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Eli Manning on the Giants’ new offense, turnarounds and a Super Bowl prediction

Eli Manning calls a play against the Philadelphia

Eli Manning calls a play against the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium on December 17, 2017. Credit: Getty Images / Al Bello

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — The key to Eli Manning’s grasp of a new offense at this point may be subtitles.

He’s not allowed to have much football talk with new head coach Pat Shurmur, but what Manning can do is watch film of the Vikings, for whom Shurmur was the offensive coordinator the past two seasons. It’s not just film, though.

“I watched their offense, a couple of games from last year, and had it with the plays written on the screen to learn some of the terminology,” he said on Friday.

Manning said he has had several conversations with Shurmur, both on the phone and in person at the team’s facility, and called him “a very nice guy.”

“He’s had success and I’m excited to get back to work,” Manning said. “Getting to learn this offense and get the guys back in the spring and get working on it . . . I think it’s kind of a combination of offenses of places, over the years, where he’s been, whether it’s Andy Reid or Chip Kelly or Norv Turner. I think it’s kind of a combination of things. I’m excited to learn it and figure out what we’re going to be doing.”

Age and inspiration

Thirty-seven-year-old quarterback Eli Manning is at the Super Bowl meeting a contest winner for Courtyard and handling media interviews on Radio Row. Forty-year-old quarterback Tom Brady is PLAYING in the Super Bowl.

Manning said he draws some inspiration from that, and he said he thinks he can continue to play for a while.

“Just knowing how my body feels — I still can make throws, my body feels good, I can still run around and train and do everything I have to do,” he said. “I think I don’t have any indication it’s slowed down or will all of a sudden have a big dropoff.”

He also draws inspiration from the other team in the Super Bowl. The Eagles went from last place to first in 2017 and are now one game away from a title. Can the Giants do the same in 2018?

“We can turn around,” he said. “Hey, we were an 11-win team the year before, so you have the talent there. Not much changed in both years. Obviously we have to get back healthy and there will be some additions, and we have to obviously play better football, but there is enough talent to win a lot of football games.”

Super Bowl LII prediction?

Manning doesn’t care who wins Super Bowl LII.

“I’m not rooting for one team over the other,” he said on Friday. “I’ll watch the game just as a fan of football, not as a fan of either team.”

Manning was at the Mall of America promoting a contest with Courtyard that will have one winner spend Saturday night in a suite-turned-hotel room at U.S. Bank Stadium. But he also was there as the only quarterback ever to beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in a Super Bowl. And he’s done it twice.

But Manning insisted that the possibility of either remaining unique or having to share the distinction with the NFC East rival Eagles won’t sway him.

“I don’t think of it in those terms,” he said. “I don’t have a favorite. I won’t be rooting for one team over the other.”

He does have a familiarity with the Eagles, though. So putting aside whether or not Manning wants the Eagles to win, can they win?

“It’s about can you slow down Tom Brady, can you get a pass rush?” Manning said. “[The Eagles] have a great pass rush. They kind of have the tools, you would think. There’s a reason why they’re here. They’re playing great football. It’s just a matter of can they play it in the fourth quarter? Can they get the ball and keep Tom from having a two-minute drive to win the football game? Can the Eagles have a two-minute drive to win it?”

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