GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The legendary quarterback in the New York locker room was surrounded by reporters after the NFC Championship Game, which on most days would be normal enough. But this wasn't normal. This wasn't right. This was, in fact, very wrong.
This was not your moment, Archie Manning.
|There's nothing wrong with Archie being happy, but he shouldn't make himself the story. (AP)|
Archie Manning seems like he was and is a good father. Look at his kids. The kids don't lie about a parent, and Archie's boys appear to be top-notch. Peyton Manning, even with his superstar stats, comes off as a swell guy. Eli Manning, even with the New York media torching him, seems to be a more than decent fellow himself. As a father, Archie did well.
But he's done.
So go away.
Archie didn't go away Sunday. He went front and center. On the biggest day of his son's athletic career, the day Eli Manning led the Giants into Lambeau Field and did what no team in NFL history had ever done -- beat Green Bay at home in a title game -- Archie Manning stole the spotlight. If there was another father in the Giants' locker room, I didn't see him. Then again, how could I? Archie was blinding.
He had accomplices, of course. Only the most brilliant thief does it alone, and Archie Manning, for all his football ability, has never been accused of brilliance. To dominate the room, the winning locker room immediately after the NFC Championship Game, Archie needed help. And he got it from the media, who saw him standing there and couldn't help but seek his opinion.
Most people in the media understand that Archie Manning doesn't belong in this story, certainly not in the story that chronicled how Eli and the Giants rocketed to the Super Bowl, but like flies to feces they couldn't help themselves.
Look, it's a famous guy ... let's talk to him!
This is where you're going to tell me it's not Archie Manning's fault, that in my own article I'm giving him an out: If the media would leave him alone, Archie wouldn't steal the spotlight.
This is where you're wrong. You couldn't be more wrong. Archie Manning isn't an unwitting victim of the media horde. He knows who he is, and he knows what the media does. Archie knows that if he shows up, the media will follow. Not only is he an NFL legend, not only is he future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning's father, but he's the father of the New York Giants' starting quarterback. That, my friends, makes him a media magnet. And Archie knows it.
But Archie doesn't care. Which is why he was standing in the Giants' locker room after New York's 23-20 victory. And not just standing in the locker room, but standing in the most prominent spot.