Toomer Looks to Lose ‘Horrible' Feeling

Amani Toomer and Michael Strahan are the only two Giants remaining from the 2000 club that shocked the world by making Super Bowl XXXV before being destroyed by Baltimore, 34-7.

Toomer said he'll never forget the devastating defeat.

"Oh yeah it is horrible," he said. "It was a horrible experience last time when we went down there and got blown out by the Ravens. It takes you a while to get over that. There is no surprise why the team who goes to the Super Bowl and loses traditionally the next year they usually have a letdown year or a year where they are trying to re-group and stuff. It is not only that you go there and you lose the big game but your offseason is a lot shorter and there is nothing really to show for it. You just went there to lose. I think I just want everybody to really focus on the fact that it is a game and we have one more game. I think we are a lot less happy about being in the Super Bowl than we were back in 2001."

During that Super Bowl Toomer and the Giants offense was shutout by the ferocious Baltimore defense with New York scoring only on a Ron Dixon kickoff return. Toomer said it was years before the pain of losing evaporated.

"It definitely took a while," Toomer said. "It took a couple years just to get over the fact that we were so close. The next year we are playing and 9/11 happens and that takes a little something out of our team. It was a tough road getting back because there was a lot of change and all that kind of thing, but it is one thing that I know as an organization we were heading uphill, we were getting better and better. After that loss in the Super Bowl it just seemed like everything stopped for a year or two."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin asked both Toomer and Strahan to speak to the team earlier in the week. Toomer didn't hesitate to share his thoughts and advice.

"I just would tell them that no matter all the hoopla and all the stuff that surrounds the game, at the end of the day it is going to be us versus the Patriots on the field, and that is what we really have to focus on," Toomer said. "We are preparing for the Patriots mentally, physically, getting your body in as best condition as you can after all these weeks of playing, and really focusing on the game. Not getting sidetracked by all these people trying to get you to go every which way. You have to make a conscious effort not to get distracted in the Super Bowl."

Justin Tuck could hear the hurt that still remains in Toomer's voice.

"Unfortunately they were part of a losing team," he said. "They warned us that you don't go down there just to be part of a spectacle. You go down there to win a game. For them, they don't remember anything except losing the game. You lose, and the whole experience is not a good one."


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