What they said in Indy – Volume Last

The football media hype machine had one more feeding Monday morning in Indianapolis as victorious New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and Super Bowl 46 MVP Eli Manning met questions head on at the Media Center. Here are the highlights.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin on what his team does to finish games so well – “Mental toughness, resiliency, resolve. We keep playing, we keep fighting, and we’re highly competitive. We do have great trust in each other, great belief that we can finish, and that if we keep playing one play at a time as hard as we can go that we will find a way to win. It didn’t look real good. The last drive before the half, in which New England drove the ball and scored, and the first drive of the second half, (the Patriots) drive the ball and score, but the game was within reach. There was some frustration on our part, in terms of kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns as we put the ball in the green zone. We just kept scrambling away, and we did find a way to get them out, and in getting them out we put the ball back in our offense and in Eli (Manning’s) hands, and the very first play, the Mario Manningham (catch), which was an exceptional football play, which these young men are capable of making. An excellent, excellent pass and a great, inbounds catch going to the ground to secure the ball that really got us going, and provided us with that spark, which I thought was again, another exceptional play to put us in position to win the game.”

QB Eli Manning on the last Giants possession and when he realized New England might let them 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.”

Coughlin on how he finds and/or develops players with resiliency – “Well I think it’s an ingredient we hope they all have when they become a Giant. We do a great job of that, investigating, thoroughly investigating the player, not only his physical ability, but what he’s made of. But it’s a collective development. There isn’t any question about it and it’s a part of the team idea and a part of the individuals being responsible to one another. When I called for better peer pressure, maybe three quarters of the way through the season, that’s what I was looking for were guys who, yeah they were constructive, there’s no doubt about it. But they were also asking of each other that each individual study and prepare and practice and play his very, very best and the result being that you are responsible to one another. You have to be accountable to one another. You have to be someone who takes great pride in that responsibility.”

Manning on whether he got a chance to see older brother Peyton after the game – “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. 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.”

Coughlin on how the Giants went from 7-7 to Super Bowl champions – “We never changed our attitude about what had to be accomplished and what we had to do. This is a great statement to our players as well as to our mental toughness. That’s what you have to rely on. Somehow, someway, you have got to answer these questions. The next guy has to come along, step up, play well and give you a chance to win. That’s exactly what we did. That’s exactly the approach we took. The players were great about that. We didn’t spend time thinking backwards. We were always looking forwards and knowing that, yeah there were a lot of young guys that had to step up or people that were not recognized perhaps as starters prior to that, we had to do some things. We had to shuffle some people around and put them in positions where they had to emerge and emerge very quickly. For a while, as we were trying to get this thing organized, perhaps it didn’t look as if the end result would be this. But because of their mental toughness, because they hung in there, because they continued to believe, because we continued to be in the hunt for the NFC East title, that was always there for us. That was something that we relied on. No matter good or bad, when we would come together on a Monday, we would recognize exactly where we were and what had to happen for us to have a chance in that capacity. That says a lot about our players as well.”

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