When asked Wednesday if he still thought the Niners would kick the Giants' ass, Newberry at first displayed irritation.
"What kind of question is that? That's a stupid question," Newberry said, before saying facetiously, "No, I'm terrified of them. I think the Giants are the best team in the league and I'm terrified of them. I just hope we can keep the score close. … What am I supposed to say: that I'm terrified of the Giants and we don't have a chance?"
That's not the way Newberry really feels, and he wasn't shy in telling everybody.
"I think we'll win this week," he said. "That's what I believe. I don't go into any game, against any player, thinking we're going to lose the game, or hoping to keep it close. I think we're going to kick everybody's ass that we play. That's my personal opinion. Every time I take the field, I don't think the guy I line up against is going to beat me and I don't think the team we line up against is going to beat me. That's what I feel every week when we take the field. If you ask me next week after we beat the Giants, I'll tell you the same thing. I think we'll kick whoever else's ass that we play, too."
When asked Wednesday morning about Newberry's comment, New York coach Jim Fassell at first attempted to make light of it before acknowledging his players were aware of the statement.
"You scared me for a minute," Fassell said. "I thought you said he was going to kick my ass. Heck, I'm not going to get on the plane to go out there. I need to settle down now. My heart is beating. … Yeah, they saw it. With the way the news is and the Internet, we could find out when somebody says hello to someone else in the morning."
Fassel's response to Newberry's fighting words? "I've got a lot of things to worry about other than that."
So, he's still coming out on the plane to San Francisco then? "Yeah, with 53 bodyguards," Fassel quipped.
One of those "bodyguards," Giants quarterback Kerry Collins, said of Newberry's statement: "That is something that we are all aware of here. I don't have any reaction to it. It was just something that was said and we'll just leave it at that."
That's about the same attitude Newberry takes. He doesn't really care what the Giants think.
"What, are they going to get fired up to play the game?" Newberry said. "They better be ready to play this game. I don't buy into that. They can say whatever they want. I'm going to be ready to play this game whether they say the 49ers are the greatest team out there and give them all the respect in the world. I'm going to say what I feel, and I think we're going to win this ballgame.
"If they get extra incentive to play this game, you have to bring everything you have to a playoff game anyway. It's do or die for us and them right now, so if you ain't ready to play this game, there's something wrong with you. If you need somebody to say something to get you hyped to play this game, then maybe you're in the wrong profession."