This headline speaks for itself considering all the attention the NFL garners in training camp these days. The New York Giants seem to always play with a chip on their shoulders because they believe they are ‘disrespected’ despite winning the Super Bowl according to the words of Justin Tuck. Well, Jerry Jones sure wanted to rile some fans up at the start of Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, CA, so he came out and claimed the Cowboys will beat the Giants at home this season along with a controversial and amusing ‘glory hole’ statement. John Mara laughed off the comments made by the Cowboys owner. The Giants President and CEO who called the Cowboys ‘lucky’ this past March for not losing draft picks for the way they structured contracts during the uncapped added some more fuel to the fire of this spirited rivalry. Mara also killed two birds with one stone by taking a jab at the New York Jets as well.
John Mara joined ESPN New York with The Mike Lupica Show to discuss the amount of time the New York Giants front office spent enjoying their Super Bowl victory before turning their attention to the 2012 season, the Giants’ chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions, Jerry Jones saying that the Cowboys would beat the Giants at home this season, the health status of Hakeem Nicks and the Giants brutal schedule this season.
How much of a gap was there between the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl and you and Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin getting into an office and you saying time to move on? When did the page get turned?
“I would say within a week or two after that game. Certainly in Tom’s case. I mean Tom doesn’t celebrate anything for very long, but in this business you have to turn the page very quickly otherwise you get left behind and you start making mistakes and we started planning for 2012 very, very early on cause it was a short offseason thankfully. You have to be ready to go. We made some changes this year. We think we have a good team and we are looking forward to the season starting. You celebrate for awhile, but you can’t celebrate for too long because there are a lot of teams out there that want to knock you off and you have to be ready pretty quickly.”
What’s your confidence level in repeating as Super Bowl champions?
“Well it’s hard to even think about that. I’m just thinking about that first game against the Cowboys and we’ll take it one game at a time. It’s very difficult to repeat in this league. Let’s face it last year we were 7-7 and then we got on a great streak and there were some games where the ball bounced in the right direction for us and you can’t count on that happening all the time. I do have a lot of confidence in the personnel we have here. We are strong on both sides of the ball and on special teams. I think we are going to have a chance at the end of the season again. I am not going to make any predictions about repeating. There are too many good teams in this league and the talent is so evenly distributed that any number of teams could end up winning. That’s one of the things that makes the NFL so great is the system that we created give everyone a chance.”
What were your thoughts on Jerry Jones saying the Cowboys would beat the Giants when they come to Dallas to fans at training camp? Will your team even show up? Those are fighting words to me?
“[Laughs] We’ll show up [to play the Cowboys]. But that is actually the first time I’ve heard that comment. I have been so caught up in the [Tim] Tebow coverage that I haven’t had time for anything else.”
Are you getting the most questions regarding Hakeem Nicks’ health than anything else right now?
“I would say so. Yeah. He’s been running and we are pretty confident that he is going to be ready to go. He’s worked very hard to put himself in a position where he will be ready and I spoke to him the other day and he seemed pretty confident, so we think we will have him ready to go in time for the start of the regular season.”
What are your thoughts on the Giants schedule this season getting rematches with the Packers and 49ers?
“Believe me it’s a brutal schedule. It really is. You throw the Saints in there. I just think the NFC East is going to be extremely competitive this year, so it’s about as tough of a schedule that anybody could have. If you want to win the whole thing you have to beat those guys anyway, but it’s exciting for our fans and we have a great home schedule, so we are looking forward to that. There are no easy games in the league anymore. Any team is capable of beating any other team and you don’t know sitting here right now if certain teams look like they are going to be stronger than others, but that can change very quickly and it could be a completely different situation in the middle of the season depending on injuries and there’s always going to be some surprise teams, so who knows Mike? I just know I think the NFC East is the most competitive division in football and I think it will be again this year.”