Keidel: Hail Manning

By Jason Keidel
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As I watched Eli Manning pinball in the pocket, slinging one clutch, third-down laser after another while mashed by monstrous linemen, I wondered if Ernie Accorsi was onto something…

Nothing bugs Little Brother – not pundits, the Packers, fear, or the Frozen Tundra. With a nod to Hakeem Nicks, Eli Manning is the reason the season continues for the New York Football Giants.

The stat line – 21-33, 330 yards, 3 TD – is impressive but doesn’t tell the entire tale. With his simple face and Southern refrain, Eli Manning looks like he should be thumbing his overalls on the sideline. But the younger Manning is every bit the man (even if not quite the QB) his iconic kin has become.

In a game with more gaffes than a Marx Brothers movie – from countless drops to fumbles inexplicable onside kicks – you could argue the Green Bay Packers gave the contest to the Giants. But that’s not the playoff parlance. The Giants took it. Specifically, the aw-shucks, Ole Miss kid who can’t miss these days.

And while a game could have a few plays on which it pivots, for my buck I focus the Hail Mary (or Hail Manning) at halftime, where Nicks leaped like Derrick Rose for the ball, snatching it from Charles Woodson, putting the G-Men up by ten. The team trotted to the locker room with swagger, knowing they could beat the heretofore-unbeatable Packers.

The Giants did a discount double check on the Packers, melting the blessed, frigid slab of grass in otherwise anonymous farmland. And while Aaron Rodgers (26-46, 264 yards, 2 TD) is still the best player on Earth, he is an Earthling, now relegated to rehearsing his touchdown dance on those silly insurance commercials.

You’ll also hear that the bye week brings rust to otherwise regal teams. Gibberish. Three of the four teams with the extra rest won their games. The Packers didn’t; the Giants did. All roads to the Super Bowl are paved with as much will as skill, and the New York Giants had far more of the former than the Packers.

If you say you knew the Giants would win this game, you’re lying. But nonetheless there’s a Big Blue tide rising from Wisconsin to San Francisco, with another upset inside its high curl. And why not? It smells alarmingly like 2007 now. No denying that.

Speaking of which, I was wrong about the co-pilots of the ship that shut down New England, that it was time for Tom Coughlin to enjoy his golden years on the golf course and Eli simply rode a ravenous defense to a title. To me, 2007, while wonderful, was an anomaly, one of those leap year flukes. Now the term Leap Year serves as a delicious double entendre for Giants fans, who bring a blue tint to Candlestick Park, ready for a not-so-fluky fourth year run.

Now the Giants are injected with all the mojo to needed make another Super Bowl run. The 49ers dismissed the most overrated team (and quarterback) in football on Saturday, making it a Super Sunday for the Giants, in many ways.

And these aren’t the Joe Montana Niners, replete with Jerry Rice and Ronnie Lott and a conga line of Hall-of-Famers that Big Blue beat in 1990. This San Francisco team is mortal. Now we’ll see if the Giants are immortal. You can be sure Eli will show up, his humble drawl drawing us just a little closer.

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One Comment

  1. Jonas Altman-Kurosaki says:

    Similar to Derek Jeter’s midyear situation, the Giants painted a grim picture for themselves 12 games into their season that realists could only view as a sign of things to come. The Giants were a team defeated, and it made perfect sense to assume that it was time for a change in some aspects or other – at the very least, on the sideline. But, just as Jeter pulled himself back to .297 through some miracle of Ponce De Leon, the Giants have put on a run just as they did in 2007, just as their diehards said they would. Yesterday’s win sent a message throughout the NFL that the Giants are a force to be reckoned with and are stepping up big time each week. The 49ers should, in theory, be their easiest opponents so far. The Niners eked out a win against the down-and-out Giants earlier this year, so how they fare against this new-look group of wreckers will be very fun to watch.

    On a side note, you killed it with this article, Jason. Props.

    1. Di. O'bolikal says:

      yo son! don’t come in here with theories, when the 49ers in reality just punked the best offense in the league. An offense that is better than Giants. Don’t be surprised if your precious Giants lose.

  2. Kurt Spitzner says:

    I too said off with Coughlin’s head when all looked grim,but have been reminded almost daily by my big blue friends as well as last nights game that I was obviously dead wrong!It just shows the big difference between those who walk the walk and those who just talk the talk like the fat man from across town so to speak!GO GIANTS!

    1. JK says:

      Indeed, Kurt. I too admit when I’m wrong. Tom and Eli have the look of a winner at winning time…

      1. Kurt Spitzner says:

        please resend that other email link cuz everytime lately i try the other one its full!

        1. JK says:

          My email is at the bottom of this column, dude. Use the gmail account instead of .mac.

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