Eli Manning is simply waiting on his gold jacket but, while he waits, he’s living his best life as an NFL analyst and all-around funny guy, particularly when operating in tandem with his older brother, Peyton. But it’s what he was able to achieve on the football field for the New York Giants that made him a legend, and that not only included lifting the organization to two Super Bowl wins, but also in sweetening those victories by being the only quarterback to ever to hand the often unbeatable Tom Brady two Super Bowl losses.
The former first-overall pick (2014) called it a career when he retired in 2019 — and with a list of career honors that include two-time Super Bowl MVP and induction into the Giants Ring of Honor — but he still enjoys flashbacks of his playing days. So when former league MVP Cam Newton had a sit-down with Manning and asked him to list which players he’d put on the field for his “ideal” two-minute drill — needing a touchdown to win the game — the latter was more than happy to oblige.
“Down by four? So, gotta get a touchdown. I’ve been there before,” said Manning, pondering who’d get the nod in his all-important personnel grouping, via Talkin’ Giants. “We’ll go 11 personnel — three receivers, one tight end and one running back.”
As far as whom, well, get ready for a curveball or two.
“For receivers, you gotta get the big guy, gotta go with Plaxico Burress on the outside,” said Manning. “You like the 6-foot-6, 230 pound receiver. In the slot, you’re going with Victor Cruz. And then on the other outside, you gotta go with Odell [Beckham Jr.]. That’s a strong mix right there.”
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That’s right, folks. For all of the headlines surrounding the organization’s divorce from Beckham, Manning continues to make it known his connection and relationship with the recent Super Bowl-winning wideout was a lethal one at the height of its production for the Giants. But Manning’s fun didn’t stop there, going on to name a sleeper at tight end.
“Tight end, I think we’re gonna go with Kevin Boss,” said Manning, waving off one much more well-known TE in particular. “[Jeremy] Shockey was there for a little bit, but he was kind of all over the place. Love Shockey … but it’s Kevin for the two-minute drive.”
To wrap up the skill positions, Manning looked to the RB spot, giving the nod to someone every NFL player — former and current — knows quite well.
“And probably Tiki Barber as your running back,” he said. “Tiki was talented. Had him early on, and he was talented. Had some other great running backs in Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs, but [going with Tiki].”
Not a bad grouping of talent, to say the least, and one Manning feels would be a guaranteed game-winner.