This time around, Rocky Bernard would like to be on the team that gets remembered from the Super Bowl. When the defensive tackle played in his first Super Bowl back in 2005, his Seattle team was on the losing end of a 21-10 game to the Steelers.
"It still lingers," Bernard said on Friday about the loss. "No one remembers who lost the game. All the things that we accomplished that year kind of got overshadowed. It was kind of tough."
Bernard will be searching for his first ring when he plays in his second Super Bowl when the Giants take on the Patriots. The veteran is one of four players on the Giants who have been on a losing squad in the Super Bowl, along with safeties Antrel Rolle (Cardinals) and Deon Grant (Panthers), and offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (Colts).
"I know it's hard to get back to the game," Bernard said. "A lot of people can't say they've been to one of them, but this is my second time going. It's a special moment for me. Wasn't successful in my first one, hopefully this one will be different."
In his first Super Bowl, Bernard had two tackles in the loss to the Steelers. He said that he has shared his experience with his fellow members on the defensive line about what to expect and how to prepare for the game. Teammates Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty, Linval Joseph and possibly Jimmy Kennedy will be playing in their first Super Bowl.
"Like physically, keeping in shape because you're not going to play this week so just doing a couple of things conditioning wise," Bernard said of the advice. "As far as mental aspect of the game, it's a long game, it's a long day, and it's a long process, just how to handle the whole day. You can't go in there and as soon as you hit the stadium go crazy because the game is played a couple hours later."
The defensive tackle in his third year with the Giants but was actually released by the team following the end of the lockout. Bernard still had two years left on the four-year, $16 million deal he signed prior to the 2009 surgery and was coming off triceps surgery.
Bernard said it was a situation in which the team did what it had to do for business and wasn't a situation in which the team cut him because they didn't need him anymore. He said he's glad he came back to the Giants and did not go to another team.
Now, he's a little more than a week away from playing in a Super Bowl and being part of a defensive line that is going to try to get after Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.
"It's going to be a good challenge for us," Bernard said of the defensive line going against New England. "Usually when we're productive this team does really well. I think it's going to be another key component to our success."