IN MY OWN WORDS
Role models in today’s complex, angry, and stress-filled world are too few and far between. That’s why I was exhilarated when our eldest grandson took time to so eloquently acknowledge one of his–Eli Manning–quarterback of the NFL’s New York Giants Football Team for the previous 16 years!
While grandson’s words said a lot about how this man affected his life, he failed to recognize the positive impact and guidance of Archibald Manning on brothers’ Cooper, Eli and Peyton’s lives.
And similarly, he didn’t mention his other role model–our first-born son, and his father. Like the Manning Family, weekends were all about God and football. As young boys and throughout their years at home as young men, our son with his sons played and watched football together and developed those tight bonds that remain today. Although the brothers are scattered across the globe and across this country, they now use facetime, texts, and phone calls to interact during and after the games. The only disagreements they may have besides the quality of individual plays is about whose team is the best, which makes for energized conversations.
I’d like to say thanks and honor all men who made time to bond with their sons and to help guide them down that straight and narrow path!
NOW, IN HIS OWN WORDS:
“It’s strange to think of a person you’ve never met – a total stranger – as a meaningful part of your life. For 16 years, I’ve spent my Sundays routing for the Eli Manning led New York Giants. At 32, that’s half of my total life and ALL of my adult life. Its been a wild ride. In that time, I graduated high school, went to college, moved across country to be a rock star, failed epically, fell in love, got married, joined the military, went to college again, moved across the country a second third time, started a family… and through all of that, I spent nearly every Sunday cheering on a stranger who had one of the most memorable NFL careers of all time.
Eli Manning played 16 years, had 210 consecutive starts (3rd best), threw for 56,537 yards (7th best), and 362 TDs (8th best). Along the way he made 4 pro bowls, led two of the most improbable championship runs in all of sports, and became one of only 5 people on the planet to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards.
Its more than that though. The Giants had been a joke for the better part of decade when Eli took over. He made them relevant again. He taught Giants fans to irrationally believe in miracles. He raised thousands for kids with cancer, made us laugh at his ridiculous commercials, and always acted with class. When things started going sour, he never pointed fingers.
After 2011, when he carried us to a second championship, the Giants organization failed him. They failed to put a competitive team around him. They put him through 2 head coach/system changes. He’s a bigger man than I would have been. He put a failing organization on his back and shouldered the blame until the time to pass the torch finally arrived.
I just watched my first Giants game in 16 years in which Eli didn’t play. It was a great game, but it felt a bit like having an empty seat at the family dinner table. Giants fans will miss you Eli. Thanks for everything.”