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Giants safety Antrel Rolle has no problem speaking up. In the past year, he’s taken shots at Tom Coughlin, defensive captain Justin Tuck and various injured players. In fact, many Giants fans have come to expect Rolle to mouth off either before or after a big game, but when it comes to the biggest game of all, Rolle has no right to speak for the team.
Of course, New York is no stranger to Super Bowl guarantees. The first, and probably most famous, guarantee sprang from the lips of Broadway Joe just before the 1969 Super Bowl. At the time, Namath’s guarantee seemed laughable as the Jets (and the AFL as a whole) were seen as far inferior to the NFL’s Colts.
However, Namath, also one notorious for mouthing off, at least had the ability to control the game. As quarterback, he was involved in every offensive play, and his quick, short passes dismantled the Colts’ blitz-crazy defense. Namath grabbed the MVP and the championship, making good on his promise.
Rolle, on the other hand, will have considerably less effect on the outcome of the game. He is a member of a defense that has looked very, very bad at times (particularly last game when they got burned for two long touchdown receptions by 49er Vernon Davis). There’s no way Rolle will live up to Namath’s MVP since the only safeties to win the award were Dexter Jackson of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jake Scott of the undefeated Miami Dolphins. Both had two interceptions in the game. Rolle has two this whole season.
I will admit, a lack of superior individual performance should not deter Rolle from making guarantees. After all, the defense plays as a unit. If Rolle has confidence in the other ten guys on the field with him, he should speak up. However, most of the time, Rolle is speaking up to disparage his teammates and coaches.
I think this guarantee (which Rolle tried to backpedal out of today) puts unnecessary pressure on a streaking team. The Giants have been playing their most dynamic football. The smash-mouth defensive line is back, and the ground game isn’t as horrible. Even calls are bouncing their way. Why tempt the football gods with a guarantee? Why not just gear up, go out and win it?