NEW YORK -- Osi Umenyiora took a short break in the middle of an autograph session Monday afternoon to reflect. He looked at a friend who was standing next to him, smiled and said, "Do you believe we won the Super Bowl?"
One month before Umenyiora and the New York Giants faced the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, few would have believed they could reach the Super Bowl let alone win it. Then they went on a wild ride through the playoffs, culminating in their 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten Patriots. Some have called it the biggest upset in Super Bowl history -- and the thrill-ride is still sinking in for many of the key contributors.
"It's starting to sink in… but this is kinda crazy right here," said Amani Toomer, who joined Umenyiora and several other Giants players Monday night for a VIP premiere screening of the 2008 Super Bowl XLII Champions DVD. A day after Hollywood rolled out the red carpet for the Academy Awards, the AMC Empire 25 Theater in New York's Times Square rolled out the "blue carpet" to welcome Toomer, Umenyiora, Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning, Michael Strahan, David Tyree, Brandon Jacobs, and Antonio Pierce.
The 2008 Super Bowl XLII Champions DVD (Warner Home Video, $24.98) officially went on sale today -- but apropos of the city that never sleeps, Umenyiora followed last night's screening with a DVD signing appearance at a Times Square sporting goods store from 11:59 p.m. until 2 in the morning.
"Everybody tells me how well we played," Umenyiora said with a grin. "I've got to see it for myself."
The DVD, produced by the award-winning crew at NFL Films, features 180 minutes of footage, highlights and interviews, as well as extensive bonus material.
Strahan admitted he's watched the game two or three times since returning from Arizona. And even though he knows how it ends, he can't help but yell at the TV as Manning lofts the game-winning TD pass to Plaxico Burress in the corner of the end zone with 35 seconds left.
"I know exactly what's going to happen," said Strahan, "but I'm still yelling, 'Get it, Plax! Get it, Plax!'"
Of course, a few plays before the Burress touchdown, Manning escaped a sure sack and connected with Tyree on a miraculous reception that NFL Films president Steve Sabol still maintains is the greatest play in Super Bowl history. Sabol is listed as executive producer of the DVD, so it's no surprise that the play is given its proper weight. The NFL Films cameras captured the play from every conceivable angle, and the addition of that signature NFL Films music provides suitable dramatic effect.
For his part, Tyree said he has seen the play dozens of times, and he is often asked to recreate the scenario in which he leaps in the air and comes down on his back with the football wedged between his right hand and his helmet. But he hasn't seen the entire game, either.
"I'm excited to sit here tonight and enjoy this," said Tyree, who added that he is staying humble while still enjoying his sudden fame. "One day I'm going to get a copy of the game, sit down with my family and pop some popcorn.
In addition to the music that sets their work apart from other highlight videos, the NFL Films team captured great sound from the field at University of Phoenix Stadium. Like when Strahan is addressing his defensive teammates on the field prior to the start of Super Bowl XLII. The FOX Sports pre-game show might have shown the animated Strahan firing up the troops, but the DVD has the audio:
"This o-line we're facing today is the greatest o-line of all time," Strahan tells the players standing around him. "Their quarterback cannot be sacked. He can't even be hit! We don't stand a chance!"
"At least they were talking about my face this year," Coughlin replied. "Last year it was my ass."
That storyline -- Coughlin's seemingly tenuous job security at the start of the 2007 season -- is addressed at the beginning of the DVD. The first 40 minutes, in fact, are dedicated to the '07 regular season, in which the Giants got off to an 0-2 start. They avenged those two losses, to Dallas and Green Bay, with stirring victories over those same teams in the NFC divisional playoffs and conference title game, respectively. Not only are those highlights included in the DVD's main feature, but the DVD extras include NFL Network's Game of the Week episodes chronicling both of those games.
If any of the Giants still don't believe what they've accomplished, now they can at least pop in the DVD to prove it. That is, if they have time between public appearances.
"It's been fun," said Manning. "I'm enjoying every minute of it."