INDIANAPOLIS - Eli Manning proved this season that he is indeed an elite quarterback. Last week, he also proved he is a team leader.
Two days after the Giants' overtime win over the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, Manning addressed the team about the importance of staying focused as it prepared for Super Bowl XLVI.
"We had just come off a big win," Manning said. "We were excited about going to the Super Bowl. Our families were excited, there were a lot of things going on. I just wanted to make sure guys knew the importance of the practices last week.
"That week, when we were back in New Jersey, those practices are the time when we need to have our best practices. The focus has to be there and our preparation has to be at its best because when you get to Indianapolis, your schedule is thrown off. All the things that you might normally do during the week, it might be a little tougher to get the extra work in.
"I just told them to treat this week like you're playing on Sunday. [I told them to] handle all the business with tickets and family, make sure all that was handled last week, so when we get to Indianapolis your focus is on getting the game plan and having the mindset that this is a business trip and we have to go play our best football."
Manning's teammates walked away from the meeting more impressed than ever with their quarterback.
"I've been learning a lot about Eli all year long," safety Antrel Rolle said. "His confidence and his approach to things is remarkable.
"I'm glad he said what he said. Eli doesn't say much. So when he stood up there, he had a look on his face that . . . you knew it was time for business. You heard a lot of chatter going on around the room, like, wow."
The Patriots, who arrived in town on Sunday, held their first Super Bowl Week practice yesterday at the Colts' practice facility. They practiced in full pads. Asked why he opted to go in full pads, head coach Bill Belichick gave one of those patented Belichick answers. "We felt like it would be the best way for us to prepare for the game," he said . . . The Patriot used their no-huddle offense on 45 of 68 snaps against the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game. "They didn't use it too much the first time we played them," Antrel Rolle said, referring to his team's 24-20 win over the Patriots in Week 9. "If they use it Sunday, I don't think it will give us any problems. We're ready for whatever they throw at us."