Posted on: August 6, 2009 7:48 pm
Edited on: August 7, 2009 2:57 pm

"10" Reasons for $97 Million

                               "Manning Up" for the QB   

For all those opposed, don't worry; your guy will get his.
And his contract will be bigger than Eli's (having Eli to thank for it). 

Let's get one thing straight right now... Eli Manning is by no stretch of the imagination as talented, battle tested or proven as his older brother (even though he'll be paying the dinner checks from now on) or Tom Brady. He lacks the raw tools and athleticism of Drew Brees. Many will argue he's not as gutsy, talented or tough as Ben Roethlisberger, Donovan McNabb or Tony Romo either.

Here's my take on six years and $97 million: He's worth every penny. Why?

1. Because he's managed to avoid flipping over his motorcycle handlebars and crashing head-first into a windshield. He's also avoided getting wrapped up in a rape accusation. Perhaps luck plays a big part in that. I'll take someone who makes their own good luck.

2. Because his face appears in 'Oreo League' Ads, Toyota & Reebok commercials, as well as fundraising campaigns for The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Phoenix House, The Red Cross and his own cause - The Eli Manning Children’s Clinics. And because he doesn't appear on the covers of Star Magazine, People, OK, US and The National Enquirer - or as a weekly stunt on TMZ.com - about how he's dumping 'this' pop-star girlfriend for 'that' actress girlfriend or 'the other' who's-that-girl girlfriend.

3. Because he has yet to openly display contempt for teammates or his coaching staff - regardless of whether he's agreed with them or not. He's never once complained about the lack of having a legitimate "number one" reciever (since the only one he's ever had has either been less than 100% healthy, serving a suspension or in bed recovering from self-inflicted gunshot wounds).

4. Because he has arguably put up with more scrutiny and criticism than any other QB in the NFL today without being able to use age, racial discrimination or injuries as a "crutch" - and as much by his own fan base than that of the rest of the league, despite popular belief. On the contrary; the last name 'Manning' has been nothing more than a mountain this guy has had to climb since the day he was drafted.

And Every one of the other Quarterbacks mentioned above - talented and deserving, one and all - will eventually sign bigger and better contracts than the one Eli just signed. Sans McNabb perhaps; unfortunately for Donovan, father time might have something to say about that.  

And when that comes to pass - for most in the NFL universe - the stars will once again be aligned as they should be. "Shoot - if he's making that much? You just know I gotta be worth THIS much..."

For now, the Giants Organization will simply enjoy the eclipse. And try not to look directly into the balance sheets.

By the way - here's the other 6 reasons he's worth every penny: 

5. January 2nd, 2004 - Giants 28, Dallas 24.
With Big Blue down 24-21 with just 11 seconds left in the game, Rookie QB Eli Manning comes to the line and looks at the Dallas defensive alignment. He pulls up from under center and audibles. In subsequent press conferences, coach Tom Coughlin will admit that a pass play had been called for - which Dallas must have anticipated. Instead, Eli hands off to Tiki Barber, who scampers three yards up the middle for a touchdown.

6. October 23rd, 2005 - Giants 24, Broncos 23.
Manning's first monsterous regular-season comeback victory. For the second week in a row - and the third time in the 13 starts in his career - Manning engineers a victory out of the jaws of defeat on the final drive of the game. With the Giants losing by 13 with 12 minutes left in the game, Eli spearheads - not one - but two touchdown drives, and Big Blue pulls out the improbably victory at the Meadowlands on an Amani Toomer game-winning score with 5 ticks left in the 4th quarter.

7. September 17th, 2006 – Giants 30, Eagles 24.
This was a huge 4th quarter performance for #10. Down 24-7 at the start of the fourth quarter, Manning engineers his biggest rally - and has the best statistical game of his career (31 for 45, 371 yards, three TDs) - to tie the game with a field goal drive in the final seconds. A 31-yard pass to Plaxico Burress late in overtime sealed the victory - with two Eagles defenders bearing down on him and knocking him flat on his back just as he released the ball.

8. December 2nd, 2007 – Giants 21, Bears 16.
With their season slipping away, the Giants trailed 16-7 before scoring twice in the final 6:54. Manning shakes off three awful quarters of football by throwing a 6-yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer
to cap a 75-yard drive and close the gap to 16-14. After a Bears punt, Manning executed a 77-yard drive - including a 24-yard pass to David Tyree and a 15-yarder to Plaxico Burress that put the ball on the 2 - which culminated in a Droughns TD run with 1:33 remaining.

9. January 13th, 2008 – Giants 21, Cowboys 17.
This technically was a fourth-quarter comeback, but not really. No matter, as Manning connected on two TD passes to Amani Toomer, and steered an early 4th quarter scoring drive that proved to be the game winner (trailing 17-14, Brandon Jacobs’ stumbled into the end zone on a 1-yard touchdown run just over 2 minutes into the fourth quarter). Manning’s best moment was the touchdown drive in the final seconds of the first half. All of a sudden, Tony Romo went from being the next great QB of the NFL to a great big question mark; Vacations with girlfriends and sobbing wide receivers aside, Eli Manning played well enough to leave his cleat marks on the backside of the Dallas Organization - which would have been the most any Giants fan could have hoped for coming into the 2007 season. That is, until... 

10. February 3rd, 2008 – Giants 17, Patriots 14.

Down 14-10 with 2:39 to go against the 18-0 New England Patriots - with NFL immortality on the line and all the decks stacked against him - Eli Manning took over on his own 17-yard line… 

 "OK Eli... tell me right now. What did you do with your brother's contract?"

Posted on: October 7, 2008 10:21 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2008 11:50 pm

'Boys will be boys, Giants are Men

Rival Franchises Heading in Different Directions - Mentally.

*UPDATED 10/8/08 @ 10:40pm*

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Wade ( pronunciation: \ˈwād \  - verb): 1. to step in or through a medium (as water) offering more resistance than air 2.  to move or proceed with difficulty or labor.

As in 'Phillips'? Listen, there's been a lot written the past two days about how the Giants are this years' Patriots, and that the Cowboys are a bunch of spoiled divas who think they've earned the right to be cocky without having proven themselves. Whether or not I believe the hype in either direction isn't important. The Giants/Cowboys rivalry is fun, exhasperating, stressful, joyus and every other conceivable emotion you can think of. It's one of the most fierce (if not the most fierce) rivalries in the NFL. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying witnessing the predicted unraveling of Terrell Owens. He's the most gifted receiver in the NFL Physically and in terms of God-given Talent. But he was short-changed in the mental stability department. He has, on his own, put himself in this situation time and time again and it's no one's fault but his own.

Problem is, his head coach is not helping the situation, and in fact may be rubbing off on others in the Dallas locker room. Coughlin and the Giants suspended Plaxico Burress for two-weeks for missing practice (albeit after 40 or 50 fines for being late) and rendered him an afterthought in their win over Seattle. Owens has been running his mouth all week about how being 20% of the offensive focus isn't enough for him. Do you think Wade Phillips had the guts to address this with him - Coach to Player? And Tony Romo apparently feels Owens "just wants to win". I understand defending your teamate (especially after TO's display of Bro-mance following last year's playoff loss to the G-Men) Romo is still young, and is arguably the best QB in the league aside from Brady and perhaps Peyton Manning. I'll be first in line to acknowledge he's still on the rise and will only get better. But his attitude toward the recent developments with #81 and his less-than-Romo performance against the Bengals this past weekend should have the Cowboys faithful scratching their 10-gallon hats.  

*UPDATE 10/7: In addition, it's being reported that cornerback Adam "Pac-Man" Jones got into an altercation with a security guard at the Joule Hotel in Dallas at 1:30 in the morning on Wednesday. This signing was a big gamble by Jerry Jones, who from here on out will be referred to as "Blackjack Jones"; not only to differentiate between he and the other two Jones's on the team, but because his motto appears to be "Hit me - Hit me - hit me again - HIT ME AGAIN!"

As both a Giant fan and official blogger who needs to maintain some level of credibility and fairness, I'll stop here ("here" being three feet over the edge of the cliff, a la Wile E. Coyote). I'll let the post game press conference quotes below speak for themselves. Since the Giants and Cowboys both struggled against the same Cincinnati team, the quotes below are taken from each of those two games. Compare the choice of words, and the sense of urgency behind them.

Following the Giants 26-23 overtime victory over the Bengals three weeks ago, Tom Coughlin made these and similar statements during his postgame press conference:

"It ended up being really the power of the will. It wasn't our best game, by any means, but we hung in there."

"Don't give me that flat stuff. We came out, it was a tough, competitive game, and we found a way to win the game. We didn't execute as well as we have been, but you have to give them a little credit for that, too. They played well. They played hard." 

"The Cincinnati Bengals are a good team. I had a sense that here is a team that was tenth in the league in ranking offensively and hadn't really gotten themselves on track and we saw them get pretty much on track today, but they also were very good on defense today. We had our hands full and we found a way to win."

"I don't care if they're 0-2 or not - they play in a tough division and they're a good team. I think that we're going to play well when the pressure's on and we'll find a way to win the game. We did that today although it was a difficult game"

Following the Cowboys 31-22 victory over the Bengals this past Sunday, Wade Phillips made these and similar statements in his postgame press conference:

"I was real happy for our guys because in close games, and games that come right down to the end, you need playmakers and you need people to come through. I thought we did that."

"We have some things we certainly need to work on. We'll try to address those."

"I think it's a concern anytime you're up 17 and somebody gets back in the game. But they didn't get back enough to win and that's the big thing."

"We would like the offense to be better, certainly right now in this game. Hopefully, next game, we will be on all cylinders. Everything is not going to be perfect every game. We've got to be consistent in some areas and we've got to improve some areas. We're going to work on those things."

"... Everybody's happy. We're all happy we won. It's hard to do in this league and we did it today."

Here are comments from Eli Manning at the press conference following the Giants/Bengals game on 9/21:

"It's just kind of a deal where we have a fight in us that when things are tough we play our best, the best comes out of us. You'd like to play at that level all the time, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. You're not in that pressure situation when everything gets - You know, people get all nervous when it gets tight at the end. Our guys seem to really relax and just do a great job making plays."

Here are comments from Tony Romo at the press conference following the Cowboys/Bengals game this past Sunday:

"I said this last year but I am sorry that I am not sorry that we won. I think that's something we have to fight around here sometimes. If you don't win pretty, it's not a positive. At the end of the year we could of won this game 40-7 or by the 9 or 10 that we did, but at the end of the year it is going to be a W. All we are trying to do is get better each step of the way. You could look pretty and go out there and everything looks magical, but it isn't going to stay that way. It's not going to be like that."


Giants quotes sources: giants.com, bigblueinteractive.com, bengals.com

Cowboys quotes sources: dallascowboys.com, bengals.com

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com