Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Oh, grow up

The NFC Championship Game gives us an interesting matchup at quarterback. For the Green Bay Packers, you have Brett Favre, who, despite the graying hair, the well-lined face and the litany of tragedies to befall his family, remains the closest thing the NFL has to Peter Pan. You know: The boy who never grew up. It's that childlike enthusiasm that gets guys like Peter King all moist in the panties.

The New York Giants, on the other hand, appear to have the Anti-Peter-Pan playing quarterback. From what I can tell by listening to the pigskin pundits, Eli Manning has been doing nothing but growing up since the third week of the season. After the divisional round victory over Dallas, we heard umpteen variations on the theme of "Eli Manning grew up today." Just like we heard it after the wildcard win in Tampa, and after the regular season finale against the Patriots.

Look, Eli Manning will be just fine. He'll never be as good a quarterback as his brother, but he's probably already a better quarterback than his dad. And I'm going to venture that he's a better quarterback than Philip Rivers. There are fans out there who think the Giants made a big mistake in trading Rivers for Manning on draft day 2004. All they need to do is look at how Rivers got into it with the fans in Indianapolis on Sunday. Think about it: If he can be driven to distraction by a bunch of Midwestern yahoos in the stands at the RCA Dome, do you really think the New York media would do anything but fucking eat him alive? Manning's been under the microscope since high school. You may not like how he deals with the spotlight -- essentially, by pretending he doesn't care -- but at least he deals with it.

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