INDIANAPOLIS–Brother Rice High School graduate David Diehl has been in this situation before—on the grandest sporting stage with the New York Giants, playing against their northern rivals, the New England Patriots.
But make no mistake about it, for Diehl and his teammates this is a new game, in a new city and the past means nothing in Super Bowl XLVI.
“It pays no dividends in what happens this weekend in Super Bowl XLVI,” he said this week. “This isn’t Super Bowl XLII. I think you are looking at two completely different football teams that are going out there and competing, so we are approaching this one as hard as we can and with the intensity that we are going to do whatever we have to do this week to make sure we go into this game and play our best football, because we are playing a good team.”
Diehl, who was born in Chicago, attended St. Linus Catholic School in Oak Lawn and later played college football at the University of Illinois, is an offensive guard for the Giants, protecting Eli Manning on every play. He knows that if he and his linemen brethren keep Manning standing, off the turf and in good shape, their leader will deliver throughout the game.
“For us, it’s no surprise our offense goes how Eli directs it,” Diehl said. “His understanding and grasp of our offense, his knowledge of things, the way that he’s able to recognize blitzes or coverages or different things. When he is watching films, he noticed things that 'D' line is doing. Not many quarterbacks pay attention.
“You look back and when he said he was an elite quarterback people laughed, and I think it was great because it showed the confidence he had in himself and all the guys that are around him and all the guys that see what he does behind the scenes. We know he is an elite quarterback.”
Diehl is pleased with playing this Super Bowl in the Midwest, not far from his hometown and his old stomping grounds in Champaign, either.
“It means my family can all come to the game; they can come support me like they have since I was a little kid running around Chicago playing sports,” he said. “Those were the people that loved me and supported me long before I was an NFL football player, or a left tackle in the Super Bowl.”
Asked what he needs to do as an individual to achieve success with his team against New England, he said everything possible, “whether its spending extra time on film or extra time on the field.”
“We all understand this is an unbelievable opportunity,” he said. “Here I am in my ninth year playing in my second Super Bowl. You talk about Hall of Famers who have played 14 to 15 years and have never sniffed this. I know I’m doing everything possible so that when I look back to this I have zero regrets and know that I prepared and did everything possible to play my best football come Sunday.”
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