Two months before former St. John's Prep star Jonathan Goff was picked by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2008 NFL Draft, the New York Giants spoiled the Patriots' bid for a perfect season with a last-minute victory in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Ariz.
Goff won't be on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis Sunday night when the two teams meet again in Super Bowl XLVI, but the injured Giants' middle linebacker will be in the team's locker room.
A Peabody resident, Goff had his season ended in a freak preseason accident when he tore his ACL in a non-contact drill. He underwent surgery and is still rehabilitating.
Naturally he's disappointed not to be playing in the game, but wouldn't miss being there and a part of it with his teammates for anything.
"I'm flying out later (this) week, and our other guys on IR (injured reserve) are planning to go, too," said Goff.
"The team is playing with a lot of momentum, doing it on both sides of the ball. They just need to continue playing the way they have been in beating teams on the road, which is not easy."
The Giants (now 12-7) have a five-game winning streak coming into the Super Bowl, and have mowed down some very tough playoff opponents in Atlanta, Green Bay and San Francisco (in overtime) to win the NFC championship. They also handed the Patriots (15-3) their last loss this season, a 24-20 setback on Nov. 6 at Gillette Stadium.
Many did not give the Giants much of a chance to get this far, especially since they only qualified for the playoffs after beating NFC East rival Dallas in the final game of the regular season to win the division.
"That's why you play the games," said Goff, who has been following his team closely from home while rehabbing his knee so he'll be ready to go when preseason camp opens in July.