The New York Giants returned to work on Wednesday, fired up by the challenge of playing the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl and even more aflame over a report that claimed they had cheated in their playoff wins.
A report from a Toronto Globe and Mail columnist that the Giants had intercepted radio signals between the opposing coaches and their quarterbacks to help their defense in playoff wins over the Eagles (20-10) and Vikings (41-0) was shot down on Wednesday by NFL officials.
But that didn't keep the National Football Conference champions from getting all riled up over the unsubstantiated allegations.
"We made so many big plays it has come to this," said Giants coach Jim Fassel. "This is ludicrous, and totally irresponsible. I guess this is a compliment to our defensive coordinator John Fox, but how can anyone write this?"
Said Giants linebacker Jesse Armstead, "We analyzed their attack like we always do and I guess we made some accurate choices. (Vikings quarterback) Culpepper got excited and started to run around and got away from his game plan when it was suddenly 14-0.
"I know we got to him when I saw him arguing with one of their coaches on the sidelines."
Michael Strahan, the Giants' star defensive end, explained the Giants' utter domination in their rout of the favored Minnesota Vikings, thusly: "We were on a roll, and didn't seem to make any mistakes. The Vikings got messed up mentally, stopped running their routes and were brush blocking.
"Culpepper seemed to lose it under the pressure of our early lead. He threw into crowds of coverage and after Randy Moss got wracked up, he wasn't into the game."
Giants public relations director Pat Hanlon was not as diplomatic.
"The report out of Toronto is bogus," said Hanlon. "It's pure bullshit and you can write that if you can."
When talk got back to football, the principals calmed down.
"I think the players were glad to get back to work today," said Fassel.
"As I have said before, there will be a party atmosphere in Tampa. But we are going there to work and to win the Super Bowl. This is our chance at the brass ring and I don't intend to let anything stop us from playing at our utmost top level."
Said safety Sam Garnes, "Just getting there is not enough. We have to win one more game or the whole thing was a lot of work for almost nothing."
Giants quarterback Kerry Collins, who had a career day in heaving five touchdown passes against Minnesota, said he had great respect for the Ravens' top-rated defense but remained optimistic.
"Can we get 41 points? Probably not. If you ask me can we move the ball, I say, yes we can."