There are at least two prominent former NFL quarterbacks who believe Eli Manning still has top-level skill left in his tank, even at his advanced age and after two consecutive lost seasons.
One of them is Archie Manning.
“Oh, yes, Eli does,” he said Tuesday morning when asked whether the Giants quarterback still has the physical ability to get the job done.
Another is Peyton Manning.
“Last summer at our football camp, Peyton told Eli, ‘You know, you’re throwing better at 37 than you did at 27,’ ” Archie said.
OK, so perhaps Manning’s father and older brother are a tad biased. But for now the family line insists that Eli is not the fading star many other observers believe him to be.
Archie spoke to Newsday in Manhattan before a luncheon preceding the National Football Foundation’s awards dinner, which includes the induction of this year’s College Football Hall of Fame class. He is the organization’s chairman.
He declined to comment on the specifics of the Giants’ quarterback situation, beyond how Eli has dealt with it. Last season he was benched – at his request – for one game, and this season there have been calls for the Giants to take a look at rookie Kyle Lauletta in the final month.
“I’m proud of the way Eli has handled everything,” Archie said. “It’s been a pretty tough year on him. But he stands tall, and I’m really proud of him. It’s not the fun side of football when you’re not winning, but as I said, I’m proud of the way he deals with everything.”
Does Archie expect Eli to continue playing in 2019, be it as a Giant or elsewhere?
“We haven’t talked about it,” the father said. “I think Eli kind of goes game to game. And I don’t ask him. That’s just not what we do. I think every week in the NFL is hard. That’s one of the things I’m glad about with Eli. He kind of takes it week to week.”