Originally written on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 1/25/12

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: Eli Manning #10 of the the New York Giants looks to pass against the Atlanta Falcons on November 22, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

The New England Patriots are going to have a huge problem when they play the New York Giants in the Super Bowl.  That problem is Eli Manning.

Prior to the season, Eli made the bold statement that he was one of the elite quarterbacks in the league.  Most laughed.  I understood why they would.  His numbers suggest he was turnover machine the year before.  But if you had looked at his previous 3 years heading into this current season, you would have noticed a much more positive trend in all of his stats.  Was he responsible for most interceptions a year ago? Yes.  But there were 10 of them that were on the receivers for not catching the ball.   I’d would say that Eli’s problem was more with coughing up the ball on the ground with fumbles than his INTs.  That all being said, the idea of him being elite wasn’t really believable to many, Giants fans included.

But ya know what Giants fans liked about his claim?  Confidence. Giant fans haven’t been used to seeing Eli show confidence in himself outwardly.  Sure, in press conferences he would use cliche’s to talk about the team, but he always came across overly humble and modest.  This made him appear to always just be the slumped shoulders, “aw shucks”, kinda guy.  Ya never felt like saying “we got Eli, we got this.”

That has all changed since that radio interview.  He backed it up all season.  Eli kept this team afloat until the defense shored itself up the last few weeks of the season.  Where it used to be the receivers making Eli look good, now he was making undrafted players like Victor Cruz into team record setters.   There was nobody better in the 4th quarter all season.

Yesterday, Eli talked to the team, and they listened.  He basically told them to get their stuff done, we have work to finish.  It doesn’t sound like much, but he delivered it loud and clear to his teammates. When Eli talks, they listen. They follow him.  Everyone has been waiting for someone to take over the leadership role since Michael Strahan retired.  Justin Tuck has is one, but Eli is THE one. This is his team.

Eli is focused. He’s out for blood.  He is going to watch so much film on the New England defense the next few weeks.  He knows he cannot just be along for the ride this time. This is his game to win.  He knows it, he wants it. Eli is locked in more than ever, and the Patriots aren’t going to be the only team with the elite QB on the field.

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