...not after he got schooled by the Panthers to the tune of 23-0 in his own house.
According to this hilarious pregame column:
To find anyone with less pulse than Eli Manning, Michael Strahan said, you'd have to search the morgue.
Which, in football parlance, is about the best praise you can pay a young quarterback.
Manning's lack of emotion and excitement leads teammates to conclude he has the calm and cool to perform come playoff time.
However, post-game, we can now surmise these attributes are due to, at best, stunted social skills, if not the possibility that Eli Manning** is really an android designed by mad scientist Archie Manning to make Peyton look good.
Let me further elaborate upon my anti-Manning manifesto: I may be an irrational sports fan, but I'm not irrational enough simply to hate Eli for the sins of his brother.
No, I hate Eli for reasons pertaining to Eli as an individual, and most of those reasons center around the 2004 draft.
I know Elway did it. That doesn't make it right. It absolutely rankles me that this kid who's grown up with his father and older brother before him to pave the way in football, sitting pretty as the number one draft choice, would have the audacity--the temerity--to assume he should dictate what team he should go to. For any reason. It was his behavior during that draft--from demonstrating his own version of the Manning Pucker Face while holding up a Chargers jersey, to his continued whining until a trade with the Giants was put into place--that cemented my conclusion that he is a dillweed.
The fact that Archie was the chief architect of this childishness cemented my conclusion that he, himself, is a dillweed. Daddy Dillweed.
From the princess antics of Peyton to the whining of Eli to the irritating stage-father presence of Archie, I am just not a fan of that entire family. Do they have a mom, by the way? Where is she in all this?
Meanwhile, my dad told me a story yesterday about my grandmother (I promise this is related). On her way home from camping up north, they'd always come to a terrible merge between two highways, and many people would go up the breakdown lane trying to cheat. Then the breakdown lane would end and they'd have to merge back into traffic. If one of these people tried to cut in front of my grandmother, she'd all but crash into them to prevent them from doing so--and as she did it, she'd holler out the open window, "You wanted that lane, now you stay in it!"
That's how I felt watching the Panthers intercept Eli 8,452 times even as his defense bent over for Delhomme on the other side of the ball. You wanted that lane, Eli, now you stay in it.
Anyway, in further tales of Football Beyond I-495, Washington beat Tampa Bay. Duh. Deadspin has been rooting hard for the Redskins and doing a great job of covering their games, just FYI. My dad took Tampa Bay in that game. Tsk.
I feel awful for Cincinnati. As someone whose worst football nightmare is seeing the starting quarterback laid out on the field, I can feel for those Bungles fans watching Carson Palmer writhe in agony after just his second snap of the game. Especially since their team hadn't made the playoffs in 15 years--and two snaps into the postseason, poof, there goes the franchise. Ouch.
Add to that the fact that the fans then had to watch the league's dumbest QB beat them in their own house...I just can't imagine. I feel for those Bungles fans. I really do.
However! If Pittsburgh somehow manages to win again, we might actually have an AFC Championship game in Foxoboro. So I guess that's a silver lining.
*Title in reference to this post by Kristen.
** According to Wikipedia, Eli's full name is actually "Elisha". Furthermore, his middle name is "Nelson". I wish the Panthers had sacked him more often.
Also, a Google Image search for Peyton Manning yields this terrifying image of Terry Bradshaw:
Just thought you all should know. Click to view it at full terrifying size.