And the former safety didn't backpedal from the line of questioning.
"No, no," he insisted. "That's real."
In five trips to the Super Bowl, the New York Giants have lost only once. Garnes, a Bronx native, was the starting strong safety for that team, which fell 34-7 to the Baltimore Ravens in January 2001.
So Garnes, Denver's assistant secondary coach, imparts a clear message to the Broncos as they prepare for Super Bowl XLVIII against the Seattle Seahawks: You don't want to know what it feels like to lose this game.
"I tell my players, we're not interested in having fun for two weeks between the AFC Championship Game and the Super Bowl," Garnes said at Super Bowl media day. "We want to have a great time for several months [afterward]."
That approach has remained constant for Super Bowl teams through the years. Other aspects of the experience have changed, including media day.
"It's amazing. You've got fans here," he said as he surveyed the scene. "We didn't have fans in Tampa Bay's stadium [13 years ago].
"And now we're playing a cold-weather game, which at that time was unheard of."
Ah, yes, the cold-weather Super Bowl in East Rutherford, N.J. Cold, hot, whatever -- Garnes, 39, is just happy to be home.
"Selfishly, I wanted to be here when they said the Super Bowl was in New York," said Garnes, who attended DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx and played for both the Giants and New York Jets during his seven-year playing career.
"Selfishly, I wanted to be here, and I will admit that, because this is a place I love. All my players and coaches, they know much I love where I’m from."
Garnes -- who was quick to clarify that the Super Bowl is in the "Greater New York area; there's no disrespect to Jersey" -- looks forward to making the short trip to the Bronx from the Broncos' hotel in New Jersey.
"Right now we’re busy," he said, "but as the week winds down, I'll have time to go over there and get me some of that good ol' Bronx pizza and get me some Chinese food."
He'll likely get a warm welcome wherever he goes. "I have a lot of family still in the area," he said. It's the perfect setting for Garnes' return to the NFL's marquee event.
"To come back to your home area and be a part of the Super Bowl," he said, "is a great feeling."