, Salem, MA


January 31, 2012

Bavaro expects a Super game between Patriots, Giants


"They're very physical and well-coached — Tom Coughlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL," he said. "And his staff is great, too; their preparation is impeccable. Their defensive line is great, and their wide receivers have been very effective."

A huge reason why the Giants will be playing for their fourth Super Bowl crown on Sunday, he said, has been the emergence of Eli Manning and his ascension into elite status.

"He's playing as well as anyone in the league, including Tom Brady. He's at that level," said Bavaro. "He's obviously capable of playing like that, but the knack on Eli was always his consistency. But now in tight, big games, he's playing great. I think he's a great QB."

'I root for people'

Unlike past years, Bavaro hasn't been to any Patriots practices or games this season. He has seen Belichick a few times through the 1986 team's anniversary get-togethers, though, and got an unexpected congratulatory message from his former assistant coach upon being chosen for the Giants' Ring of Honor.

"He's a great coach and a great friend," Bavaro said of Belichick.

Bavaro claims he's not rooting for one team or another Sunday; he's hoping instead that everyone stays healthy and that it turns out to be a great, close contest.

"I have a vested interest in both teams, same as in 2007 when they played," he said. "So I root for people. I root for the Mara family (owners of the Giants), Coach Coughlin, Mike Pope (the Giants' tight ends coach who coached him), Coach Belichick, Gronk, Hernandez, Brady, Eli, (Giants TE) Jake Ballard ... I want to see them all do well."

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