Eli wants sibling rivalry with Peyton to steal show at a Super Bowl
By: By TOM CANAVAN, AP Sports Writer
CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) — Eli Manning wants another Super Bowl, one against big brother, Peyton. Next year wouldn’t be too soon.
“It would be fun to be back to the Super Bowl, Eli said Monday. “That’s the way I look at it. If it happens to be against the Colts, then that would be a fun game to be a part of. Again, it would be fun to be back and have a shot to do this again.”
Manning made the most of his first shot Sunday, leading the New York Giants on a late game-winning, 83-yard touchdown drive in a stunning 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in one of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history.
The performance earned Eli an MVP award, just a year after Peyton got the same award for leading the Colts to a title over the Chicago Bears.
“It doesn’t change my attitude, my personality, or even my goals for next season,” Manning said. “It’s still the same. I’m happy today, I’m fired up and I’m going to enjoy this moment.
“You still want to do it again. You still want to have this feeling again,” Eli added. “It’s hard to say that now because you’re still enjoying it now, but you have to have the same commitment to playing football. I’ve got to become a better quarterback.”
That had to wait until after the Giants ticker-tape parade Tuesday in New York.
“Everybody’s looking forward to it,” Manning said beforehand. “I’m sure New York will throw a pretty good parade for us.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who appeared with Manning at the MVP press conference on Monday in Phoenix, said the fourth-year quarterback has come a long way since that first year when teams like Baltimore made him look foolish with blitzes.
His Super-Bowl-winning 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress came on a Patriots’ blitz.
“(They) had been playing zone, keeping two safeties back and just playing a little conservative through that whole drive,” said Manning, who completed 19-of-34 for 255, two touchdowns and an interception. “Finally, I knew they’d come after us. They came out with a blitz and had one-on-one with Plaxico Burress. That’s a matchup we’re going to take every time.”
The touchdown not only spoiled the Patriots’ perfect season and made the Giants a Super Bowl champion for the third time, it also vindicated former general manager Ernie Accorsi’s decision to acquire Manning on draft day in 2004.
Despite being encouraged by the Manning family to pass on Eli, San Diego drafted him No. 1.
The Giants then acquired him from the Chargers for the rights to quarterback Philip Rivers — the No. 4 pick overall — and a couple of draft picks, one of which turned out to be All-Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman.
Every time Manning struggled in the past 31/2 seasons, Accorsi got blamed for mortgaging the future of the franchise on Peyton Manning’s not-as-good little brother.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Accorsi said Monday at the Giants’ team hotel. “I have a thick skin. To me, it was part of the job. If he wasn’t playing well, I was going to be criticized. I don’t have any vindictive feeling. It was too great a moment to think about that.”
Accorsi said the frantic fourth quarter in some ways mirrored the ups and down of the past four years with Manning.
With New York clinging to a 10-7 lead with 8:32 to play, Manning scrambled out of the pocket near his own 30-yard line and overthrew a wide-open Plaxico Burress with a lob pass along the left sideline.
“Your quarterback just cost us the championship,” a Giants fan sitting in front of Accorsi turned and yelled.
It seemed prophetic when Tom Brady took over on the next possession and led an 80-yard drive that resulted in a 6-yard touchdown pass to Randy Moss with 2:42 to play.
Then it all came together. With everything on the line, Manning took his team down the field and got into the end zone in the final minute with a 13-yard pass to Burress.
Naturally, Accorsi was thrilled. So, too, was a former critic sitting in front of him.
The man who accused Manning of costing the Giants the Super Bowl 8 minutes earlier turned and tried to kiss Accorsi.
“He was aiming right at my lips, but he didn’t get that close,” a laughing Accorsi said while shaking his head.
After the parade, Accorsi and the Giants have some housekeeping chores.
Coach Tom Coughlin is expected to get a lengthy contract extension that will pay him around $5 million annually thanks to his NFL title.
He made $3.25 million this year and was to make the same in 2008.
Linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Reggie Torbor, safety Gibril Wilson, kicker Lawrence Tynes and punter Jeff Feagles — all starters in the Super Bowl — are free agents.
“We’ll get moving on that as soon as we get back,” said general manager and Lake County native Jerry Reese, the man who replaced Accorsi.
Most of the players looked tired on Monday after a long night of partying.
“I might have laid down for an hour or two but I don’t think I slept,” center Shaun O’Hara said. “I think I just closed my eyes. It might have been the first time I slept with a smile on my face.”
Tynes also had a smile on his face.
“I think we are going to win some more of these,” he said. “The Patriots had their dynasty and now I think we can start ours.”
The perfect ending for Eli Manning would be going head to head with Peyton for another NFL title.