By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
The Headlines: "Giants Won't Be Sacked by Media" (New York Post, Jan. 17); "Case Not Closed for Victim's Kin"(Daily News, Jan. 19)
The Hype: Reporters revisit Ray Lewis's legal troubles; Giants PR staff hopes to limit regurgitation of Collins's past.
The Hard Facts: If the media had its way, Super Bowl XXXV would be a tale of two players. The first, Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis, was tried on double-murder charges last spring after a stabbing outside an Atlanta nightclub following Super Bowl XXXIV (he eventually pled guilty to obstruction of justice and was fined $250,000 by the NFL; no one was ever convicted in the case). The other, Collins, is a recovering alcoholic who has turned both his career and his life around.
Enough already. Lewis was cleared of murder charges, and Collins, who has been sober for more than two years, has told his story ad nauseum. This week, the Giants' PR staff did the right thing by restricting any talk of their QB's past problems until after the game. It speaks volumes about the experience the entire organization has in handling the press, an off-the-field advantage that may play a part on the field if the Ravens allow the Lewis story to become a distraction.
"We have so many guys in the locker room every week," running back Tiki Barber told the media Thursday. "I don't think it will be as big a jump for us [in Tampa] as it is for some teams."
The Headlines: "Ruffling Poe Fans' Feathers" (Baltimore Sun, Jan. 19); "A Fan Provides a Twist to the Mystery of Poe" (The New York Times, Jan. 20)
The Hype: A Giant fan allegedly desecrates Edgar Allan Poe's Baltimore grave with a pro-Big Blue Super Bowl prediction. Baltimorians express outrage at NYU's plans to tear down his old West 3rd Street house.
The Hard Facts: Rival cities shitting on one another prior to the Super Bowl is nothing new. The New York Post's obligatory "Tale of the Tape" on January 16, for example, called New York the "Capital of the World" and Baltimore a "Suburb of Washington." Ouch. But using Baltimore's favorite son, Edgar Allan Poe, the famed author whose poem "The Raven" is the source of the home team's name, has brought these exchanges to their most literaryand ludicrouslevel. Quoth the Raven: Stick to the freakin' game.
The Headline: "Giants Aren't 'Bettor' Team in Vegas" (New York Post, Jan. 15)
The Hype: Vegas oddsmakers favor the Ravens and their defense this Sunday.
The Hard Facts: At press time, sports books had Baltimore favored by three points, but what do they know? Remember, the Vikings were favored in the NFC Championship Gameby as much as three pointsand lost 41-0. The Giants have thrived in the underdog role throughout their Cinderella Super Bowl run, and seem to play best when they are viewed lightly by the media and the opposition.
"In the locker room, we don't care what the outside opinion of us is," Sehorn told the media last week. "We just know there is an outside opinion. [That the media] is going to keep writing about how bad we are. We don't want to be looked at as a one-year wonder."
The Prediction: New York 17-13 (with the Ravens' lone TD coming from their defense).