INDIANAPOLIS - Zak DeOssie saw the green blur of Philadephia Eagle Jason Avant once, for a split second.
He's chosen to never look at it again. Avant nailed him with the block last season, freeing DeSean Jackson to race 65 yards for the punt return touchdown on the final play of the game. That key late season win knocked the Giants out of playoff contention.
Why hasn't he watched it?
"Why should I?" said DeOssie, a North Andover native who starred at Phillips Academy and Brown. "I know all about it. That's why I don't watch it. We had the whole entire 60 minutes to win that game. It's unfortunate it came down to one play."
Just one year later, DeOssie relishes being on the field for a host of highlights.
In the NFC championship game 10 days ago, there was the Kyle Williams muffed punt, then the Kyle Williams overtime fumble, each of which New York recovered.
And of course there was Lawrence Tynes' 31-yard field goal in overtime. DeOssie, a two-time Pro Bowler, had to sweat that one as it wasn't one of his better snaps. Steve Weatherford, though, handled the low and inside snap and the Giants were headed to another Super Bowl.
DeOssie and the Giants, left for dead at least a couple times this season, find themselves in their second Super Bowl in five seasons.
Sunday night, they go for the ultimate, challenging the New England Patriots for NFL supremacy.
The wide-ranging emotions, split by less than a calendar year, are not lost on DeOssie, a Brown grad and one of the NFL's more cerebral players.
"That was awful. Everyone goes home, going into an offseason with no workouts. I don't wish that on anyone. If I could take it back I would. Kudos to Jason Avant for making a great block. If I had seen him coming, maybe I would have moved," said DeOssie, who with his dad Steve form the only father-son tandem in NFL history to win Super Bowl rings with the same franchise.
"We used it as motivation, something to always keep us going. We had a tumultuous up-and-down season, and when our back is against the wall, we perform."
DeOssie and the Giants turned the page. They performed. And when the opportunity presented itself:
"We knew it was time to go kick ourselves into the Super Bowl."
Much has changed between appearances at the biggest game on the planet for DeOssie. And much remains the same.
Like the Giants colossal upset of the 18-0 Patriots on February 3, 2008 in Arizona, he spent much of yesterday's media day arm in arm with his father on the stadium floor, laughing and preening for the assembled throng.
He sang the Brown University fight song, with fellow alum Chris Berman of ESPN, just like he did in Scottsdale. And he showed off the Brown crest tattooed on his left shoulder when called upon.
But this time around, DeOssie, now 27, is soaking it all in.
"I barely even remember media day or the whole week prior to the game last time around," said DeOssie. "I'm kind of slowing these things down now, so I have some memories lost in that whole whirlwind."
Time is ticking away on the season. All the storylines remain strikingly familiar - as media folks stoked memories of DeOssie's days at Brown and as a ball boy with Bill Belichick and the Patriots in training camp a decade ago.
The ultimate game is just four days away.
"I have all the respect in the world for the Patriots," said DeOssie. "And I'm so excited to be here representing the Giants. Two great organizations battling it out. It should be incredible."
DeOssie, holder in perfect synch
There are times in their two-hour daily practices that punter/holder Steve Weatherford doubts Zak DeOssie's academic resume.
"I know he says he graduated from Brown University," said the New York Giants' punter. "But I have asked him more than once if he was sure that it wasn't Brown Mackie College!"
Teammates for just a year, DeOssie and Weatherford have become best of friends.
Part of it is what they share. Each is an athlete trapped in a specialist's body.
DeOssie won the Max Bishop Award as The Eagle-Tribune's top three-sport athlete and went on to be a two-time All-American linebacker at Brown. He still considers himself a linebacker at heart.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Weatherford won 13 varsity letters in four different high school sports. At the University of Illinois, he not only punted but competed in the decathlon, once taking sixth at the prestigious Drake Relays.
"Steve brings a certain energy that is unmatched. He has a passion about his job," said DeOssie. "He loves to work hard, perform well. He's devoted to his fitness."
And together, they've performed flawlessly this year.
"He's one of my best friends, a great athlete, Super Bowl champion, Pro Bowler," said Weatherford. "He's a guy I have really enjoyed playing with. He makes my job simple, and he's the most athletic snapper in the NFL, so I love having him on my team."
By Hector Longo