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Super Bowl scene: Giants make entrance on day two

CHANDLER, Ariz. -- The New York Giants made their own grand entrance on Monday, touching down at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport and taking their turn for introductions in front of the Super Bowl media.

Head coach Tom Coughlin and the Giants made their first comments of Super Bowl week at the secluded Sheraton Wild Horse Pass, a solid 20 miles outside of downtown Phoenix. It will serve as the team's headquarters this week while the team practices at the Arizona Cardinals' training complex.

Coughlin **spoke to a crowded house of media** for approximately 15 minutes in one corner of a banquet room. It was then the player's turn, as Eli Manning, Amani Toomer, Jeff Feagles, Plaxico Burress, Antonio Pierce and Michael Strahan each fielded questions for about 25 minutes from raised platforms throughout the rest of the room.

Manning and Strahan were the most popular targets, each immediately engulfed by media five rows deep. The Giants expressed their excitement but were generally business-like -- with the exception of Strahan, who was very loose and engaging with the media.

Here are some of the highlights:

» Men In Black: The Giants were all dressed in black suits as they deplaned, an effort coordinated by Pierce to remind the team it's in Arizona on business. Toomer, Burress, Pierce and Strahan all donned black suits, black ties and black shirts.

"We're here to put up a good fight for all of the NFL and everybody to see, and hopefully make them believe or not believe," said Pierce.

» Pierce spent a good portion of his session talking about the improved relationship between Coughlin and the Giants players this season. In addition to several team-bonding experiences, Pierce pointed to the fact that the veteran head coach has allowed players to get to know him this season.

"I think he just got us closer together," said Pierce. "Whenever you see a coach do that, get involved with the team and be more flexible, you have a better understanding of who he is instead of just a rough-tough head coach who is always screaming. I think I got to see the personal side of Tom Coughlin."

» Embracing the role: The Giants were clearly embracing the role of underdogs on Monday, as Burress, Pierce and Strahan each spent time talking about facing the undefeated Patriots.

"We love it," said Burress. "No one gave us a chance to win a game in the past three weeks. It's nothing new to us."

"If I was 18-0, playing against a team that was not 18-0, I would go with the 18-0 team too," explained Strahan. "But I think for us, we can't worry about those things. We've been the underdogs in every game we've played. We kind of thrive on that. It's a motivator for us, I think, to go out there and prove everybody wrong that doesn't think we have an opportunity to win."

» Image isn't everything: Manning was asked some pointed questions regarding his image with fans and media in the what-have-you-done-for-me-lately market of New York.

"You can't try to be someone you're not, you can't try to act a certain way to please everybody," said Manning. "You have to be yourself. You have to play the only way you know how to play. You just have to do it the way you know it."

Manning's image, which had taken a beating as the Giants struggled early, has drastically improved as the team continued to win. He insisted that he wasn't going to change his demeanor based on outside pressure.

"If you're fake, it will be obvious," said Manning. "The players will see that. You can't try to do something to please the media but hurt your team. That's the most important thing, your team."

» Blessing in disguise: Burress had an interesting take when asked about his lingering ankle injury, noting that being forced to play through the injury during the season made him a better and smarter player.

"Now that I'm starting to get healthy, all of it is coming together," he said.

» Gil Brandt also checked in on Monday, taking a look at what it takes to make a case for the Giants against the Patriots. Brandt spoke with four football minds - Rex Ryan, Michael Irvin, Dan Reeves and Mel Tucker - who all agreed it wouldn't be a shock if the Giants pull off the upset but concluded the Patriots would win.

» Manning put in some overtime following the media session, appearing live on NFL Network's *Total Access*. If his social calendar is of interest to you, Manning planned on taking his offensive linemen and some others out to dinner on Monday night.

» Up next: The Giants won't be practicing on Tuesday due to the NFL's annual media day. They're scheduled second on the media day lineup, from 12-1 p.m. ET.

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