Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback by Ralph Vacchiano MAG

June 27, 2011
By eksearle BRONZE, Troy, Michigan
eksearle BRONZE, Troy, Michigan
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." - Wayne Gretzky

This recent biography of Eli Manning begins with the Giants scouting him at Ole Miss and ends with the Giants beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. It is the story of how Eli became the Giants' quarterback and how he eventually led them to win Super Bowl XLV.

Although I'm a big fan of the Manning brothers, before I read this book, I didn't realize how little I actually knew about them. The book includes a lot of interesting information about their relationship. I especially like the description of them as kids and the stuff that they did together. For example, when Eli beat Peyton in a pick-up basketball game, he got so excited because he'd finally beaten his brother in something. I think this book did a great job showing their relationship.

I also learned about the other Mannings. Peyton and Eli have an older brother, Cooper, who was a great wide receiver in high school but was later diagnosed with a spinal condition that ended his football career. Their father, Archie, was a football player as well, playing for the New Orleans Saints, but never made it to the Super Bowl. However, Archie was an extremely good player at Ole Miss; not only did the school retire his number, the speed limit on campus is 18 miles per hour in his honor.

The book also offers insight into Eli's personality. Eli, unlike Peyton, is very shy. He would often avoid questions during press conferences, answering simply “I just need to make better decisions.” However, we do see some moments where Eli comes out of his shell. When Giants teammate Tiki Barber called his leadership skills “comical,” Eli responded by questioning Barber's leadership skills. Eli also made a bold statement before Super Bowl XLII that his team knew what it needed to do to beat the Patriots. Before the Super Bowl, Eli did seem more comfortable with the press, and actually seemed to enjoy the attention.

One of the big themes throughout the book is the enormous pressure on Eli from the moment he started playing in the NFL. Everybody expected a lot, and the media covered pretty much every mistake he made. After a disastrous loss to the Vikings in 2007, Eli was booed out of Giants Stadium and then criticized for comments he made during his press conference. The book also discusses the unfair comparisons of Eli. Even when Eli was still developing, he was being compared to the greatest quarterbacks in the NFL.

Finally, the book chronicles the 2007 season, when everything finally clicked for Eli. It details how the Giants beat the Bears in the fourth quarter, then beat the Bills to make it to the playoffs; how they almost beat the Patriots during the final game of the regular season; their unexpected victory against the Cowboys in the Divisional round of the playoffs; and finally, their victory over the Packers in overtime during the coldest game in Giants history. It describes the amazing Super Bowl and how the Giants unexpectedly beat the Patriots when Eli threw a touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds left.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and would recommend it to anyone who loves football and wants an interesting read.

The author's comments:
I have always enjoyed football, so I thought this book would be a good read. I knew very little about Eli Manning before I read this book, so I learned a lot of really interesting things by reading it.

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