I figured out that I owed Eli Manning and his whole family an apology a few weeks ago: today is no better day to print it.
Years ago, when Manning was drafted out of college, he refused to go to the team that picked him: The San Diego Chargers. There were all kinds of scuttle in the press about the team, the sort of stuff that isn’t repeated if one who is a sports journalist wants to get or keep a press credential because it’s something derogatory about the ownership or the management; its stuff that Philip Rivers’ father didn’t know about A.J. Smith or Dean Spanos, they are facts that won’t fill the wallets of large construction interests in San Diego.
Mr. Manning: I take back every time I called you Sheli. You gave your son very good advice, Archie. You aren’t and never were Womannings (sic, feminists, sic). It’s part of what you’ve done, a little of what you’ve said, but mostly it has been A.J. Smith’s continued arrogant manner and poor performance for so long with Dean Spanos’ reward of Smith’s ineptitude within the last couple months’ time that made it very clear to me that you made the best choice for yourself.
Congratulations. See you in Canton with Payton some day.