NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — When Eli Manning talks, the Giants listen.
Making a rare mid-week address, the Super Bowl MVP told his teammates Tuesday to take care of personal business early so they can focus on preparing to play the New England Patriots in the super sequel in Indianapolis on Feb. 5.
In other words, use the next 48 hours to buy tickets for family and friends, book air fares and hotel rooms and show up on Thursday ready to start practicing for the title game.
Manning seemingly was ready to go on Tuesday. He had little to say about the 20 or so times the 49ers hit him or knocked him down during the 20-17 overtime win in the NFC title game in San Francisco on Sunday.
The 30-year-old said he had a workout and was fine when asked about his health. He was more concerned about the Giants being ready for the rematch with Tom Brady and company.
“I just told them a little bit how to prepare for this,” said Manning, one of 15 Giants who played in Super Bowl XLII win over New England. “Just handle your business with tickets and get that stuff done, and just a few things on the mindset of this week. We have to have great preparation. Prepare this week like you are playing the game this week.”
Safety Antrel Rolle, who went to the Super Bowl with Arizona and lost in 2009, said Manning’s message was excellent.
“That’s basically what the message was about. We’re going out there to take care of business,” Rolle said. “Everything else is for the spectators. Everything else is for your family and for your friends. We’re going out there to handle business. It was a broad message that needed to be said. And it was a message that was heard loud and clear by everyone.
“Basically this is about business. Let’s go take care of it. Let’s go get it done, at whatever it costs.”
Listen: Rolle with WFAN’s Joe & Evan
Manning said the week leading up to the Super Bowl tends to throw teams off because they have to take bus rides to practice and their routine is thrown off. He believes the Giants will have 95 percent of their game plan practiced by Saturday, and they will be reviewing things in their week in Indianapolis.
“Once we get out there, everyone will feel good about what we are doing, and now it will continue as dress rehearsal,” Manning said.
“He doesn’t say much and when he says something, he means it,” Rolle said.
Punter Steve Weatherford, who is finally going to the Super Bowl after losing in the AFC title game the past two seasons with the Jets, appreciated Manning’s message.
“Anytime he opens his mouth, it has some substance to it,” Weatherford said. “He is not a guy who is going to bark a lot. He rarely talks actually. He is a very quiet leader. It was jovial in that team meeting but as soon as Eli got up to talk everyone shut up because they knew it was something important. He is a veteran. He has been there before and he knows what it takes to win, and he is a Super Bowl MVP and people respect him.”
Players can purchase up to 15 tickets apiece for the game and kicker Lawrence Tynes said that can cause problems, especially deciding which members and friends gets the tickets.
“I let my wife be the bad cop,” said Tynes, who once again kicked a game-winning field goal in overtime to get New York to the Super Bowl. He also did it against the Packers in January 2008.
Protecting Manning will be a big factor against the Patriots. The Niners sacked him six times and had at least that many hard hits on him.
Guard Kevin Boothe said the line could have played better, but he added that San Francisco is an outstanding defense. He added Manning never went into the huddle and told the line they had to protect better.
“He’s a tough guy,” Boothe said. “Nobody has ever questioned his toughness. He hung in there and made the plays when we needed them.”
Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was impressed.
“He doesn’t get rattled,” Tuck said. “He took a few good hits. He took a lot of hits, some that were like you look and go: “Nahhhhh” I was hoping I could get one on Alex (Smith) like that. But it just showed his toughness. I know I said Eli looked like the kind of guy who rarely sees the weight room but he’s a tough guy and to get up and continue to fire the football and lead our football team the way he did with number of hits he took in that game, it’s makes it easy to rally behind him.”
It also makes it easier to listen to him.
NOTES: Manning had no regrets about his comment earlier this season that he felt he was in the same class with Brady. He admitted he can’t always control how the answer is played by the media. He said his only concern now is getting ready to play the game. “My job is to play the game,” he said. “It’s your job to talk and make up stories.” …Tynes grew up in the Florida panhandle. He calls it the “Redneck Riviera.”
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