Super Bowl or bust: Hyno downplays Pro Bowl talk, focuses on repeat
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - How do you follow up a rookie season in which your team has won the Super Bowl?
If you're New York Giants' fullback Henry Hynoski, with another Super Bowl.
Following a 52-27 rout of the New Orleans Saints, Sunday, The News-Item caught up with Hynoski in the bowels of MetLife Stadium to get an update on his second year in the NFL.
And while Hynoski was pleased to see a local face, we weren't the only media asking for a piece of his time. A swarm of reporters swarmed around one of the Giants' newest backfield mainstays.
His tough play has endeared him to fans and teammates, and his easy nature, which hasn't changed since his days at Southern Columbia, has made him a favorite of reporters as well.
Hynoski ranks up there with outgoing defensive end Justin Tuck and Sunday's star of the game, David Wilson, as media targets, and his locker location by the door makes him a can't miss.
The attention is well deserved. With nine catches for 41 yards and four carries for 17 yards, Hynoski has shown he is plenty capable of playing with the ball in his hands.
Hynoski is currently tied for eighth in the league for most catches among fullbacks, but of those players ahead of him, no team ranks ahead of the Giants in total team rushing yards.
All of that means, that Hynoski has factored in favorably into the Giants' overall offensive plans.
But fullbacks are rarely known for stats alone. Their true value comes in blocking and a couple early-season standout blocks by Hynoski (especially against the San Francisco 49ers' Patrick Willis), and the national media took notice.
Hynoski appeared on several early season All-Pro lists and is doing well in Pro Bowl voting for the NFC, something that hasn't gone unnoticed by him.
The Giants have noticed Hynoski's blocking as well. He received game balls for his blocking against Cleveland and San Francisco.
"It's pretty neat, but at the end of the day, it's very flattering but we have to get back to the Super Bowl," Hynoski said. "If we get back to the Super Bowl, we don't have to worry about that (the Pro Bowl). That's my focus, but it's nice being mentioned as one of the best in the league at my position. Whether it happens or not, my goal is to help the team win games and get back to the Super Bowl."
To get back to that point, the Giants are set up well. New York (8-5) leads the NFC East by one game over Dallas (7-6) and Washington (7-6).
If the playoffs started today, the Giants would host Seattle in the first week, and just getting into the playoffs is the first step.
"Obviously, we're first in the division and it's a great position to be at this point in the year," Hynoski said. "We're excited. If you would have said with only three games left in the season, we're first in the division we'd take that any day. We control our own destiny and we're excited to have that opportunity."
As has been mentioned before, Hynoski's off-field role has increased as well.
With starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw's status at on-again, off-again, and top backup Andre Brown on injured reserve, Hynoski has taken it upon himself to make sure he's not only ready, but the Giants' other running backs are as well.
Despite the success last year as a rookie, Hynoski knows what it's like to be pressed into action and learn on the fly.
"I was forced to come in and pretty much start from day one when I got here," Hynoski said. "I had to learn the offense really quickly and I adapted. Now it's my job to teach the new guys and the young guys. Our running backs coaches are doing great with them, but they have to be in meetings right after practice. I've been staying to get them ready, especially since Andre (Brown) went down, and we need them in those areas."
The tutoring sessions seemed to have paid off. Wilson broke a team record with 327 all-purpose yards, and Hynoski was on the field with him for most of them.
After the game, Wilson was obviously appreciative of the extra effort by Hynoski on and off the field.
"One thing about Henry is that he always puts team first," Wilson said. "When Andre went down, he stepped in with Ahmad and got with me to put in the extra time so I understood what was going on and staying on top of me to make sure I knew my assignments and was ready."
With Hynoski helping the team in every conceivable way, Wilson and his fellow rookies may get to experience what their fullback did as a rookie - a trip to the Super Bowl.