It's Sweeter the Second Time

Monday, February 4, 2008


(Image Andy Lyons/Getty Images - FOX Sports on MSN Website)

I'm not sure what to say about last night. I actually had tears in my eyes when the final second ticked off the clock - Eli kneeing down.

It was a hard fought win, but I think that you fight a lot harder for your first ring than you do for your fourth.

The final run that set up the win - with the scrambling Eli showing more footwork to get out of being sacked than I think anyone's every seen from him, to David Tyree's unexplainable catch, it was breathtaking. When Plaxico Burress caught the winning touchdown, and 35 seconds was left on the clock - I still held my breath.

35 seconds and 3 time-outs: that's not impossible odds to scoring a field goal, which is all Tom and his little band of boys needed to do to tie it all up.

But he didn't, he couldn't, and the reward wasn't his.

I'm a Manning fan. Anyone who knows me knows my entire family loves the Mannings. My grandfather (and father) are from Mississippi, and watched Archie in college and then through the 'Aint's. I can remember listening to conversations about the prospects of the boys when they were in High School, and the shock when Peyton committed to Tennessee.

We watched both boys play college ball (and would occasionally discuss how much we wished we could be watching Cooper, also.) I'm a Colts fan and a Giants fan, only because of their quarterbacks. The day Eli or Peyton moves teams - I'll buy an entirely new wardrobe for Football Season.

Last year, I watched with delight as Peyton won the Super Bowl. While I liked Eli better, I have long felt that Peyton was a better player. This year, watching Eli win, it was even sweeter.

My point in all this is that you would be hard pressed to find another family who has been as dedicated to the Manning family as long as we have. Archie's leadership, Peyton and Eli's talent, even Cooper remains involved in his family's trade - coming out every year to the Manning Football Camp.

But the Manning that holds them all together? The one whom I most admire?

There's a reason that you don't see Eli and Peyton making fools of themselves. A reason why when they speak they don't use foul language and coarse humor. A reason why trash-talking isn't associated with the Giants or the Colts Quarterback.

Their Mama. Olivia Manning, who is, as anyone who knows me well will tell you, my favorite Manning. Husband and I will be naming our first daughter after her. As I raise my sons, I can only hope that I teach them to be good strong men first, and excellent at their chosen vocation second.

I can only imagine that while this win is sweet for me, it that much sweeter for Mrs. Manning this second time around.

~Lone Butterfly )i(