great of a catch it was. He said it was a pretty good throw, also. It’s a brother looking out for me. He was proud of me and happy for me.”
(on the last time he had bragging rights on his brother) “This isn’t about bragging rights. This is a lot bigger. This is about a team, an organization being named world champions, and that was the ultimate goal. That’s the only thing that’s important, is the team finding a way to get a victory. That’s the only thing I care about and Peyton and I both know that’s what the goal is every year. It’s not about anything else.”
(on if the pass to Mario Manningham late in the fourth quarter was one of the best throws of his career) “I’m not good at ranking my throws. Obviously, it was a Super Bowl and a tight throw, but I didn’t have any questions. I felt the safety was inside. I wasn’t worried about whether it would be an interception or a dangerous throw when the ball was released. I saw a window. I felt confident about it. I didn’t think much about it. I just saw where Mario was and knew the timing. A lot of those throws are muscle memory. You don’t think about how far to throw it or what to do. You see your receiver, you step, you make the throw and hopefully you put it in a good spot where he can catch it. He made a great play.”
(on what went through his mind when Tom Brady completed 16 passes in a row) “I thought it was great by our team not getting frustrated, not getting down or not losing our momentum at that point. Honestly, when they go on a two-minute drive right before half, score a touchdown to take lead and then start the third quarter with another touchdown to extend their lead, we could have got frustrated, tried to force something to get back in the game or make a mistake, and we didn’t do that. We had a good drive going. We had to settle for a field goal, but at least you get the game back into a one-touchdown game. So, that was important. We had another drive, again, we got into field goal range. Obviously, we wanted a touchdown to take the lead, (but) we had to settle for another field goal. There wasn’t anything there, we didn’t force anything, didn’t make a mistake. Our defense was playing outstanding. They were doing a good job. Offensively, we were moving the ball, we were controlling the clock. We thought we were wearing down their defense a little bit. We thought they were getting tired. Obviously, we just needed another stop by our defense, which they gave us and gave us an opportunity to get the ball back one more time and go get the lead.”
(on if the loss to the New Orleans Saints was the low point of the season) “All season, we have kept our confidence. When you lose four games in a row, that can really test a team. I think we played a lot of those games tough. Besides the New Orleans game, all those other games were tight games. Green Bay was close. At San Francisco came down to the wire. Philadelphia came down to the wire. Those three games could have easily been flipped the other way. I think we recognized that and still understood that we were a good team – we had talent. We weren’t playing our best at that point, but we weren’t playing terrible. We just had to make a few adjustments, play a little smarter. We were a couple of plays away from winning those games against great teams and teams that were playing great football at that time. We just said we had to step it up. We have to play a little bit better, we have to keep working and keep our confidence during this time, and sure enough, that’s what we did. When we needed some wins, at Dallas was a huge win for us in the season. To come back, down 12 in the fourth quarter, go score two touchdowns, get a blocked field goal to win the game, that was an emotional win. The excitement in that locker room was fun. Everybody just got that winning feeling again and said, ‘We have to ride this momentum.’ Sure enough, we were able to win a couple of big games vs. the Jets, vs. Dallas again, just to get into the playoffs. Our defense was playing outstanding. Offensively, we were playing smarter, not turning the ball over, not making mistakes, being effective, running the ball better than we were to start the season. Everything just seemed to be coming around, and we were starting to play our best football. We kept that confidence and kept that style of play through the playoffs.”
(on when he realized New England might let them score on their final possession) “Right as I broke the huddle, I kind of had a feeling, under the circumstances, that they were going to let us score. It’s a tough situation right there as you are thinking about what to do. I think you have to score a touchdown right there. That’s the goal. That’s the ultimate goal – to score a touchdown. As a quarterback, I have great confidence in Lawrence Tynes and kicking field goals. Obviously, he has kicked game-winners for us, but you just don’t want to leave anything to chance in that situation. We could have kneeled and run out the clock and kicked a field goal with 10 seconds left, but if you get a bad snap or if they block it or if something fluky happens and you miss that field goal, you feel terrible. In that situation, as I am handing the ball off, I saw that their defensive line was standing up and not rushing. I am yelling not to score. Maybe you get down to the six-inch line, make them use their last timeout and then try to score on third down, hopefully score a touchdown to give you a bigger lead and get the four-point lead, five-point lead possibly and take it from there. Looking back, we did the right thing. I think you have to score a touchdown in those circumstances.”
(on what he was yelling to Ahmad Bradshaw on the final scoring play) “I just yelled, ‘Don’t score! Don’t score!’ Obviously, he heard me (because) he thought about it. I know it’s tough for a running back. They see a big hole right there going for a touchdown. I think something almost had to pop into his head like something was up. This is a little bit too good to be true. I am yelling, and he obviously had heard me. He thought about kind of going down, but I think he didn’t quite know what to do. He said, ‘Hey, I have a touchdown, I am going to take it.’ I am glad he did.”
(on if either of the two Super Bowl victories are more special than the other) “A championship is a championship. Each one is special. Each one has special moments during the season and, obviously, different teammates. This year, I am just happy for a number of guys getting a championship, whether it’s rookies, whether it’s offensive players. Hakeem Nicks getting his first championship, Mario Manningham, Victor Cruz. Those guys weren’t a part of that last championship, so (I’m) happy for those guys. Rocky Bernard on defense is a guy who has played a long, long time. He has lost a Super Bowl. Antrel Rolle, Deon Grant, those guys who had opportunities to win before, have had great careers and never got the opportunity to say they are world champions and have that feeling in a locker room after winning a Super Bowl. I am happy for a number of guys on this team. I know that they are excited, and that’s why you play. You play for your teammates, you play for your coaches, the organization. To give them that opportunity for these next five or six months, we can say, ‘Hey, we are the best. We are the champs.’ That’s a pretty nice feeling.”
(on the similarities between the 2011 and the 2007 seasons) “There are some similarities. Like the 2007 season, we started off fast, then we did hit a rocky road where weren’t playing our best football. But, when we needed a win, when we needed to start playing better, we came together as a team when the playoffs started. I think we had a great confidence going into the playoffs and realized that we had kind of found our way, our style of football that was going to give us the best chance of winning. That is playing smart offensively, taking the short throws, taking the flats, moving the ball and finding good third-down situations to hold the ball, hold the time of possession, win those type of things and have a defense that gets after the quarterback, play great defense. I think both sides of the ball had great confidence in each other. We knew that we could be patient. We knew that we could not force things, not try to make mistakes, and we would help out each other. Sure enough, that’s exactly what happened and gave us a chance to win the game.”