John Mara talks Super Bowl, the Giants and more
Giants president John Mara held court Monday on a variety of Giants- and Super Bowl-related topics after the annual Host Committee news conference at Super Bowl XLVIII media headquarters.
Here are some highlights.
On his memories of the 1962 NFL Championship Game, in which the Giants lost to the Packers at Yankee Stadium in the last NFL title game held in the New York area:
“I remember sitting in an auxiliary press box with my mother. It was freezing cold. It didn’t have much heat in it, but it was better than being outside. I remember having Elston Howard [of the Yankees] seated to my left. That’s the one memory I have was being in awe that he was sitting next to me. I don’t remember a lot about the game. I remember we lost and my parents both being upset afterward, but my biggest memory was having Elston Howard sitting next to me.’’
On having the Seahawks using the Giants’ training facility this week:
“It’s what we signed up for. We certainly would rather be playing the game ourselves, but we knew there was a significant chance that somebody else would be using our facility. I’m kind of happy it ended up being them instead of some of the other possibilities . . . It could have been worse."
(Mara refused to name names, but it’s safe to say the Cowboys were one of those “possibilities.”)
On whether the Giants had to hide their game plans and notebooks from the Seahawks:
“I think if they were looking at our notebooks for this year there’s not a heck of a lot to take away.’’
On which team he is rooting for:
“I’m just rooting for good weather and a good game. How’s that for being diplomatic?’’
On what his late father, Wellington, late uncle, Jack, and late grandfather, Tim, would have thought of all this:
“I think my father would be pretty amazed we were able to pull it off. He was for doing it right after 9/11 when Commissioner [Paul] Tagliabue started talking it up and he was pretty excited about it then but for whatever reason that momentum died. I think he’d be very pleased. I’m not sure my grandfather or uncle would have ever envisioned what this Super Bowl has become and what a big event it’s become.’’
On New York/New Jersey making a bid for another Super Bowl next decade:
“Let’s get through this week before we start thinking about that.’’
On whether Giants are on course to return to the big game in the near future:
“That’s certainly what our hope is. I’m excited about some of the new guys we brought in. It was time to change things up a little bit. I think we’ve got a very solid staff. And listen, we need to do a little better job in the draft and free agency, too. It’s an organizational thing; it’s not just a couple of coaches."
On whether he watched the playoffs after Giants were out:
"I watched every minute of every game. It’s bittersweet. It really is. But I’m still a football fan at the end of the day, so I did not miss a play."
On why MetLife Stadium was built without a roof:
"The stadium cost enough to build without a roof. We looked at that at one point in time but it was so cost prohibitive it was not worth doing for the limited number of additional events you would get.’’
On Tom Coughlin saying he still has the energy to continue coaching beyond 2014:
“You never want a coach to say, ‘Yeah, I’ve just about had it.’ I don’t think you’re ever going to get him to say that. He still has the same energy level he’s always had, so I’m pleased about that.’’
On where he will sit for the game:
“If my mother [Ann, the Giants’ co-owner] allows me to sit there, I’ll be there [in a suite] with my brothers and sisters and my kids.”
On why his mother might not want him there:
“She wasn’t all that happy with me the way the season turned out.’’
On whether he will be disappointed if the weather Sunday is relatively mild:
“You want the people in the stands to be comfortable. I’m certainly not hoping for frigid conditions. We’d just like it to be as comfortable as possible so it doesn’t effect the game or the field and probably more important is that the people sitting in the stands are comfortable.’’
On whether he would be more inclined to vote for a future cold-weather Super Bowl since the owners approved this one:
“I would be more open to it, yeah, but let’s get through this week and see.’’
On whether the Giants’ season was even more disappointing because the Giants could have hosted the big game:
“I would say yes. How many chances do you get to host a Super Bowl? Certainly we were hoping to be playing the game, but the odds are stacked against you to do that. That dream ended fairly quickly for us. But whether you win a Super Bowl in East Rutherford or Indianapolis or Phoenix, it’s pretty special."
On how excited the city would have been to have the Giants in it:
“The city is going to be pretty exciting as it is, but yeah, I have thought about that. It just wasn’t to be.’’
On the Maras’ relationship with Vince Lombardi:
“Lombardi is a great name in NFL history, a very close personal friend of my family, my brother’s godfather. I think that’s pretty cool.’’