PHOENIX - Tom Brady scoffed. Plaxico Burress wondered what all the attention was about. Brady was puzzled by Burress' prediction that the New York Giants would beat the New England Patriots 23-17 in Sunday's Super Bowl. The fact Burress picked the Giants hardly surprised the league's MVP. The score certainly did.
"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady said Wednesday morning before chuckling. "OK. Is Plax playing defense?
"I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for more points."
Considering the Patriots set an NFL record by scoring 589 points, Brady's 50 touchdown passes were the most ever for one season, and Randy Moss broke Jerry Rice's mark with 23 TD catches, was Burress might have been a bit chintzy.
"I know they have confidence. They should have confidence," Brady said. "They are the NFC champions.
"I learned a lesson early in my career: No matter what you say during the week - and God knows we say a lot this week - we're going to be focused on going out and winning this game. We're confident, but I don't think we share our thoughts with everybody."
Burress did. And when he showed up 33 minutes late for the Giants' media session Wednesday morning, there was speculation the wide receiver was trying to avoid the spotlight.
Turns out Burress was spending time with his 1-year-old son and family at breakfast, claiming he was unaware so many people wanted to interrogate him about his prediction.
Nor was he aware, he said, that a hefty fine comes with missing a Super Bowl week media session.
"I don't understand what the fuss is about," Burress said, surrounded by at least as many TV cameras, microphones and notepads as Brady was two hours earlier. "Nobody wants to lose.
"All this is entertainment, It's sports and sports are entertainment. So 23-17 is the prediction I made, but the game still has to be played."
Told about Brady's reaction to that score, Burress said he wasn't dissing anyone.
"I'm not taking anything away from what those guys accomplished," he said. "They set all the records you could possibly imagine. They have a great quarterback, the MVP, who threw for a record (50) touchdowns. Randy set a TD record for catches. They had two receivers with over 100 catches.
"The numbers don't lie about what they have done."
Nor do the numbers 23-17 lie about what Burress thinks.
"Hey, look how much fun everybody is having with it," he said. "It makes national, international headlines. But the game still has to be played."