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Wilfork: 'This is what you play for'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few choice quotes from Vince Wilfork’s Wednesday afternoon press conference at Gillette Stadium:

On the Super Bowl: “This is what you play for. You have 32 players who play for this one game. To get here, that’s just the first step. Being able to go out and perform at your best, that’s the important step. I’m very happy and very excited. I’m excited about the players in this locker room. They work hard. Even though there were a bunch of ups and downs all season, this team just found a way. They didn’t let anyone tell them what they can and cannot do. They fought hard and we’re gonna have to fight hard for one more.”

On the Giants’ offense: “It seems like every year they peak at the right time ... It’s a solid offense. They have good backs, good receivers, a good tight end. The offensive line’s been banged up a little bit but I’ll tell you what -- it doesn’t matter who they put in. They all know what they’re doing. They play tough, play physical. I mean, this is probably one of the best offenses we’ve seen.”

On Eli Manning: “I think Eli’s probably playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the game. [There have always been] a lot of questions about Peyton [Manning], but now his little brother Eli has stepped his game up, big time. And he can always be compared to some of the greats in the game now, because of his production. He took that team over. I’m not saying he’s the only one, but his play alone led them in the right direction.”

On the Giants’ 24-20 victory over the Patriots in Week 9: “The opportunity was there. But it is what it is. I mean, it was a tough football game. It was a game that went down to the last minute, so you can always go back and look at what you could have done differently. But I’ll tell you what -- [it was] 0-0 at the half. You had two sides basically not giving one another anything. Everything you got you had to earn.”

On the Patriots’ defensive unit’s response to year-long criticism: “It let me know these guys listen -- to the coaches, to the guys, to the veterans who have been around the game for a while. They get it. They knew how important it was for us to get better as a team and what we had to do to get better as a team. We made those changes. We made that progress. We moved forward. It’s a special bunch. At the end of the day, this is gonna be a special team.”

On the fans: “This is a tough crowd. They really want to win. And trust me, they let us know when we suck ... [But] I wouldn’t trade them for nothing.”