I. Part Largest Draft Day Trade in NFL history
II. Part Massive Media Spot Light
III. Part Famous Football Brother
IV. Part Famous Football Father
V. Part Average Play
VI. Part Team of Uncontrollable Egos
I. Make trade for young Star QB with unheard of football pedigree
II. Cut veteran journeyman Kerry Collins
III. Place young Star QB on a team with uncontrollable egos with a dictator as coach in the largest media market in the world
IV. Blame everything that goes wrong over a 4 year period on young Star QB
V. Allow mixture to marinate for four years.
VI. Remove large ego of star Running Back after 3 years
VII. Replace dictator coaches attitude with one of a passionate coach
After four years the recipe should yield one of the largest upsets in sports history, a Super Bowl Championship and a Super Bowl MVP award for the young Star QB
Eli Manning’s rise from underachieving “bust” to super star Super Bowl MVP was a long and winding road filled with numerous highs and lows.
From the moment I heard that the trade had been engineered I rejoiced knowing the Giants finally had a franchise quarterback. After years of living through the Kent Graham’s, Danny Kanell’s, Dave Brown’s and Kerry Collins’ of the world, I knew the Giants had finally taken a step in the right direction. Some saw this trade as a waste, as GM Ernie Accorsi trying to redeem himself for not being able to secure John Elway to play for the Baltimore Colts many years ago. I saw it as a move that would change the course of the Giants franchise for the next 15 years. Sure it would have been easier if Eli had led the team to four straight Super Bowls while collecting every trophy and award there is along the way, but sometimes taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.
Eli has had the penchant for showing moments of brilliance as well as moments of shear horror.
On numerous occasions Eli has brought the Giants back from dead in the 4th quarter, leading comebacks solely on his passing abilities. The comeback against the Broncos where he threw the game winner to Toomer with just seconds left; The overtime thrilling win over the Eagles in which he lobbed a miraculous deep ball to Plaxico Burress; The rain soaked storming comeback against the Bears this past season all showed that Eli has was it takes to be a leader, a winner and a big time quarterback.
Then there are the games where Eli looks like he is still in his rookie training camp.
The 3 and 4 interception games against the Vikings the past 2 seasons. The pick 6’s, the under throws and the overthrows, sometimes looking lost in the pocket. For everything amazing Eli did, he would seemingly come back the next week and do something equally disastrous. Critics would call for his job on a week by week basis (as if Anthony Wright or Jared Lorenzen (aka The Hefty Lefty, The Pillsbury Throwboy, The Round Mound of Touchdown, BBQ- Big Beautiful Quarterback, The Battle Ship Lorenzen, The Abominable Throw Man, The Lord of the Ring-Dings)).
With all of his inconsistencies, there was always one thing Eli Manning consistently garnered, which was the respect of the belief of his coaches and teammates.
Now skip ahead to 3rd and 5 with a minute left to play, down 4 points needing a touchdown to win the Super Bowl. Eli snaps the ball and quickly becomes enveloped in the collapsing pocket. With hands grasping and grabbing, defenders pulling and pressuring, it was almost a sure fire sack and curtains on the Giants comeback attempt. Yet in a moment, one perfect moment, Eli shed the pursuing defenders, as if he were shedding the pundits and critics that had beaten and battered him for the past four years, sets his feet and throws a prayer to the most unlikely of receivers in David Tyree. The rest is history. In the course of 6 weeks Eli went from guy who may lose his job in the off season, to hero and MVP.
Maybe this isn’t the best recipe for every quarterback or every team, but it worked out for the New York Giants. Now with a new found sense of confidence, a solid team and a secure coach around him, the possibilities are endless for Eli Manning
*** This article is dedicated to the Memory of recently released QB Jared Lorenzen. No longer will he be able to run QB sneaks nor be able to serve as an inspiration for fellow Giants fans. I hope you find solace and peace with another NFL team. So long Pillsbury Throwboy ***