And Barber had to gouge Eli's eyeballs and give him noogies to draw the response.
But Manning seems like a decent enough fellow. He's certainly a willing listener, which is good, because we always have plenty of advice for him.
In case you haven't noticed, Eli's reputation has taken a pretty serious hit lately. Folks want Manning to make changes, from how he looks off receivers to how he looks off bad plays. What Manning really needs is an image makeover.
Somebody to lead him from the depths of dullness to the outer reaches of relevance.
Or at least someone to destroy the perception that he's a wimp.
Since you asked, I've devised a Super Seven of can't-miss mandates that will produce a new-and-improved Eli Manning...
1. Eli, thanks for coming. First thing we need to do is pair you with as many Hollywood hotties as possible, preferably former "American Idol'' entertainers. Look what it's done for Tony Romo. Jessica Simpson. Carrie Underwood. Sophia Bush. Britney Spears. The guy's rumored to have more women than NOW. He's getting Tom Cruise play in the supermarket tabs, all for making two-minute club appearances. Meanwhile, you're home studying the 2:00 offense.
Yeah, I know you're engaged. See the door? See that large body of water separating your Hoboken digs from Manhattan? If you need to swim across it to find hopping night clubs and Paparazzi, do it, pronto.
2. Next time Jeremy Shockey gives you a hard time for a misfire aimed at the chatty tight end, get up in Shockey's grill armed with a generous dose of scream-spit. Make sure it's caught on camera and takes place next to Michael Strahan, who will break up the tense moment before Shockey kicks the snot out of you.
And when someone runs a wrong route or drops a pass, or a teammate commits a key penalty, make like Dan Marino circa 1985 and treat the dude like he ordered team colonoscopies.
3. We move to the video portion of our makeover. Ready, bud? We need to practice the face you must make when something goes wrong. You know the sound that pirates make, right? Open your mouth and focus on the letter ‘R', as in ‘ARGHHHHHH!!!' Now try it yourself.
Not bad. Doesn't that make you feel better?
... (Head bowed) I guess.
Let's move on.
4. Not sure how to break this one to ya big fella, but given the choice in a personality contest between yourself and a snail, you get the silver medal. And it ain't even close.
Cut down on the use of clichés, which presently constitute roughly 98 percent of your conversations with the media. Listen to your chat with the press a few days after that hideous Vikings game. Someone asked if you had a message to Giants fans who think the team has lost confidence and you said, "No, we haven't lost our confidence. We are still competing; we are still fighting; and we are still working extremely hard every week to prepare ourselves. We hit a bump in the road and that is all it is. You make your adjustments and you keep going.''
You should have said, "Yeah, I have a message for Giants fans: We are 7-4. Other than Dallas, Green Bay and ourselves, the conference stinks worse than Britney off a three-day bender. We could play the rest of the season on all fours and still make the playoffs. Now get out of my face.''
In other words, spice things up a bit.
5. Don't be afraid to create a little controversy every now and then. It did wonders for Jim McMahon and others. Next time Jerry Reese calls you skittish, give him the Tiki treatment. "The only thing that's skittish is people never having played beyond the University of Tennessee-Martin calling people playing the highest level of organized football skittish. I mean, what the heck level is Tennessee-Martin, anyway? D-4? Our scout team at Ole Miss would have busted them up.''
What's Reese gonna do, cut ya? Let's see him explain that one to the bosses.
Don't feel like dissing the GM? Tap the pedal on the Porsche until the speedometer touches 85 and sirens are illuminating from your back window. And be sure you do it at 4 a.m. – it adds to the mystery and subtracts from the chance of running someone over. One speeding ticket and fans will be calling for your appearance in a "Braveheart'' sequel.
6. Now on to the football stuff. I could go on and on about what you have to do better. But most of it falls under consistency, and you've heard it all anyway.
But here's something you need to do immediately if you want to gain a level of street cred: RUN WITH THE BALL! I'm not talking about calling naked bootlegs and acting like Michael Vick... definitely not acting like Michael Vick. I'm saying when nobody's open and you have 15 yards of open green real estate staring at you, tuck it away and run. Failing to do so gets people talking.
And I'm not asking that you lower your head trying to mow down a linebacker. That would be dumber than Roethlisberger on his hog without a helmet. There's no shame in the hook slide. There is shame in doing everything other than bribing defensive linemen to avoid scrambling.
7. Have you caught any of Peyton's commercials? Of course you have, there's one on every five minutes or so. My bad.
Yeah, I know he's a little played out. But some of those are pretty funny. And his gig on Saturday Night Live was a gas.
I guess what I'm trying to tell you is that maybe you should see about getting in some commercials that show your personality. Um... your off-field personality... assuming it's different than your on-field personality.
You know, something in which you actually have a script, not like that one where you stand next to Peyton on the porch while the old man teaches Matt Leinart how to play; or the ESPN one where Peyton's bullying ya while on the tour.
Something that brings out Eli Manning the person...
... assuming he's different than Eli Manning the quarterback...
... if you know what I mean.
Seven Super Steps to an Eli Makeover
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