For the last 15 years or so, the “King of New York” lived in the Bronx. He wore five rings and was an inspiration for young people and parents desperate for a superstar role model. We’re talking of course about Derek Jeter.
But this weekend, the torch was passed. There is a new “King of New York,” and his name is Eli.
One Super Bowl would have been a great accomplishment, but that’s not enough to topple Jeter. But two?!?! In four years??? And they were two of perhaps the greatest championship games ever played — in New York, or anywhere else. Yes, that’s all that Eli Manning has accomplished.
But the bar is very high in this column, so it’s not just about the game. Truth is, have you ever heard Eli Manning EVER say or do ANYTHING stupid in the time he’s been here? No, of course not. In fact, he always says the right thing, despite being under the most pressure any sports figure could ever possibly face.
Indeed, there is something about that Manning family: Eli, Peyton, Archie. And there’s something about the Giants family: the Maras and the Tischs.
They don’t tolerate the usual shenanigans. Oh, sometimes they get stuck with one joker, like the wide receiver who shot himself in the leg. But usually they clean house and do what’s right, not just what’s right for the team.
The late great Wellington Mara deserves so much of the credit for the legacy of this team and for the blossoming of the NFL into the greatest show on Earth. (Can anyone with a straight face say that baseball is still America’s pastime?)
Decades ago, Mara agreed to revenue sharing, even though his Giants were making the lion’s share of the NFL profits. The move set the league on the course that has put it on top of the sporting world, and that includes the entire world.
The Giants continue to be a classy organization, with Wellington’s son John calling the shots.
Hopefully, that other New York football team is taking notes!
The Patriots may have been the team of the decade, but they haven’t won a Super Bowl since their coach Bill Bellicheck got caught cheating. And the quarterback’s super-model wife captured the spirit of sportsmanship on Sunday when she said, “My husband can’t bleeping throw the ball AND catch the ball at the same time.” It was a cheap shot at the Patriot receivers, who weren’t always sure-handed. But the great Brady was not at not the top of his game either.
So now New York has another King. Don’t expect a dynasty, because that doesn’t happen anymore in this league of parity. But expect class and sportsmanship, and a QB who walks in Derek Jeter’s large footsteps.
Don’t you love it when the good guys win?