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Of Course Giants QB Eli Manning Doesn’t Care About a New Deal


Image courtesy of Zimbio

A former No. 1 draft pick out of Ole Miss, quarterback Eli Manning has played his entire career with the Giants, after being traded to New York from San Diego on draft day 2004. It was one of the most awkward and memorable moments in the history of the NFL Draft.

Now 11 seasons into his career, Manning has won two Super Bowls with the Giants, having been named the MVP of both. For those keeping track (everyone) that’s one more ring than that of big brother Peyton Manning, widely hailed as the greatest regular season quarterback of all time.

Whereas Peyton has excelled in the regular season and struggled in the playoffs, Eli has done just the opposite. He knows how to turn it on in the postseason, but his overall play from September-December has been so inconsistent, and sometimes downright terrible, that the G-Men have missed the playoffs six times during his tenure.

Over that time, Manning’s ability as a quarterback, leadership skills in the locker room and field, and even his passion for the game have been questioned. Although some of those questions have been legitimate—he certainly doesn’t seem to have the same fervor for football possessed by his older brother—while others have been less so. Or, at the very least, the source of some of those questions has been very unfair.


Take what is known as “Eli Manning Face,” for example, which becomes a trending topic on Twitter pretty much every time the Giants play a nationally televised game. Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be nationally televised—if the face is Eli-enough, it’ll make its way to social media somehow. And everyone will laugh.

Seriously though, it’s his face! That’s just what it looks like. It has absolutely nothing to do with his performance on the field—or anything else for that matter. In fact, it runs in the family. So let’s just layoff Manning Face already.

That being said, a recent development in the contract status of Eli Manning—or lack of development, as it were—has done more to raise questions regarding his passion for the game and future in New York than his face ever could.

Going into the last season of a six-year deal worth just under $100 signed in 2009, Manning recently flat out said he isn’t the least bit concerned about addressing his contract before the season begins. Echoing similar statements he made at the end of the regular season.

“If the Giants want to discuss it, we’ll discuss it, but it’s not a focus of mine,” Manning told reporters asking about his expiring deal as he cleaned out his locker in December.

When questioned again about his future at a recent charity event, Manning said, “Nothing has been brought up. I haven’t made a big deal about it.”

He added, “I look at it like, ‘Hey, I signed a six-year contract, and I’ve never once mentioned contract to them or anything or tried to get extended. I’m going to play out those six years and hopefully my play and the success of the team will dictate the future of me being in New York.’”

On one hand, it’s refreshing to see an athlete so nonchalantly willing to play out his contract—he’s certainly no Darrelle Revi$. On the other hand, Manning’s attitude is nonchalant to the point of being weird and jarring.

Image courtesy of Zimbio

Image courtesy of Zimbio

We’re not talking about holding out of training camp to force a new deal midway through an existing deal. Extending a contract going into the final year is the norm for franchise players, particularly with quarterbacks. Usually it doesn’t even get this far, with most teams eager to lockup the most important person on the field.

The lack of urgency of both sides raises so many questions.

Like, for example, after missing the postseason three consecutive years, are the Giants seriously thinking about rebuilding from the quarterback up? Sure Manning has been inconsistent at times, but he plays well when they do reach the postseason, and starting over at the position via the draft is a crapshoot that could take years.

Then there’s Manning, himself. Is he really that reasonable, or is it something else? Perhaps he’s tired of the spotlight that comes with playing in New York and wouldn’t mind moving on to somewhere he’d be more appreciated and/or less scrutinized? The New York media is known to be brutal, which has to be tough when he occasionally turns into a one-man interception machine.

Or maybe, just maybe, Eli Manning is already looking ahead to a life beyond the game?

There’s no question that football runs in Manning blood, but Peyton has always been much more a slave to the game than Eli. At post game press conferences, Eli often gives the impression that he’d be just as happy managing a grocery store in New Orleans as playing in the NFL. At least he’d have less stupid questions to answer.

Not that he doesn’t like, or even love, the game, but seems like the kind of guy who could be happy doing a whole host of things. It’s hard to imagine his transition into the real world following his career will be anything but seamless. He’s a content average Joe in the body of an NFL player.

It makes you wonder—if the Giants decide the Manning era ends after the 2015 season, is it possible Eli might just hang it up altogether?


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