Some Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks work their way through the rubber chicken circuit and gain 20 lbs. Others take advantage of the opportunity to spread their seed, Johnny Appleseed-style, through the local model population. Not Eli Manning, though. How does he spend his spring of vindication as the Leader of the World Champions?
He shows up at a breakfast in Washington, D.C. to flog the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and dutifully answer the same questions repeatedly. Doesn’t he know that he doesn’t need the “honor” anymore of working with Denise Austin and Mary Lou Retton on pushing the American fat boulder uphill just to keep his name in the public eye?
While he should be blowing off such events for the New York nightlife or scooting off to warmer climes to bask in the brief adulation of New Yorkers, he’s sitting in the National Club in D.C. and answering such winners as:
“On how he escaped the rush on the Tyree play: “I wish I knew; I really don’t know. If I did, I couldn’t reveal my secret. (smiles) I guess it was all that physical fitness I had.”"
“On the New York media: “Anytime you’re the quarterback of a professional team in New York, there’s going to be tough times. The way the media works, it’s `What have you done for me lately?’ Winning the Super Bowl is good, because I got five months while they praise me. But if I lose the first game, they’ll hate me.”"
Yes, all that physical fitness he had stored in the locker room at half really came in handy. Do humans really talk like this? Maybe they do when the D.C. political press get ahold of an honest-to-God winning athlete, which they haven’t seen much of for a long time.
The aw-shucks act could easily be written off when he was a struggling Giant, especially immediately after the Archie-fronted power play to get him into the Meadowlands on a regular basis. Now that he has tangible success, he’s still the same bashful Boy Scout hawking the same ridiculous President’s Council that all Americans regard as a joke by the age of eight.
He’s just a big dumb kid from Louisiana with a mantle much larger than he can legitimately carry. Yet it’s getting harder each passing day to cruelly make fun of the doofus and not just appreciate the purity of the young man. He’s a doofus, but he’s America’s Doofus. Even Dad couldn’t ruin that forever with early-morning shuttle runs or late-draft end runs.