EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -It's bearing down on them, more ominous than Bill Belichick's defense, more insistent than a Tom Brady spiral. The New York Giants must prepare to fend off the onslaught of Super Bowl ticket requests from relatives, friends and total strangers.
The crush of ticket requests is sure to blitz Big Blue as it prepares for its Feb. 3 showdown in the Arizona desert with the undefeated New England Patriots.
In addition to family and close friends, the players fully expect to be hit up by people they've never met, claiming to be long-lost friends, kindergarten classmates, or third cousins once-removed.
``That's natural, but you've got to be very strict with the tickets,'' said wide receiver Amani Toomer, who went through it during the run-up to the 2001 Super Bowl, in which the Giants lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
``Sometimes it's better for people to just watch it on TV,'' he said with a smile. ``That's what I'm going to tell them.''
Joking aside, Super Bowl tickets are big business. Eight skybox tickets for this year's game were being offered Tuesday for sale on eBay for $99,000, and a group of four third-row tickets on the 50-yard line behind the Patriots bench were going for $36,000. Similarly inflated prices were being sought on Stub Hub, the ticket resale Web site.
The typical face value of the tickets is about $700.
The only way for the general public to buy tickets at face value is through a random drawing held by the league months in advance of the game; ticket requests for this year's game had to be submitted by June 1, 2007.
Each Giants player will receive two free tickets and can purchase up to 13 more for the face value of $700 apiece, team spokesman Peter John-Baptiste said.
The temptation to sell them for profit can be great, even though the NFL forbids it. It cost former Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice $100,000 in fines after he was caught scalping some of his personal allotment of 12 tickets for the 2005 Super Bowl. He also admitted reselling his Super Bowl tickets as a Vikings assistant from 1996-2001.
Giants punter Jeff Feagles declared simply, ``I'm not in the ticket business. I just tell them I don't have any, you know? Try Stub Hub.''
Cornerback R.W. McQuarters was also bracing for a barrage of ticket requests.
``I gotta find out how many I can buy first,'' he said. ``There's only so many you can get. I can't give them what I can't get.''
He has a backup plan for those who persist.
``Go to the game,'' he advised. ``If they can't be at the game, at least be in Arizona with all of the festivities, and just enjoy the atmosphere.''

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