Bob Glauber has been Newsday's national football columnist since 1992. He was Newsday's football writer covering the Jets
Four years ago, the Giants made it to the Super Bowl with a quiet confidence that carried them all the way to a shocking upset of the unbeaten Patriots. They're back for a rematch with New England in Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, and the confidence level is just as high.
Only louder. Much, much louder.
"We're going to win this thing," outspoken safety Antrel Rolle said Tuesday at media day at Lucas Oil Stadium, the site for Sunday's game. "We're going to win this thing for a lot of good reasons. We're going to take care of business, man."
Rolle's rhetoric was raised several decibels from the day before, when he said he "expected" the Giants to win. And though he wouldn't go so far as to guarantee the Giants would beat the Patriots, he sure did come about as close as you can without using the "G" word.
"I didn't guarantee anything," Rolle said. "I said we're going to go out there and do whatever it takes."
The talk was almost as bold from defensive end Justin Tuck, who barely said a peep leading up to Super Bowl XLII in Arizona but has ratcheted up the confidence level to the point at which he and his teammates are almost -- almost -- starting to sound like the other team that calls MetLife Stadium home. Just don't tell them that.
When I said to Tuck that he was starting to sound a little "Jet-like," he replied, "Stop it."
"I think we've talked more, but at the end of the day, there haven't been a lot of guarantees and a lot of things that are irrelevant," he said. "You ask us questions, and we've been truthful. Unfortunately, that can be misunderstood for cocky. But this football team is confident, not cocky. We respect every football team we play, but we're going to be truthful with the questions you ask us."
Maybe so, but we asked many of the same questions in the run-up to Super Bowl XLII, and they weren't answering them as they have been in recent weeks. It may not rise to the level of a Rex Ryan team, but it's a lot closer than it ever was. Especially with a coach like Tom Coughlin, whose mantra during the Giants' 2007 championship season was: "Talk is cheap. Play the game."
The Giants certainly are playing the game, winning their last five to get to the Super Bowl. But they're talking a good game, too.
Tuck has been especially outspoken during the Giants' late-season run and into the playoffs. On Friday, he suggested that the only way to beat the Patriots was to neutralize Tom Brady. "To kill the snake, you have to cut off the head," he said.
Rolle also has done a good job of providing back-page material, expressing supreme confidence in his team's chances, especially in the playoffs. He was at it again Tuesday with his "We're going to win this thing line," and he also suggested the Giants will shut down All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski, the Patriots' biggest receiving threat.
Asked if he thinks the Giants can limit Gronkowski, who has a high ankle sprain, Rolle said: "Think? No. I know it. I know it."
Sounds like Osi Umenyiora feels the same way about his matchup with Patriots left tackle Matt Light, who missed media day because of a stomach bug. Umenyiora and Light have gotten into two skirmishes during Giants-Patriots games. Asked if he wanted to pass along any get-well wishes to Light, Umenyiora quipped: "Yeah, Matt Light, please get well soon. I hope to see you on Sunday. You are one of my greatest friends."
And Tuck offered some more bulletin-board material about Brady. Someone asked the defensive end what it was like to knock the wind out of Brady. "I don't remember," Tuck said. "I haven't done it in a long time. Hopefully, I'll refresh my memory on Sunday."
Talk may be cheap, but these Giants don't seem to care all that much. They get a chance to back it up -- again -- Sunday.