The New York Giants will head into next season with the goal of getting better, not winning another Super Bowl, quarterback Eli Manning said yesterday.
"We've said we're not going to talk about repeating or doing that, just becoming a better team," he said. "We have a lot of work to do. You look at a lot of things from last year that we did not do well. From an offensive standpoint, there's a lot of things."
Manning spoke before a record crowd of about 1,000 people attending a College Football Hall of Fame luncheon in South Bend, Ind. He answered questions about New York's Super Bowl-winning season, his college career at Mississippi and growing up the younger brother of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and the son of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning.
Manning compared the Giants beating the unbeaten New England Patriots in the Super Bowl to the U.S. hockey team winning the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics. The U.S. team lost to the Soviet Union in exhibition games before beating them in the Olympics, just as the Giants lost 38-35 to the Patriots in the regular-season finale.
"We knew we could run up and down the field with them," he said. "We knew the game before we had chances to win that game, so we were very confident going into that game."
A key play came on a third-and-five from the New York 44 with 1:15 left when Manning avoided getting sacked and threw a 32-yard pass that David Tyree caught on his helmet.
"My linemen are actually taking credit for that play now. They said if they didn't miss their blocks, 'then you never would have been grabbed and you wouldn't have thrown it to Tyree,' " Manning said. "That's how linemen think. Now they want extra gifts, extra meals because they feel it was all their doing that we won that game."
* Quarterback Chris Simms, who spent most of 2007 on the injured reserve list, said his relationship with Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden is irreparably broken and is seeking a trade or his outright release, the St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune reported.
* Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren missed a second straight day of minicamp yesterday. The team says he was out with a minor, but undisclosed, medical condition. Also, Pro Bowl linebacker Lofa Tatupu is to be arraigned June 16 on a drunken-driving charge.
* Center LeCharles Bentley practiced with the Cleveland Browns, the first time he has been on the field with the team since injuring his left knee at the start of training camp in 2006.
Tight end Kellen Winslow also reported to minicamp after skipping the voluntary organized team activities last month. He had offseason knee surgery and wants to redo his contract.
* Convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs said before his death last week he supplied Tennessee Titans linebacker Ryan Fowler NFL, with performance-enhancing drugs before and after the 2006 season, the Dallas Morning News reported.
* Tom Catlin, a longtime NFL assistant coach and a two-way star in the 1950s at the University of Oklahoma, has died. He was 76. *