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Eli Manning's new nutritional DATA

Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after throwing a

Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to Victor Cruz during the first half against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Dec. 30, 2012) Credit: AP

NEW ORLEANS – Eli Manning was at the Super Bowl media center on Friday talking about Gatorade’s new DATA program which stands for “Dietary Analysis Tool for Athletes” (and is not to be confused with SWAT; that’s something else we wrote about this week). But even Manning admitted that New Orleans is not a place to be analyzing the diet.

“It’s tough to get [good barbecued shrimp] in New Jersey,” he said. “It is good to get back to New Orleans. Obviously some of the cuisine I’ve been eating this week would not be the ideal pre-game meal, but sometimes you have to get off the routine during the offseason and enjoy some of the foods that New Orleans has to offer.”

Manning grew up in New Orleans and his family – his father, Archie, in particular -- is acting as the unofficial hosts of the party.

“Obviously it’s exciting to be in New Orleans, have my whole family here and get to be with them,” he said. “I think New Orleans is a great place to host a Super Bowl with everything the city has to offer. I’m excited about being here. Obviously when you come for a Super Bowl you’re not all that interested in it unless you’re playing in it. We’ll watch the game, but not rooting for someone directly.”

As for his work with Gatorade, who broke down Manning’s caloric intake and is helping turn his body into a more efficient tool for the Giants, Manning said he’s had to make changes to the way he approaches every offseason. And every meal.

“Obviously in college you could eat whatever you wanted and it didn’t matter and it didn’t show up,” he said. “When you get to 32 years old with your nutrition, you’re trying to get every edge there is. Now you’re thinking that I have to extend careers. My workout, my diet, all of those things will help me play at my highest level now and maybe get a couple of extra years in down the road. That’s what you’re thinking about. At 23, you just want to play football and you kind of eat whatever is in front of you.”

In New Orleans, we’re all pretty much 23.

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