The New York Giants whipped the once-undefeated New England Patriots on Sunday, and I (yes, the rabid Dallas Cowboys fan) am ecstatic. It was the ultimate underdog story – David and Goliath, the 1980 U.S. Hockey Team, Barbaro, Rocky Balboa, the Tortuous and the Hare (I think I have drifted into fiction). Regardless, what a game!
There gathered around my kitchen television, we all enjoyed an evening of food and football – in that order. Homemade gumbo, dips, cheese, brownies, cookies, and grilled venison wraps prepared by my significant other, Keith. (In fact, there was so much food, I will be eating hors d'oeuvres for a week.)
There were no true-blue Giant fans in the house, but it was filled with Eli fans. We were pretty evenly split – four Ole Miss fans, five Mississippi State fans, but only one of us was not cheering for Eli and his team. (Don’t worry, Keith, I won’t name names.)
And just as Ole Miss gives me a heart attack most games, Eli delivered the come-from-behind win that brought true palpitations. With poise and concentration, he delivered 19 of 34 passes for two touchdowns (and one interception) – a MVP performance worthy of the name Manning.
Eli also showed his versatility on the field Sunday as he wiggled out of a herd of Patriots to connect (on the head of) with David Tyree. And as he launched the final touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress, we jumped for joy and hugging in football euphoria. I even think a few Hotty Toddys were exchanged.
The next morning, the news was all about Eli and the Manning family – as good a time as ever to jump on the Manning legacy band wagon. I got to live the excitement again and again.
So humbly Eli spoke about his team and his supportive family. It made me proud that Eli conducted himself in a true Southern manner unlike that very rude head coach for the Patriots who made a complete spectacle out of himself because of the loss. That Belichick fellow should learn to make a better example for his team. (Now he is hiding out – probably in some bunker like Saddam Hussein, what is that all about?)
After the game, I was asked a question by the only Patriots supporter at the party: “If Eli did not go to Ole Miss, would you still be cheering for him.”
My answer: “Of course, he is Archie’s boy.”
It is all about Mississippi loyalty and royalty for that matter. I doubt there is more than a handful of Mississippians who don’t know the name Manning. They are our version of the Kennedys. Archie didn’t bring us Camelot; he brought us glory, and the best kind of glory in Mississippi – football glory.
And so we continue to honor the number 18 by supporting his sons.
No, I was not happy when Peyton decided to go to Tennessee, and I would never support Tennessee (it is not natural for an Ole Miss girl). However, I did support him in his win against the Bears last Super Bowl.
I had to. He’s Archie’s boy.