INDIANAPOLIS -- It's Super Bowl week, where a throwaway line becomes a headline faster than New England Patriots wide receiver Wes Welker gets downfield.
Nothing is small at the Super Bowl. Everything is BIG.
Little things, trivial things, can quickly become, well, supersized.
Yes, it's Super Bowl week, when the slightest thing can be transformed into a huge slight.
As was the case with Tom Brady's off-the-cuff remark to the 25,000 fans who turned out for a pep rally Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium to give their beloved Patriots a rousing sendoff.
"I wish I could take all you guys to Indy with us," Brady told the enthusiastic crowd. "We're going down there ... for one reason. We're going to give it our best and hopefully we have a lot more people at our party next weekend."
If you think those comments were harmless, then you'll never get a job working for a New York City tabloid.
Both the Post and the Daily News reacted -- make that overreacted -- with these screaming headlines:
"Taunting Tommy Invites Some Pain," blared the Post on Monday, adding, "Giants will make Brady pay for already planning victory party."
"Brady's Bash" trumpeted the headline on the front page of the Daily News, above "Pats QB already planning Super Parade."
Inside, spread across two pages, was this headline: "Brady Inviting Giant Trouble."
Along with: "Tom's party plans could be Big motivation for Blue."
Now, while perspective can be as hard to come by during Super Bowl week as a $50 -- or even $500 -- sideline seat, let us try here to have just a little bit, please.
"It was a pep rally," Brady said after arriving in Indianapolis. "People were pretty excited."
But nowhere near as excited, apparently, as the headline writers for the Gotham tabloids.
They may have riled up the New York fans with that artificially created firestorm, but when the Giants arrived Monday afternoon, they didn't sound as if they'd be using the stories as bulletin-board material.
"I read (Brady's) exact words, and the way he phrased it," said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. "When you get to this level in this game, you are confident in yourself, and I wouldn't expect anything else. Now, if someone wants to come out and throw some legitimate trash talk, we will talk about that. You (media) guys just need something to do for the week, I guess."
Remember, however, there is a bit of history to all this.
Four years ago, when the Patriots were hoping to put the perfect ending on an undefeated season in Super Bowl XLII against the Giants, Brady was told that New York wide receiver Plaxico Burress predicted the Giants would win, 21-17.
Brady laughed when told what Burress said, and replied with obvious amusement: "We're only going to score 17 points?"
It was understandable why Brady would find that funny. He had thrown for an NFL-record 50 touchdowns that 2007 season, when the Patriots set a league record for points scored, with 589, an average of nearly 37 per game. In not one of the Pats' 18 victories had they scored less than 20 points.
But the Giants' defense reacted as if Brady had insulted not just them, but their entire families for generations past.
Holding the Pats to just two touchdowns, the Giants pulled off a stunning -- and, to New England, devastating -- 17-14 upset.
Perhaps those were the emotions the New York tabloids were trying to stir up by blowing up Brady's "party" comment to supersized proportions.
But Giants defensive end Justin Tuck didn't want to hear about it.
"Nobody wants to talk about (partying) before the Super Bowl," Tuck said Monday afternoon. "If you leave this place being the winner, then you can have as many parties, you can have as many pep rallies -- you can do whatever you want to do after that. Until that happens, I could care less for all the hoopla."
Oh, but there's plenty more hoopla to come.
It's Super Bowl week, and the party is just getting started.