Eli Manning went about his business of winning

Ed Daniels    When Eli Manning took over the starting role at Newman in his sophomore season, we had the music ready.
    Friday Night Football director Scott Bell cued up the hit song “Eli’s Coming,” from the band Three Dog Night, mixed in some tight shots, and had the video montage ready for the opening of our show.
    Eli Manning then proceeded to throw for 7,421 yards in his high school career.
    It didn’t seem like that many. Eli Manning just went about his business. His father was one of the greatest players in the history of the Southeastern Conference. His brother is a four-time NFL Most Valuable Player.
    He was truly unaffected by it all.
    The recruitment of his big brother Peyton was a national story. Eli’s much less so.
    When he signed with Ole Miss, the school offered to un-retire his father’s No. 18. But, Eli instead chose No. 10.
    What many don’t realize about Eli’s football journey is that he redshirted in 1999. Head coach David Cutcliffe would not rush Manning. Romaro Miller, a capable SEC signal caller, was the Rebels’ starting quarterback in 1999 and in 2000.
    In the 2000 Music City Bowl, a loss to West Virginia, Eli gave Ole Miss fans a glimpse of the future. He came off the bench to throw three late touchdown passes.
    One year later, Eli did what his father had done. He led the Rebs to an upset of LSU in Tiger Stadium. Despite the loss at home to Ole Miss, LSU would go on to win the SEC championship.
    Two years later, Ole Miss officially claimed a share of the SEC West title, despite a 17-14 loss in Oxford to LSU.
    In the Ole Miss starting lineup that day, there was one future NFL starter. It was Eli.
    The LSU lineup featured wide receivers Devery Henderson and Michael Clayton, offensive linemen Andrew Whitworth and Stephen Peterman, defensive linemen Marcus Spears, Chad Lavalais and Marquise Hill, and defensive backs Corey Webster, Laron Landry and Travis Daniels.
    Only when Manning arrived in the NFL did he finally have a chance to play on a team that had comparable athletes.
    In his first NFL season, Eli was awful. He completed 48.2 percent of his passes in seven starts.
    In the 2007 season, Manning threw 20 interceptions, then a career high. The Giants looked like dead meat in the playoffs.
    New York, the fifth seed, then beat three division champions on the way to a Super Bowl upset of New England.
    In the so-called “rematch,” the oddsmakers again installed the Giants as a three-point underdog.
    But, New York had the better defense, and they had Tom Brady’s equal at the quarterback position.
    In August, in an unassuming way, Manning said he belonged in an elite class. And, then he proved it.
    Ed Daniels is sports director of ABC26 WGNO. He can be reached at edaniels@clarionherald.org. 

Site Administrator

➤ Lloyd Robichaux | Site Administrator | Art Director | Webmaster | lrobichaux@clarionherald.org | (504) 596-3024 | Fax: (504) 596-3020

You May Also Like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.