Barden soaks in Super week

Playing professional football in the Big Apple, Ramses Barden can claim he's already become accustomed to being surrounded by a media circus and watched under a microscope by legions of die-hard fans.

But having spent the past few days in the eye of the international media storm that is Super Bowl week, Barden may feel the normal intensity of being a New York Giant pales in comparison when he returns home.

"I can't imagine another event that would bring this kind of energy and excitement to Indy," said Barden, a 2004 Flintridge Prep graduate and now a third-year wide receiver for the Giants, who will take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI today at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. "They've done a great job of handling it and they've really had a lot of things prepared for the fans and the entire atmosphere."

Barden said the festive atmosphere of the weeklong NFL showcase, culminating in the biggest American sporting event of the year, is impressive, but ultimately doesn't distract the players from the task at hand.

"It's business as usual for us," Barden said. "At home, we have about nine- to 10-hour days depending on what kind of actual time guys are putting in, but this week isn't much different. We've had a little bit more of a media responsibility, but we still have meetings and we still have practice. We're definitely not out here for the party and the NFL experience. We're here to win a game."

As focused as Barden may be, it's doubtful he will get to have any direct bearing on the outcome. He's been inactive for the team's last four games, including three playoff wins over the Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers.

"As of this point, I don't foresee any changes from the previous weeks," Barden said.

After missing the first eight weeks of the season while on the physically unable to perform list rehabbing an ankle injury suffered the previous season, Barden made his season debut with two catches for 24 yards Nov. 6 in a 24-20 win over the Patriots. He was active for the next seven games, totaling a career-best nine catches for 94 yards. His best effort was a three-catch, 38-yard showing against the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 28, but he regressed from there and was inactive for the team's winner-take-all battle with the Dallas Cowboys for the NFC East title onNew Year's Day after recording just two catches for a total of 10 yards over his previous two games. He hasn't played a snap since.

"You find other ways to get excited," Barden said of his mindset during the current lack of playing time. "I'm still proud of my team, I'm still proud of the effort put forth. This has been a long season and guys have stuck together, we essentially become a family in a lot of ways and you get excited to see your teammates succeed. You kind of put away your personal issues and what your goals are."

Barden was drafted 85th overall by New York Giants in the 2009 NFL Draft after starring at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In 2003, Barden's Flintridge Prep team won the area's first CIF 11-man football title since 1979 and he earned All-CIF honors with 905 yards and 14 touchdowns. Over his brief professional career, he has caught 15 passes for 174 yards and no touchdowns.

Barden said he is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of the Super Bowl just three years into his career.

"It's nice. Guys go their whole careers, some of them, without ever winning a playoff game," Barden said. "That's what the goal is, that's the point of the game, it's to win, it's to achieve the ultimate prize and it's great to be a part of a team who have found an identity that has led to that."

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