Seven years of Eli Manning’s career has come and gone.
The unassuming star quarterback for the New York football Giants has quietly went on with his business, keeping his head in the playbook and rarely blurting out anything worthy of NY’s glossy gossip pages.
His private life is just that—private. And the only time he’ll come out to the camera is when he’s teamed up with his brother, Peyton, in their surprisingly comedic commercials—obviously comfortable in the presence of his most trusted ally.
People would giggle every time he’s interviewed on camera. His words don’t flow, and his quiet whisper isn’t loud enough to attract the attention of those patiently waiting for him to slip up.
But when he finally did—New Yorkers grabbed onto that one line, and ran with it, obviously energized and giddy about No. 10’s claim that he is an elite QB in the NFL.
“I consider myself in that class,” said the Super Bowl XLII MVP, when he was asked in an interview with Michael Kay if he considers himself in the same class as future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.
One line. Grabbed by writers across New York—and the country—and radio show hosts’ patiently waiting for the football season to begin.
After his words traveled through radio land and into the digital media world, the race was on.
But, honestly, what was he supposed to say?
“Well…umm…am I in the class of Brady? Well, let’s see, there’s him, my brother, Rivers in San Diego, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Roethlisberger is also great. Am I missing anyone else Michael?”
Eli wasn’t going to go through a Top 10 list like everyone else in the sports world did after his comments were made.
He just came out and finally stood up for himself after years of criticism from fans, media and some teammates. Eli finally showed he does have little bit of an edge and some pride. Giants fans should have been ecstatic after seven years of just listening to Manning talk about routes, interceptions and Double Stuf Oreos.
After years of complaining about the Mississippi native’s lack of enthusiasm when he talks to the media, how boring would it have sounded if he talked like the same old Eli? If he had said something bland and Jeterian, something like, “Yeah…I don’t really want to get into that Michael. I’m just going to play my game, and do whatever I have to do to help this team win. You know, stats don’t matter, I just want to win.”
Of course, nobody is suggesting he’s as good as Brady—not even Eli. Brady and Peyton are in another world when it comes other QBs in the league. But for Giants fans, you can do much worse than Eli.
The man threw for just over 4,000 yards last year, and 31 touchdowns to a young receiver core that lost its best wide receiver, Steve Smith, nine games into the season.
Obviously his 25 interceptions were way too much, and deflected passes aren’t all to blame for his turnovers, because he does force the issue at times. And most Giants fans get frustrated when he throws for 300 yards and 4 TD’s one week, and 175 with 2 INT’s the next.
Back in the old days, a Super Bowl win meant players had fans at the palm of their hands for the rest of their career. Now, many Giants fans have forgotten about the guy who brushed off the Patriots defense in the Super Bowl, and completed one of the greatest plays in NFL history.
While everyone else was still in shock after David Tyree’s catch, Eli calmly led the team down the field and hit Steve Smith near the sideline, before floating up the winning TD into the hands of Plaxico Burress.
The Giants beat the 18-0 Patriots, after they were written off seconds after Lawrence Tynes hit the field goal to send Big Blue to the Super Bowl.
And who did Eli beat that year? Tom Brady.
Good for him for showing some confidence for once. We all know he needs to cut down on the turnovers and be more consistent. But if he wants to defend himself and show pride in his own game, then let him.
Like his coach Tom Coughlin said, “What would you expect him to say?”