Brady: Plax prediction on Pats' points puzzling

Updated: January 30, 2008, 9:29 PM ET
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- 23-17.

Just 17 points for the potent Patriots.

A certain MVP quarterback thinks that's a Super-sized diss.

Tom Brady scoffed when told Wednesday that New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress guaranteed New York will beat Brady's undefeated New England team in Sunday's Super Bowl.

"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady said before chuckling about it. "OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for scoring more points."

Considering the Patriots set an NFL record by scoring 589 points, Brady's 50 touchdown passes were the most ever for one season, and Randy Moss broke Jerry Rice's mark with 23 TD catches, Burress might have been a bit chintzy.

The last time the Patriots played the Giants, in the season finale, New England rallied from 12 points down in the third quarter to win 38-35. The Patriots have not scored fewer than 20 points in their 18 victories, and the last time they put up only 17 was Dec. 10, 2006 -- a 21-0 loss at Miami in their last regular-season defeat.

Even if the Giants' defense performs at its peak, it's still doubtful New England will score only 17 points.

"I know they have confidence. They should have confidence," Brady said. "They are the NFC champions.

"I learned a lesson early in my career: No matter what you say during the week -- and God knows we say a lot this week -- we're going to be focused on going out and winning this game. We're confident, but I don't think we share our thoughts with everybody."

Burress did. And when he showed up 33 minutes late for the Giants' media session Wednesday morning, there was speculation the wide receiver was trying to avoid the spotlight.

Turns out Burress was spending time with his 1-year-old son and family at breakfast, claiming he was unaware so many people wanted to interrogate him about his prediction.

Nor was he aware, he said, that a hefty fine comes with missing a Super Bowl week media session.

"I don't understand what the fuss is about," Burress said, surrounded by at least as many TV cameras, microphones and notepads as Brady was two hours earlier. "Nobody wants to lose.

"All this is entertainment," added Burress, who was held out of practice Wednesday because of an ankle injury that has plagued him all season. "It's sports, and sports are entertainment. So 23-17 is the prediction I made, but the game still has to be played."

Told about Brady's reaction to that score, Burress said he wasn't disrespecting anyone.

"I'm not taking anything away from what those guys accomplished," he said. "They set all the records you could possibly imagine. They have a great quarterback, the MVP, who threw for a record [50] touchdowns. Randy set a TD record for catches. They had two receivers with over 100 catches.

"The numbers don't lie about what they have done."

Nor do the numbers 23-17 lie about what Burress thinks.

"Hey, look how much fun everybody is having with it," he said. "It makes national, international headlines. But the game still has to be played."

Giants coach Tom Coughlin couldn't have been pleased with Burress, but declined to say very much about him.

"I will speak with Plaxico in a private way, and that's where it will remain," he said.

New England played two games this season that were preceded by an opposing player's prediction. Pittsburgh's Anthony Smith guaranteed a win in Week 13 at Foxborough; the Patriots routed the Steelers 34-13. And after Brady threw an early TD pass over Smith, he verbally confronted the Steelers safety.

Days before the AFC title game, San Diego defensive end Igor Olshansky said the Chargers were unstoppable. New England stopped them, 21-12.

"We don't make predictions. We just let our play do the talking," Brady said matter-of-factly.

"Plaxico is a hell of a player. If he feels that way, I think that's great. I'd hate for him to think he's going to lose this game. It's obvious nobody does."

Burress was entitled to his opinion, Moss said, "but the only thing about a prediction is that you have got to make it happen."

"I think the pressure is more on them now, since they've guaranteed this victory. We've prepared very hard for the last week and a half, and we still have got a couple more days to get out there and tone some things up. But making a prediction that you are going to go out there and make it happen are very tough words to back up."

Not that Burress is backing down. He's done his Joe Namath impersonation off the field, and now he has to come through in similar fashion to what Namath and the New York Jets achieved in 1969: the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.

"Well, 23-17 was the first thing that came to my head," Burress said.

Then Burress looked at the numbered placard at the table where he was holding court.

"No. 23," he said. "How do you like that?"


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press