Keeping the locker room loose
Anyone who has paid attention to Eli Manning over the course of the last 16 years, knows he’s a stand-up guy and a class act. But two things really stood out to me about what some of his former teammates had to say.
While fans are used to seeing quarterbacks yell at their offensive lineman during a game, former teammate Kevin Boothe, who blocked for Eli Manning for seven years, said he only has one memory of Eli raising his voice at him. It was during a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers when Boothe missed a blocking assignment that led to a brutal hit on Manning resulting in an incompletion. The New York Giants would still go on to win the game and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
One other thing that really got my attention were all the stories that were told of the many different pranks Eli would play on his teammates, rookies and veterans alike. From putting icy-hot on his running back’s deodorant to stealing his quarterback coach’s bike and hanging it from the rafters of a gymnasium, Eli knew how to have fun, even if it was at the expense of others.
Always with the same serious facial expression when on the field or in a news conference, fans rarely got to see that fun, humorous side of Eli Manning unless it was in one of his many comedic commercials or when he hosted the infamous sketch show Saturday Night Live.