Fassel: Stay out of trouble
By BOB HARIG and RICK STROUD
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 22, 2001
TAMPA -- If they were so inclined, Giants players who arrived Sunday for the Super Bowl were allowed to visit night spots until 1:30 this morning.
Coach Jim Fassel gave his players a loose leash with a stern warning.
"I've covered everything," Fassel said at a Super Bowl news conference. "I've talked about the problems, all the ordinances, all the things that are going on down here. I've even told them the names of places that are targets.
"Honestly, I've got curfew every night. I told them this, 'If you guys want to go and have a great time at the Super Bowl, then go when we're not playing.' Because we're coming down here to work."
Fassel said he will impose a 1:30 a.m. curfew again tonight, then require his players to be back in their rooms by 12:30 Tuesday through Friday. Curfew Saturday night is 11 p.m.
Asked about Fassel's message and whether or not the coach was banning his players from some of Tampa's more notorious locations, defensive tackle Keith Hamilton said: "I don't think he said it was totally off limits. ... Just to be on the safe side, you need to stay away from them.
"I think like an older guy, and if he tells me all this stuff is going down, I think that's not a place I should go to."
Fassel said he was pleased with the way the Giants practiced last week at home in preparation for this game.
"This team has shown me maturity all year long," he said. "I think from the standpoint of how we'll approach this week ... we got a lot of work done last week. At the beginning of this week, we'll go back over some things, put areas of our game plan in. But I'm thoroughly convinced that this team came down here with an attitude about working."
When the Giants arrived at the Wyndham Westshore, their headquarters for the week, they were greeted by several dozen fans who were roped off in the lobby.
"It's a really good feeling seeing all those New York fans here," safety Shaun Williams said. "We really appreciate it. I can't believe how many people were here."
One thing the Giants didn't appreciate was the temperature. By the time Fassel and several players convened for a media gathering, the temperature had dipped below 40.
"I thought I was still up in the New York/New Jersey area," Fassel said. "It's cold enough down here."
Two thumbs up?
On the charter flight to Tampa, the Giants got some inspiration.
"We watched the movie Remember the Titans," tackle Lomas Brown said. "That was a very appropriate movie to watch. (Linebacker) Micheal Barrow, who was sitting next to me, he was fired up and jumping up and everything."
No betting man
With both Super Bowl teams known for their defensive abilities, Giants defensive end Michael Strahan was asked if he believed it would be a low-scoring game.
"I don't know what to think after last week," said Strahan, who said he never envisioned that the Giants would shut out the high-powered Vikings 41-0.
"If I could predict the score, you think I'd be playing?" he said. "I'd be gambling. I'd be so far ahead, I'd be retired."
The Giants have played the Ravens once, a 24-23 Baltimore victory in 1997. The Giants led 20-14 through three quarters. It is the only time in 31 games under Fassel that the Giants failed to win when they led after three quarters.
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