The Giants have moved into the Cardinals' facility for the Super Bowl, although -- as Edgerrin James' remaining nameplate shows, the Giants don't need every locker.
The nameplates were out of place.
Michael Strahan's name was where Calvin Pace's once was. Kurt Warner was replaced by Anthony Wright, but at least it was a fellow quarterback; instead of Matt Leinart, that locker's sign said Lawrence Tynes. Anquan Boldin ceded space
to Reggie Torbor.
Most Cardinals weren't going to be around the team's Tempe complex this week anyway. But the New York Giants have moved in for Super Bowl XLII, transforming the locker room – and a chunk of the facility – in the NFC champion's home.
"It is a little weird but we are thankful to the Cardinals for giving us the opportunity to use the facility," Giants tackle Kareem McKenzie said. "It is one of the top places I have been in my seven years in the league. Real grass, which we haven't been able to play on in a while and it's a great climate.
"The situation is out of the ordinary. (But) it's the Super Bowl."
Allowing the corresponding conference champion to use the Super Bowl "host" team's complex is normal protocol for Super Bowl week.
Not only are the Giants moving in to use the practice fields, locker rooms and meeting rooms, but they are also using some of the Cards' video equipment to prepare for their game against the Patriots.
The Cardinals have already gone through a similar scenario earlier this season when the Chargers moved in for a few days while wildfires raged in San Diego.
"That was in-season, and this is different," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "We are doing prep work (right now) but most of our work can be done upstairs. (Team president) Michael Bidwill has done a great job facilitating what the Giants need to get done. We are excited to do that.
"I am excited for the Giants, I am excited for an NFC team to do well. Anything we can do to help the NFC is great."
The Giants practiced at the facility for the first time Wednesday afternoon. The Cards will close their offices for part of the day Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to provide privacy.
Meanwhile, Cards' staff – including the athletic trainers, equipment managers and the video crew – are helping out the Giants where needed.
Cardinals video director Rob Brakel said he was told the last time the Giants were in the Super Bowl, in Tampa following the 2000 season, the Giants practiced at the Buccaneers' facility but still had to set up film work and meeting rooms elsewhere.
The Giants are getting more this week.
"We've got to trust each other and work together," Brakel said. "You try to make their life as easy as possible. If you are an AFC team and go to Houston or go to Miami (for a Super Bowl), you get the same treatment the Giants are getting right now."
Whisenhunt and Brakel have been on the other side. When they were with the Steelers in 2005, Pittsburgh advanced to the Super Bowl in an NFC city – Detroit. But Whisenhunt said because the Steelers were able to work and prepare at an NFL-ready facility in the Pontiac Silverdome, it did not affect the outcome.
The Steelers went on to beat the Seahawks, 21-10.
Many of the Giants said their trip to London this season helped ready them for this week and the need to prepare in a strange environment. Some Giants, like defensive tackle Russell Davis and punter Jeff Feagles, are former Cardinals and have actually spent a lot of time in the same locker room.
Davis' current locker is just one down from the one he inhabited when he played in Arizona.
"It is kind of strange," Davis said.
Most players followed the same theme about using the Cards' place as safety Gibril Wilson, who said the Giants were "impressed" with the campus.
"Our players were walking through it (Tuesday) wide-eyed because in comparison to what we have at the stadium, it is a stark difference," Giants owner John Mara said. "I assured them all that the (new practice facility) we were building would be at least as nice as the Cardinals' set-up."
Contact Darren Urban at firstname.lastname@example.org. Posted 1/30/08.
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