Eli Manning Admits He Doesn’t Like Football All that Much
Eli Manning's body language exudes the unshakeable confidence and leadership you want in your huddle.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service) — After his dismal showing in the first-round playoff game against the Eagles this past Sunday, Eli Manning’s long-suspected admission took few by surprise -- though Giants brass, coaches, teammates and fans wish he’d admitted it sooner. Despite his storied lineage, Eli Manning, the quarterback with the posture and distracted look of an indifferent adolescent, would rather be doing something – almost anything -- else for a living.
As his dazed team mates stumbled into the locker room trying to make sense of their stunning 23-11 loss to division rival Philadelphia Eagles, the quarterback who just one year ago lead the Giants to an improbable and dramatic 17-14 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, was asked “what next?”
“Do we really have to talk football?” whined Eli, slowly taking off his jersey and pads. “I was just out there for three-plus hours trying to put one – just one – ball in the end zone. I could stand here and blame the wind, the cold, that we didn’t have Plaxico, or just admit that last year was a fluke, a statistical aberration, a one-time alignment of Jupiter, Venus and Mars. But the reality comes down to this: I just wasn’t into it. I didn’t wake up this morning and decide I wasn’t into it; it’s just a feeling that sometimes unfolds over the course of a game. Or two. Or four out of the last five.”
Coming into yesterday’s game, the Giants lost three out of their last four regular season games. “Problem is,” Manning continued, “if I fight it, it just gets worse.”
During the past two weeks, there were growing whispers among Giants players that Eli’s passion for the game – never great to begin with – had gone the way of Jimmy Hoffa. In other words, it had gone missing, maybe permanently.
When asked when Manning began losing interest in football, his agent Tom Condon said, “Look, Eli doesn’t mind being an NFL starting quarterback. The hours aren’t bad, the pay’s great, lots of perks and privileges. But after a while you can’t blame the kid for thinking what it’d be like being a junior executive with a top insurance company or the head of marketing for an international industrial design firm…working from a corner office, participating in staff meetings or going out on the road to meet clients – like most of his friends and peers. He feels it’s something he can step right into, as opposed to quarterbacking, which still, after 5 years, he’s not 100% comfortable with.” Condon was quick to add that Manning is not actually at the point of exploring other career options; he’s signed through 2009 and plans on honoring the contract.
“I’m sorry Eli feels that way,” said his father, fabled quarterback Archie Manning. “I always thought his dispassionate approach to the game of football enabled him to stay calm in tense situations. But sometimes what appears to be calm is not the absence of nerves, but the absence of confidence, or resolve or, let’s face it, interest. It’s the head coach’s job to know the difference.” Manning was quick to absolve Tom Coughlin of responsibility for not knowing the difference. “Eli’s mother and I were never ones to force football on any of our three sons. If Eli wants to do something else with his life, he has our full support. But if he thinks he can walk away from 50,000 booing fans just like that, he’s in for quite a shock – especially when he realizes getting screamed at by an asshole of a boss for blowing a sale is far worse. I mean, 50,000 human beings calling you every name in the book sucks, particularly if a handful follow you home and leave human feces in your mail box -- but not one of them can fire you.”
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