So many commentators have been talking about Eli "growing up," "coming into his own," or "becoming a man" in the last few weeks. They're referring to his frustrating string of mistakes and poor judgment over the last couple seasons, and his sudden turn to playing well and having almost no interceptions from the end part of this past season and right on through the Super Bowl. Fans and talking heads alike marveled at his sudden confidence and competency. He not only started making plays, but smiling and laughing, a welcome change from his usual gape-mouthed mope.
Now, a while back, I had a theory that Tiki Barber's infamous comments on how Eli trying to speak in front of the other players was "almost comical" actually helped Eli, in that it spurred him to step up. But now, I have a new idea. That idea is: sometime in the last few months, Eli Manning lost his virginity.
Think about it: a quiet-spoken guy, southern baptist and fond of his mother, sadly unattractive despite his tall build and athletic skills, Eli has been dating his college girlfriend (now fiancée) for five years, now. I believe that at some point in the mid-to-late 2007, that girlfriend - or someone, anyway - finally put out. I mean, did you see how drastically his demeanor changed? How his panicked, flapping runs and fumbles turned into dodges and completed passes? Something must have given him the confidence and relaxation he'd been lacking.
The only other explanation I can think of is that he sent away for this: