Back in mid-June, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy, still not over a 37-20 playoff loss to the New York Giants, claimed his team didn't give themselves a chance to win. He went as far as to say "you'd rather have a team beat you" than to beat yourselves. It's an opinion that was shared by linebacker Clay Matthews earlier this month, who also believed the Giants had nothing to do with the 17 point victory in Green Bay.
The trend of disrespect towards the Super Bowl champions continued late last week when San Francisco 49ers safety Dante Whitner said his team let victory slip right through their fingers. Not that they were beaten, mind you, but that they let it get away from them.
As the 2012 regular season approaches, defensive ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora are sick and tired of hearing about how the Giants got lucky a season ago. More than just in the press, the duo has had opposing players literally tell them to their faces they "got lucky" and the nonsense has finally run its course. Both fired back on Monday.
“A lot of these teams, we punched them straight in their mouth. It’s not like anybody gave us anything,” Umenyiora said. “So if they want to talk about how they gave us the game, that’s on them. It might help some people get more motivated to hear people don’t really respect us the way a Super Bowl champ is supposed to be respected. But all these people coming out and saying these different things, man, how crazy is this? Sour grapes.”
Tuck, meanwhile, says the chatter does little to motivate the team or detract from their focus. In fact, the collective unit just gets a few good chuckles out of the nonsense.
“Sure it can help you. It also can hurt you, too. You start listening to people and start thinking to yourself ‘Well maybe we didn’t deserve that?’ or whatever. But I find it amusing," Tuck said. “That’s why we have the slogan: Talk is cheap, play the game.”
As it turns out, one of the most vocal teams has been the Washington Redskins, who beat the Giants twice last season. Several of their players have gone as far as saying the NFL "gave y'all the [Super Bowl]."
You can be certain Tuck and Umenyiora will remind the team of that come week seven when the two meet at MetLife Stadium.
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