Why Eli?

Lee asked, on the Super Bowl post:

Can I ask, why your love of Eli Manning?  Not sure I caught that bit of info.  The Manning family is such strong supporters of President Bush and all…

Hey, excellent question! And a fine response from Lori:

So’s my family of origin, but I still love ’em! LOL! 😉

But in a little more personal detail…

Eli is an underdog; the quintessential underdog, really. With that unchiseled chin, the always slightly gaping mouth, the vaguely perplexed look, he’s hardly the image of a strong and studly quarterback. He grew up in the shadow of big brothers Cooper and Peyton (not to mention uber-footballer dad Archie) and became kind of a mama’s boy, skipping out on his older brothers’ athletic events to accompany his mother on antiquing trips instead.

Once he started his own professional career, his was still not the first name that came to mind when anyone said "Manning." With Peyton turning the once-woeful Indianapolis Colts into regular playoff contenders (and Super Bowl champs in 2007), Eli was still the quiet, unflashy, easily overlooked little brother. (Probably the only quarterback out there less flashy than Peyton*. Ha.) His own teammates criticized his unassertive leadership style, and the Giants started this season by losing three of four preseason and the first two regular season games. Even deep into the season, they were trounced by the Cowboys (harbingers of all that is evil) and stomped 41-17 by the Vikings. Hardly the stuff of which legends are made.

Then somewhere along the way, Eli just started pulling games out of his hat. The Giants started winning on the road (New Yorkers, why do they do not so well at home? Can you explain?) and ended up with a wild card slot in the playoffs. They were fifth-seeded for an NFC championship, and would be going up against the first team in NFL history to have a chance at a perfect season since the storied ’72 Dolphins. Still, no one really thought they had a chance. My Beloved Sweetie was v.v. sad when the Giants squeaked out a victory over the Packers**, because he thought the Packers were the only team who could beat those troublesome Patriots. (We hate us some Pats at our house.)

So the game was going along. The defensive lines of both teams were in fine freakin’ fettle. Tom Brady kept getting sacked and popping up again like a Weeble in eyeblack. Then the Giants were in a do-or-die drive; the Pats defenders surrounded Eli like a bunch of schoolyard bullies (srsly, Eli totally looks like a kid who would’ve gotten pantsed in the locker room)… and this happened. Eli squeaks out of the middle of the pack like he was covered in butter and flings the ball down the field for an awesomely balletic high-flown catch by David Tyree.

Shrieks of joy ensue throughout the Newman household.

So, in a (very large) nutshell, that’s why I love Eli Manning. Also because I hate Tom Brady. Who is also a Bush supporter, and has the additional character stain of having dumped babymomma Bridget Moynahan for the professionally emaciated Brazilian Giselle Bundchen. (Eli: Unwinds by shopping and sipping Coronas with low-key fiancee/college sweetheart Abby McGrew.)

Still reading? Here are two great articles on Eli the Underappreciated Underdog: one from the NYT and one (super duper good) from this morning’s Oregonian.

And now I solemnly swear that this will be the last football-related post until next season. ‘Cause I don’t even follow the draft or anything like that.

*except maybe for Ben Roethlisberger
** in all honesty, I was sad too… Eli might be my favorite QB, but the Packers are my favorite team

About Molly Newman

Writer, cook and trivia/spelling bee hostess, living it up in North Portland.
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5 Responses to Why Eli?

  1. Amy Sorensen says:

    Honestly…I don’t do football. Not because I’m a snob like you described in your post, but because watching pretty much ANY ball sport makes me crazy with frustration and anxiety. (It’s a long and fairly lame story.) BUT. I am surprised to read that a person would think that because an athlete is a certain way politically you’d not like them. For the sports I do watch, I could care less what my favorite gymnast’s political leanings are. Well, of course, they’re all 12 years old or so, so maybe that’s why it’s never entered my head! LOL.
    Anyway. I love your explanation. Bush supporters or no, I think it’s fairly impressive what that family has accomplished!!!

  2. Mimi says:

    I read that article in the NYT. The family we watched the game with come from good old Mississippi stock, and the idea of having Archie Manning’s son win the Super Bowl was huge.
    No matter who they vote for.

  3. pc smart says:

    i knew i loved you for a reason…as a lifelong giants fan (and not a fair weather one), i thank you for your support of our little boy….

  4. pc smart says:

    ….but i have to admit to being a bush supporter (ducking) retired military family – you know?

  5. reg says:

    Eli and the Mannings are SUPPORTERS of PRESIDENT BUSH, now I like Eli even more!!!
    Eli is one sexy conservative white boy!!!

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