But after a few games, all the pontificators and sports gurus wanted him on the fastest flight out of town. Game after game, Mr. Manning took to the podium in post game and stood tall; he took the blame, but remained encouraged.
Maybe deep down inside he believed that a better day was ahead, so he continued to work through the minor details that were preventing him from that much sought-after win.
Maybe he understood the value of patience and hard work. Maybe it was his time.
Last Sunday, I sat patiently through the NFC Championship game with my friends, all of whom were cheering for Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers. I watched Eli Manning rally the troops and remained calm. I watched him execute under pressure in the worst weather you could imagine. Green Bay Packers were the favorites after all, and who bets against Brett Favre in a situation like this?
But Eli Manning had a greater calling on Sunday, he stood tall in the pocket, he withstood fear while on the sidelines and he even comforted the kicker who came up short on two critical field goals.
On Sunday afternoon, Eli Manning matured before our very eyes. He led the Giants to a win, a crucial win against all odds.
I waited for the press conference, just because I wanted to see if Eli would claim the win all by himself. Instead, he spread the love around to his teammates.
Here is a lesson we can all learn: Patience is virtue, which is developed over time with lots of hard work. For Eli Manning, his investment in patience matured last Sunday. I don’t know if Eli and the Giants will win the Super Bowl, but he sure does have my support.