The emotions were understandably intense for Eli Manning, who grew up just a few miles from the Superdome yet had never played in the building his father, Archie, toiled in during the 1970s and ’80s.
Coming out of the tunnel in the moments before the game Sunday, he admitted to being more pumped up than usual.
“It’s a special moment for me to play in New Orleans, to be able to play in my hometown,” he said. “It’s something I was excited about.”
Unfortunately for Manning, the most enjoyable part of his day came before the game; after a 48-27 loss to his hometown team, the Giants’ quarterback left the Superdome crestfallen.
Manning had his moments — there was a 15-yard TD pass to Mario Manningham in the second that cut the Saints’ lead to 27-17. A TD pass to Brandon Jacobs in the fourth would have made it 41-24, but it was negated by a Shaun O’Hara holding penalty.
There were enough missed plays for Manning to lament.
His fumble on a sack late in the second quarter set up a crushing Saints touchdown that made it 34-17
Eli Manning is not only making a run at being the most valuable Manning in the NFL this season, but he also might be on his way to being voted the MVP of the league.
Even though he owns a Super Bowl MVP trophy and in the summer became the highest-paid player in NFL history, Manning was still among the most ridiculed big-time players. That is changing as the Giants have started 5-0 for the first time since 1990 and he is playing the best football of his career other than when he got hot in time for the magical Super Bowl run two years ago.
His older brother Peyton also owns a Super Bowl MVP and the Colts are also 5-0, but the Giants are a better team than Indianapolis, and by the end of the season, Eli could win the MVP trophy that his brother has already won three times. At the very least, he’s in the conversation now.