I'm feeling a bit sheepish this morning, after what I wrote in my post yesterday. Yep, I'm having myself a big old slice of humble pie for breakfast. Because, as I'm sure you know, this is how things turned out last night:It was Eli Manning (Super Bowl XLVI MVP) holding that Lombardi Trophy aloft, not Tom Brady--despite Gisele Bundchen's widespread appeal for prayers for her hubby. I don't really want to talk about the game (it's too soon, and too raw); but I do want to admit my guilty little secret, which I can say aloud now that the game is over: I like the Manning brothers. There, I said it. Patriots fans, don't be too mad at me; I just can't help it. When I see those Mannings--such nice, well-bred Southern boys!--I always think, "Awwww, I bet their mother is so proud of them." And I know their father, Archie--a former NFL quarterback himself--must be, too. In fact, last night when they showed Archie Manning right at the end of the game (up in the box where all the special people get to sit), I believe there were tears in his eyes. What must that be like, watching your son win the Super Bowl? He would certainly be a good person to ask, since this is his third time around.
Peyton Manning was always so funny in his television commercials; he was easy to love--I've loved him for ye-ahs.* (Please note, however, that my boys insisted that it was necessary to detest him when he was on the field, particularly when he was going head-to-head with Tom Brady.) It's taken me a little longer with Eli, but he's grown on me over time. The habitual Eeyore expression that he sported back in the days when he lived mostly in his older brother's shadow used to bother me, and I thought he lacked Peyton's charm. But Eli smiles a lot more these days (I wonder why?). And the Mannings appear to be a fine family, a family that really seems to value the importance of its family ties. I like that about them.
And did you see Eli with his pretty wife and baby daughter (a cute little angel with a little red bow in her hair!) after the awards ceremony? It made me think, "Awwww, his wife must be so proud of him." A big, strong athlete celebrating a big, emotional victory with his tiny, sweet baby girl: that, sports fans, is a winning combination.
*ye-ahs: years (in New England dialect)