When I saw Eli Manning as Super Bowl champion, all I could do was laugh.
How is it that someone can throw three interceptions per game during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, and then all of a sudden during the '07 playoffs start magically playing better?
He matched Rex "My play sure is" Grossman's interception to touchdown ratio of last year with 20 touchdowns and 23 interceptions.
But when Eli hit playoff time, he was outstanding, throwing six touchdowns and only one interception. (The interecption should have been a completion, but it went in and out of Steve Smith's hands)
I dont know about what other people think, but during the past two regular seasons, I saw a frustrated Eli lurking in his brother's shadow.
I don't think that he had any love or interest in the game of football. It seems that he would blow off practice by not giving 100 percent. He's the kind of guy that would tolerate film sessions, not love them, as some great quarterbacks have.
Basically, he didn't even try.
So what did he do when the Giants defense propelled them to the playoffs?
He started to actually play up to his full potential.
He realized that he had a team that could win some important games. Once he took his team seriously, he was able to go out and play well.
Just look at the difference in stats.
You hear of people playing poorly in the playoffs and blowing plays (Tony Romo anybody), but you rarely hear of people that suddenly have the light in their head turn on and start playing, well, amazingly.
It appears to me that Eli said, "Wow, maybe we could win a playoff game if I actually try."
So he tried.
Now, maybe it's just because I love the game of football too much, but I think that a true champion should be a guy who loves to practice, he should be the first guy to enter the practice facility and the last guy out of it.
Eli seems to me to be more of a slacker than a champion. He has no excuse for why he did as poorly as he did in the regular season. The Giants made it to the playoffs thanks to outstanding defense and a running back who could pass for a defensive lineman.
That is what I am going to remember when I think back to Super Bowl XLII, not the suddenly stellar play of the other Manning.
Because Eli Manning, in my eyes, is not a true champion.