What's the first thing a football mind such as Bill Belichick's sees when he looks at the Giants this season?
In particular, the patches on the front that honor franchise matriarch Ann Mara and the stickers on the backs of the helmets that honor Hall of Famer Frank Gifford.
"I know that Ann Mara and Frank meant so much to the great tradition of the New York Giants and I'm very fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know and work with, in varying degrees, both people," Belichick said on Wednesday. "These recognitions of Ann and Frank, to me, just really touches the great tradition the Giants have, have always had, and how important those two people were. That's a part of this season for them and certainly for me, as well."
Belichick, of course, was a wunderkind defensive coordinator for two Super Bowl championship teams with the Giants under head coach Bill Parcells. He and Tom Coughlin both were coaches on the 1990 Super Bowl team. That team is being feted by the Giants this season for its 25th anniversary. Belichick recalled a few memories from that squad.
"There are a lot of great things about that team, but for me, it was really about the defensive players that I was most closely associated with," he said. "That's not taking anything away from Phil [Simms] and the job that Jeff [Hostetler] did and all the other great players and great plays that came from that team on offense and special teams, but I was with the defensive players. Really a special group. I know they worked well together and had a lot of leadership in the secondary from Everson Walls and ... our front. Had a lot of good days defensively that year and strictly in the postseason. Proud to have coached that group and we had a good coaching staff, guys that I really enjoyed coaching with, and players, it was good chemistry. It was an amazing year."