Eli Manning met with the media Tuesday and said he felt good despite getting the snot knocked out of him during Sunday's big win vs San Francisco. His gritty performance had laid to rest much of the debate about whether or not he is elite. He was asked if he had any regrets in staking that claim before the season...
"No. I don’t have any regrets. I thought I gave an honest answer," Eli stated. "I didn’t regret it at the time or think anything of it at the time. Obviously it’s been made into a big deal, but I can’t always control that. I’m worried about getting ready to play this game and go out there and play my best football and get the team to play our best football. That’s my job. My job is to play the game. It’s your job to talk and make up stories."
He addressed the team, mostly aiming his message at the newer guys who have never been this far in the postseason. The Super Bowl XLII MVP was business-like in his approach. No time to slip up now....
"I just told them a little bit about how to prepare for this – handle all of your business with tickets, getting that stuff done, just a few things on the mindset of this week. We have to have great preparation. 'Prepare this week like you’re playing the game this week'," Eli said.
"Once you get to Indianapolis and you have to take a bus ride to practice – your whole schedule gets thrown off. Once you get there try to keep the same routine on some things. Everything that we would do during a normal week, we’re going to get it done this week and then next week have great practices and preparation, continue preparing, but get our workload in this week..."
His message was not only embraced by the newbies, but by veterans as well. S Antrel Rolle, who went to a Super Bowl three years ago as a member of the Arizona Cardinals, in lock step behind the Giants' captain.
"Eli is the leader of this team, without a doubt, and we definitely, I wouldn’t be standing up here right now if it wasn’t for him," Rolle said. "He is an elite quarterback. I don’t think that needs any further discussion. I think he’s definitely proven himself. I think he’s proven himself before this year, to be honest with you."
"You just have to believe within yourself," Rolle continued. "And that’s what he does, he has us, he has teammates behind him, he has a great older brother that he can look up to. If anyone can critique him, it’s him."
Illustration is from Gary Finkler of 7th Inning Sketch.com