EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., OCT. 24 -- Nothing seems to bother these guys. Really. The New York Giants' attitude is, well, cool, man, just cool. Not laid-back, not cocky, but a sort of a Denzel Washington cool that boldly states, "I am going to beat you, and it's up to you to stop me."
In the six games so far no one has been able to halt the Giants' romp through the NFC East or, for that matter, the entire league. Some, like the Phoenix Cardinals and Washington Redskins, the team New York plays for the second time in three weeks on Sunday, have come close. But no one has done it. And there is talk, none of it of course coming from the Giants locker room, that it is possible no one will this season.
This is a team that does all the right things, and with the possible exception of the San Francisco 49ers, may be the most confident in the league.
But they are not talking Super Bowl. Yet. But the Giants feel they are capable of overcoming many situations, such as they did last week in beating Phoenix after trailing by nine points with five minutes to play. This is mostly a team of veterans who've seen it all, including seasons that start full of promise then disintegrate into dust.
"Phoenix did pretty much go along with how the script has gone so far, didn't they?" cornerback Everson Walls said with a smile. "It's been pretty amazing how things have gone for us, but in the back of our minds we know that our time could come.
"For us it's knowing how good you are, or how good you can be, and at the same time you just don't want that time to come. You never know. We could be 20-0, we could do everything that's ever asked of us and more. But then again we also know, as realistic individuals, that anything can happen."
Said inside linebacker Steve DeOssie: "There is a certain sense that things are going our way right now. We don't feel like we're invincible, but we feel like we've got enough to win a lot of games. We have a lot of confidence. Whether it's well-placed or not, that's not up to anyone else to decide except us."
"I don't have themes for games," Giants Coach Bill Parcells explained. "Tell them what you have to do to win. Simple. It's not comparative literature here."
Can anything bother the Giants? Parcells held court yesterday in front of at least 68 media members, his face surrounded by microphones and television cameras. All-Pro linebacker Lawrence Taylor talked to a throng of people in the locker room, joking and jabbing. Other players sat in the television room watching soap operas. This must be one of the most relaxed 6-0 teams ever.
But there was one exception yesterday, and he sat virtually alone at his locker in the corner of the room. Backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler thinks he should start this week after replacing injured Phil Simms and rallying the team.
"I'm not happy with the situation," he said. "But there's not much I can do about it." He said this to two reporters. It seems no one is interested in hearing grumblings on the Good Ship Lollipop.
Simms, who was sandwiched by two Phoenix players in the first quarter and threw only two passes before yielding to Hostetler, will play this week on a sore left ankle. As confident as the Giants are, they will be that much more when one of their leaders returns.
The 49ers' Joe Montana leads the NFC in completion percentage (65.9), yards gained (1,949) and touchdowns (15). He has also thrown seven interceptions. Simms has only one interception and passed for 1,020 yards, eight touchdowns, and has connected on 62 percent of his passes. Simms practiced yesterday and looked strong, throwing the ball with little, if any, pain.
"The one thing I've liked about him over the years is that when he has a bad game and people get on him," Taylor said, "he comes back the next game and lights up the scoreboard. He hates criticism, and I like those kind of players. He's also a big reason we're 6-0."
The Phoenix game typifies how the Giants' find-a-way-to-win season has progressed. They trailed the Cardinals by nine points with 5:38 left in the game. Behind Hostetler, they drove 76 yards in 2 minutes 17 seconds, finishing the drive with a 38-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Baker.
New York's defense -- which has allowed 287 yards rushing over the last two games but is still the top-ranked defense in the NFL -- stopped the Cardinals, giving the Giants possession at their 28-yard line with 58 seconds left and no timeouts. Still, the Giants moved within field goal range and Matt Bahr kicked a 40-yarder.
It was a typical Giants drive and game. Typical in that they overcame difficult circumstances -- and won.
"The Phoenix game. . . . it was scary," said running back Ottis Anderson. "But that's where the confidence factor comes in. Knowing and believing you can win are two different things. I think we knew we could win and that's what made the difference.
"Phoenix, they felt they could win but they weren't sure. And when they went up the way they did, you could see in their eyes they were thinking, 'Hmmm. . . . maybe we can win.' But with us we knew we could win."
Parcells said he almost pulled a thigh muscle sprinting off the field after the game, pumping his fist through the air in celebration. He probably wanted to stop running, but it wouldn't have been the cool thing to do.