To this day there isn’t a player in the NFL that I personally dislike more than Eli Manning.
It has nothing to do with the way he has conducted himself throughout his career in the league and certainly has nothing to do with his two Super Bowl rings. It has nothing to do with the New York Giants or their class-act of an organization, and it has nothing to do with his propensity for making ill-advised throws – at least this season.
No, the qualms I have with Archie’s son and Peyton’s brother were rooted long before any of those developments even took place. Sometimes holding grudges is a worthwhile task, and for this fan of the San Diego Chargers I’m less than apologetic about it.
Why this all needs to be rehashed once again is because the Bolts are facing off with Manning’s G-Men this Sunday in sunny San Diego. Yes, the very city the petty Manning rejected a decade ago in the 2004 NFL Draft when he told the Bolts – then holders of the No. 1 overall pick – that he would not play for them if selected.
The stubborn general manager of the team who just left this season this past offseason, A.J. Smith, was then in his first season as GM. This never fazed him as he proceeded to draft Manning before working out a deal with the Giants to swap first round quarterbacks along with some additional draft choices. The Chargers can’t be upset with their signal caller Philip Rivers, and although linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding are no long on the team – or even in the league for that matter – they were both Pro Bowlers while wearing lightning bolts.
But this is all beside the point.
The point is that a pampered college quarterback believed that he could determine where he wanted to play because of his last name. That type of uppity attitude just never sat well with me as a fan, and my dislike for Manning will never disappear because of it. Leave it to him to further reinforce my disdain. Here’s his question and answer session with Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger:
Orr: Ten years later, what was the reason you were against it?
Manning: “I forgot, I think.”
Orr: Obviously there was something, I mean, come on…
Manning: “I just can’t remember, it’s been 10 years. It slipped my mind.”
Orr: Was it about trying to maneuver to the right organization?
Manning: “Ten years ago, I don’t know. I can’t remember.”
Orr: There was a mystery that day, like some people said you wouldn’t even put the Chargers hat on when you were drafted.
Manning: “Did I put the hat on? No? I didn’t put the hat on?”
Manning: “I just, my hair was feeling good that day. I didn’t want to mess it up.”
And there you have it. The pompous attitude still pervades from this entitled individual even to this day.
To put the cherry on top of this disingenuous sundae, Manning went on to say:
“I have nothing against San Diego as a city. We had our rookie symposium there and besides that, we’ve had a few other things, I know it’s a beautiful city and great weather. There’s a lot of great things to it.”
Whether Manning dislikes San Diego or not is irrelevant. What matters most is that the city remembers how he spurned them ten years ago and gives him a healthy earful on Sunday as a result.