A Giant Among Men: Eli Manning's Hero's Journey
Right now, I think we are witnessing a legend in the making. With his improved play at the end of the season and in the playoffs which culminated with a dramatic victory over the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, I think Eli the Legend is born. As a Giant fan, I welcome you to read an article written beat writer Paul Schwartz.
When Eli Manning was acquired in a 2004 Draft day trade with the San Diego Chargers, there was much fanfare in Giant Nation. At the time, then GM Ernie Accorsi knew he obtained a franchise quarterback who would lead the Giants to a Super Bowl victory. In the beginning of his Giants career, unfortunately, Eli got off to a rough start. In their season opening game against the Eagles at the Linc, late in the game with Philadelphia having a huge lead, Eli came in the game to replace Kurt Warner.
Eli went back to pass and was clobbered by two Eagle defenders. Fortunately, Eli got up and was unscathed by the vicious sandwich hit. Subsequently, halfway through a lost 2004 season, Eli was named the starter. His fourth start came against the formidable Baltimore Ravens. The Giants were thumped 34-17 and Eli's quarterback rating in this game was a pathetic zero. Clearly, Eli had a bad day. From 2004 up until the Buffalo game in 2007, Eli Manning has been inconsistent. His inconsistency has been his bugaboo.
With a Super Bowl victory under his belt, the Super Bowl MVP is frank about the upcoming 2008 season. He thinks the Giants have to improve in many areas in order to be successful in 08. Most importantly, he includes himself. He is working on improving his leg strength. If he gets stronger in this area, he thinks he will be able to add 10 more yards to his deep throws.
I think he is talking like a leader. He is taking action and focusing on getting better. I think nobility is not about being better than someone but being better than one used to be. Nonetheless, I think we can expect a consistent Eli Manning playing at a high level this season.
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