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Sun., Aug. 30, 2015 1:00 AM to 10:59 PM EDT
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Vince Wilfork Press Conference Transcript
Q: What does it mean to make it to the Super Bowl?
VW: This is what you play for. You have 32 teams that play for this one game. To get here is just the first step; to come here and perform at your best that's the next step and I'm very happy and I'm very excited. I'm excited about these players in this locker room because they worked hard. Even though there were a bunch of ups-and-downs all season, this team just found a way. They never let anyone tell them what they can and cannot do. They fought hard and we're going to need to fight hard for one more. But, there's no doubt in my mind that they're going to give it their all, we're going to give it our all: coaches, this organization [and] my teammates. It's no question that we're going to give it our all and hopefully it's the best outing that we put out all year because we're going to need it against a good football team in the Giants. It seems like every year they peak at the right time and I think Eli [Manning] is probably playing some of the best football of any quarterback in the game. So a lot of questions about Peyton [Manning], now his little brother Eli has stepped his game up big time and he can always be compared to some of the greats in the game now because of his production. He took that team over and not saying he's the only one but his play alone has moved them in the right direction with guys around him and the offense is a solid offense: three backs, three good receivers and some good tight ends and the offensive lines been banged up, moved around a little bit but I'll tell you what it doesn't matter who they put in. They all know what they're doing, they all play hard, they're tough, they're physical. This is probably one of the best offenses we've seen from every aspect. They're not just a passing team and they're not just going to sit back and run the ball on you. They're going to do what they think they can do and I think they're going to mix it up and they do a great job of mixing it up. They protect the ball very well and they make big plays, they make big plays so we have our hands full and like I said it's probably one of the best teams we're going to face all year.
Q: How is Eli Manning different now in comparison to what you saw earlier in the season?
VW: You've seen him grow. You've seen a guy not making the bonehead mistakes. He's protecting the football and that's first and foremost. When you can protect the football offensively, you have a good shot. And I think with the guys surrounding him that can make plays - that's all they have to do is protect the ball and they'll find themselves in pretty good shape. So it's just a team that's going to grind it out for 60 minutes. They going to play for 60 minutes and you know what, if we make a mistake or anyone that faced them made a mistake, it's going to cost them so it's going to be a tough, tough game for us but at the same time it's going to be very, very exciting.
Q: Do you think the wide receivers now are better than what you faced in the Super Bowl four years ago?
VW: I don't know but I'll tell you what - they are a good bunch: young and explosive, big, strong [and] fast. They have all the tools. From the [running] backs, they're shifty, they have power, they have speed - they have it all. You can sit back and write about the type of offense you would like to have or the type of players you would like to have. Probably every position on that offensive side you'll find a guy that has what it takes to put together a winning football team which they've done so we have our hands full. We definitely have our hands full so hopefully you're going to see a real good football game and hopefully we can come out on top but we're going to have to play our best football game that we've played all year to do that so it starts in practice. We have to be able to execute well, we have to be able to prepare well and we can't just give up plays. I think if we don't give up plays we're going to find ourselves in pretty good shape throughout the game but if we give up big plays and bonehead plays we'll be in trouble. That's what we're not looking for.
Q: What kind of different challenges you face going up against this offensive line in comparison to last time you face them during the regular season?
VW: Like I said, they don't give up anything. They're strong, they're physical, they're smart. It's like they always play together. You rarely see any breakdowns or mental errors from these guys. They've played for a while, even guys that have to come in and they've come in and have done a great job for them. We're going to have to be technically sound up front. We're going to have to play solid sound football up front, read our keys and make plays because they're not going to give us any so we're going to have to actually go out and force them to make some different plays and we're going to have to come out and come up with some big plays so that's what it's going to be all about.
Q: What did you see from the game tape from the Week 9 matchup against the Giants that you were displeased with?
VW: Opportunities that were there but it is what it is and it was a tough football game. It was a game that went down to the last minute so you can always go back and look to see what you could have done differently but I'll tell you what, it was 0-0 at the half. You had two sides that were basically not giving one another nothing. Everything we got we had to earn and that's what it's going to be. You have two football teams that are coached very, very well. The Giants are coached very well. [Tom] Coughlin's done a great job with these guys and it shows. Their defense turned it around and they're making plays and it's just a tough bunch so we're going to have to make more plays. At the end of the day the team that makes the most plays and produces more is going to win the ball game.
Q: How much do the tough practices and your previous Super Bowl experiences help you heading into this week before the Super Bowl?
VW: Well we're doing what we're here for [which] is to play football. It's the biggest game of all our careers. I don't care how many Super Bowls you've been to or [have] won. Every chance to get to play at this level is the biggest game of your career and we just have to realize it's still a football game. At the end of the day it's still a football game and they're going to have to line up between the lines and play and we're going to have to line up between the lines and play. I think the more we can focus on that end and just block everything else out the better we'll be as a team. But it's no question in my mind these guys will do that. You want to enjoy being here but at the same time you want to make sure you do everything possible to play your best and that's where we're at right now. We still have a bunch of days left but we have to remember what we're here for. We're still here to play a football game and to prepare well and don't forget about films and don't forget about your studies and taking care of your body and all different types of stuff you can't forget about. This is probably the most important thing for us right now is just remember what we here for.
Q: How much have you grown as a person and player since your time at the University of Miami to now?
VW: Going to the University of Miami my first year and winning a National Championship and then the next year going and losing to Ohio State and first year in the pros winning [the] Super Bowl. So to me it was like, ‘I can get used to this and it's nothing. I can do this all the time, I'm used to winning.' A couple years went by and I saw how hard it was to get to this level and in '07 of course going [to the Super Bowl] and losing that's a tough, tough, feeling but every chance you get to be in this situation is special. It's very special win or lose. Of course you want to win but it's special. Through the course of the year you go through so many ups and downs and positives and negatives and injuries, you name it. Teams go through everything and you rarely see a team that doesn't go through nothing and gets to the Super Bowl and all of a sudden wins. It doesn't happen like that but for this team we've come a long ways. We've come a long ways and a lot of doubters saying that we can't get here, we can't do this but these guys never gave up. They kept fighting and each week they got better and better and better and better and now we find ourselves playing in the Super Bowl, so one more game to go. We have to keep that same intensity that we had throughout the whole year and the same thing we've been doing is getting better each week, playing better [and] preparing better. We have to continue to do that this week and hopefully we can walk away with a ‘W.' I'll tell you what, with a win in the Super Bowl when you look back at all the critics, you look at all of them, whatever it may be [and] it will be all worth it at the end of the day with a win.
Q: Tom Brady, Kevin Faulk and Matt Light have been to five Super Bowls. What does that say about them and this organization?
VW: Super Bowls are Super Bowls. Even in '07, there are so many guys that those organizations are the only thing that stayed the same. The Giants and the Patriots, they didn't leave, that organization didn't leave but players they come and go. I don't think it means anything, how many they had in the Super Bowl or how many we had in the Super Bowl. I don't think that will have anything to do with this football game.
Q: But what does it say about those three guys?
VW: They've been around here for a long time. They've been through some tough times and some good football teams and some bad teams. If you ask those guys, they probably have stories for days about those different teams they've been on and the difference in those teams. I'll tell you one thing, I can only speak for what's going on with us right now. There are a bunch of guys in here that love to play football. They have a passion for this game and they give it their all. That's what I can speak on right now and it showed all year. Even though, when things weren't going well, you could easily sit back and say, ‘You know what, screw it, they're right. We're just going to continue to suck and pack it in.' But these guys fought, they fought. We believe in one another, we believe in our coaching staff, we believe in everybody here. One thing we don't want to do is let one another down. You know what, it's been working so far. One more game and hopefully we can just bring it together one more time.
Q: The fans are sending the team off on Sunday. How important is fan support in getting to the Super Bowl?
VW: This is a tough crowd. They want to win. What fan doesn't want to win? Trust me, they let us know when we suck and they let us know when they appreciate us. I wouldn't trade them; I wouldn't trade them for nothing. To come here, to have a home playoff game with the Denver Broncos, it probably was the loudest I've heard the stadium. And then to come back last week against the Ravens once again, it's a great feeling. As much as we do want to get on the field, trust me, when we're on the sideline or we're on the field and we hear those fans, that gets us going. That makes us want to play because we don't want to let them down. Not just letting ourselves and the coaches and your family down, we don't want to let our fans down too. I want them to understand that, that we hear them and love them to death. Hopefully they can send us off with some good luck and hopefully we can bring back something special.
Q: Did your performance level raise because of the stakes and desire to prove people wrong last week?
VW: No, I play hard every week. Sometimes I make plays that are noticeable and sometimes I don't. Last week was just one of those things where the plays I made were pretty good plays but you have turn the chapter. We have to turn the chapter; I can't dwell over last week or that performance because I have another football game to play. I understand that. I'm up for the challenge. I always want to give my all because I expect the same thing from my coaches and my teammates and I hope they expect the same thing from me. I always play hard. Sometimes you can notice it and sometimes you can't. But that's how it goes because I don't get a bunch of sacks. I don't have any sack dance or any dance you can remember me by but trust me, I do play hard.
Q: What does the improvement the defense has made, especially in the playoffs, say about the team, especially in light of all the media criticism?
VW: It lets me know these guys listen - through the coaches, through the guys, the veterans who have been around the game for awhile. It's not like we talk to them every day about certain stuff. No, they get it. They knew how important it was for us to get better as a team and what we needed to do to get better as a team. We made those changes, we made those progresses and we moved forward. Like I said, it's a special bunch. At the end of the day, it's going to be a special team. I think everybody in this locker room, they love this game, they love one another, they have the passion. That's one thing to have a football player not have the passion for what they love and what they do but I can honestly tell you that these guys have every passion, everything that you need in a football player, they have and they love it.
Q: Are you glad Coach Belichick won't be wearing that red hoodie that some believe brought you bad luck in the last Super Bowl?
VW: Bill does what Bill does. If Bill wants to wear whatever he wants to wear then he can wear it but I'll let him call that. It is what it is when it comes to different things. People have different things going into games that they need to do or they don't want to do. I don't know what it is for Bill but we all need to step our game up for one last time; make it very special.
Q: A lot of people are saying the Giants should be favored. How different is it to play the Giants this time when everyone thinks they're the better team compared to '07 when no one thought the Giants could touch you?
VW: I would see why people would say they need to be favored -they're a heck of a ball club. It seems like the later in the season it gets, the better they get. They peak at the right time. I understand and trust me, I see the same thing that they see. I watch film a little bit more in depth than those guys and the Giants are a real good football team. They're coached very well and they have playmakers everywhere. At the end of the day, no one can write what the outcome is going to be or who is going to win the game. You can't predict it. It's going to be up to those two ball clubs on Sunday, on game day, to see who wins that ball game between the lines. That's what it's going to boil down to and hopefully we have what it takes because I'm pretty sure they're going to be pretty psyched and they're going to be very excited to play. We're going to have to match their intensity.