From Pop Warner to the NFL, it's drilled into an athlete's head that practice makes perfect. The harder you practice, the harder you'll play; the more you study, the better you'll perform.
That lesson is not just about the words, it's about the meaning. It's something that's lost on many athletes at all levels of competition. Some feel they need to do just enough to get by and if that doesn't get the job done, then so be it. They forget that although this is a game, it's also a business. And like most businesses, you're only as strong as your weakest link.
For the New York Giants, there are few weaknesses. Not because they are all-world -they'll be the first to tell you that's not the case- but because they do more than "just enough."
All week long we've heard about Eli Manning and his group of wide receivers studying more film than is required by Tom Coughlin and his staff. We've heard about Jason Pierre-Paul sponging up every bit of knowledge he possibly can from teammates Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck. And we've heard about the defensive backs critiquing each other and their play from previous weeks in an order to eliminate any small holes in their game.
Maybe it was that very lockout that rekindled their love of football. Maybe they've got nothing better to do. Or maybe they strive to be the best they possibly can because they hate to lose.
“It's not [extra work] if you want to win,” Corey Webster said.
There are pundits who believe, once again, the Giants have "fluked" their way to the Super Bowl. That a 9-7 team just got lucky along the way, caught a few breaks and happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Anyone who watches the Giants on a weekly basis however, would strongly disagree with that assertion.
There's nothing lucky about this Giants team; they haven't fluked their way into anything. Rather, and once again, it's been resiliency that's carried them this far. They've overcome an NFL Lockout, personnel changes, catastrophic injuries and personal tragedy to get where they are today. They're playing in Super Bowl XLVI not because of a few favorable bounces, but because they've mentally and physically pushed themselves to the limits in order to succeed.
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