Most Valuable Player (of one game)
I love the Super Bowl. I barely followed football during the season. The Bengals are abysmal, and there are no players that I get really excited about like I did in the days of Dan Marino, Randall Cunningham, Ickey Woods, and Jerry Rice. That said, I really like the Mannings. I was hoping for a Colts-Giants matchup in the big game, but the Patriots ruined that (this year at least). The Giants then ruined the Pats’ perfect season, and I was all smiles. The fourth quarter turned out to be one of the best in Super Bowl history, and I’m certain that Tyree’s catch will go down as one of the greatest, even though it was not a touchdown.
Manning’s performance in the fourth quarter was more than memorable, it was astounding. One of the “neatest” things about this year’s championship game is that the MVP award went to Eli Manning, one year after his brother won the same award. It’s one of those “wow, that’s cool” moments, kind of like when Ken Griffey Jr. and Sr. both played outfield for the Mariners, or when Cal and Bill Ripken played infield for the Orioles, and were managed by their dad, Cal Sr.
Keep in mind that the Super Bowl MVP is just that–the Most Valuable Player for that one game. Sure, it’s the most important game of the season, but it’s still only one game. Many Super Bowl MVPs are great players (Joe Montana thrice, Tom Brady twice, Jerry Rice, John Elway), but there are a few that just have the greatest game of their career. Remember Desmond Howard? A former Heisman winner, but only a decent NFL player, and he took the 1997 Super Bowl MVP award home. You have Doug Williams, again a decent NFL player but not close to spectacular, and he won the 1988 award. Mark Rypien just a few laters won the same award for the same franchise. Kurt Warner had an astounding season in 1999, and continued his excellent play through the championship game, but fell out of favor just a few seasons later and is now languishing with the Arizona Cardinals (no offense, Cards fans).
So let’s keep this in perspective. Eli had a good year. He has a lot of talent. And he really stepped up in the most important game (so far) of his career. Congratulations on your performance, and I hope you can continue to perform well in the NFL like your brother.