|Yeah, we don't know why they're asking the questions either, guys. (US Presswire)|
Remember last summer when Eli Manning said he was in the same class as Tom Brady? Oh, the jokes that were told about that line. Turns out, the joke was on everyone else: Eli used 2011 to vault himself into the "no question he's elite please stop debating it" category for quarterbacks.
And with Peyton Manning healthy, people apparently need to ask Eli about someone else. So the people on SportsCenter asked him about LeBron James. (Of course they did. Clearly Vanilla Ice's opinion wasn't enough.) As it turns out, Eli is one of the few sane NBA fans out there.
"You can see that with LeBron and what's going on in the NBA Finals, [when] you lose one game they are all over, they win the second game, everybody loves him," Manning said, per Doug Farrar at Shutdown Corner. "Each week, depending [on] every game, you are either the best or you are terrible. It is so extreme."
OMG, ELI AND I SHARE THE SAME BRAIN. Or, alternately, Eli put up with this exact same garbage for the past five years and understands exactly what sort of problems come with the micro-analyzation of sporting events.
Remember midway through 2011 when Eli wasn't great and the Giants wanted to fire Tom Coughlin? That actually happened, because the G-Men lost a few games in a row. They were the worst.
At least until they got hot to close out the season and won a Super Bowl. Funny how that works, right?
"Usually the talk on TV and in the papers is what you are doing wrong," Manning said. "If you are not making the headlines, I take that as a positive thing. So it has been the way I like it and the way I want it. Just going about my business working hard getting ready for the season."
Here's the deal: if you're a superstar athlete like an Eli or a LeBron, you get zero leeway on the matters of cementing your legacy in today's world. You better win that title, and even if you do win that title, if you don't win it (i.e. put the team on your back), you'll still be questioned.
If Dwyane Wade averaged 50 a game in an obviously hypothetical Heat sweep of the Thunder, LeBron would get diddly for credit. He would have a ring, but people discuss him the same way people discussed Eli after his first ring (and I'm guilty here).
The pressure would obviously be alleviated, but the obsession with ringless athletes is something that will never stop, especially if they play for high-profile teams.
And if you're Eli, at this point you just assume that you've done enough to silence your critics and that every single question you'll be asked is about LeBron or Tim Tebow. On the other hand, maybe he should just stop appearing on ESPN so often.
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