EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** A bad day at the office did not change Eli Manning's attitude about coming to work.
"I love what I'm doing," a reflective Manning said today in his weekly Wednesday give-and-take with reporters at his locker in the Quest Diagnostic Training Center. "Football can seem great at times and you feel like you have the best job in the world. Sometimes it's tough, but I still feel I've got the best job in the world. You go through tough stretches; we're going through one now. It has not been easy and there have been down moments, but I still love the competition of it, love the preparation of it and just love that feeling of having a great week of work and going to get a win. That feeling in the locker room, that satisfaction, working hard to get that feeling again."
The last few weeks have delivered very different feelings. As they prepare for their Sunday night home game against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants have lost their last five games. The most recent defeat was a 16-10 decision to the San Francisco 49ers in a game in which Manning tied his career high with five interceptions.
It was the 19th time in his career Manning has thrown at least three interceptions in a game. Since he entered the NFL in 2004, no other quarterback has more than 13 such games.
But history has shown Manning and the Giants usually respond well after his big-interception games. In the follow-up contests after his first 18 three-pick outings, Manning threw no interceptions eight times, one interception six times and two picks twice. Only twice did he follow a three-interception game with another (one was a four-pick game). Manning threw five interceptions last Dec. 15 vs. Seattle and just one the following week in Detroit.
"I believe he will bounce back," coach Tom Coughlin said. "I think he'll have a good game."
The Giants' record in those 18 follow-up games is 12-6.
"When something goes wrong or you feel close and could have had a win, you've got to turn the page and you've got to bounce back quickly," Manning said. "You've got to be upbeat and be excited about this next opportunity that we have.
"I think you have to do that in this league. You play long enough and you're going to have tough games, you're going to have bad games, you're going to have games that are hard to get over. You've got to put it behind you. You've got to have a short memory and you can't let one game or let one play dictate how you're going to perform the next. I think I've done a good job doing that over my career, and I've got to do it again this week."
Manning said he doesn't change his preparation after a win or a loss, after a good game or a poor one, after he throws three touchdowns and no interceptions or just the opposite.
"I think you always work the same after every week," he said. "There might be something you want to fix. Obviously, you've got to be conscious of something that you need to fix… make sure it doesn't repeat itself. I've got to be smart with the ball, but I also have to make plays. I've got to find my completions, I've got to make good decisions, but still am going to have to make throws and do my job."
And as he noted earlier, Manning still loves that job. Today, he was asked several questions about his future. Manning is 33, but he clearly wants and expects to be the Giants quarterback for a long time.
"Until it's not fun anymore or (you're) hurt or you don't feel you can play at a level that can win games for your team or win championships," he said. "I don't know when that point comes, but I guess I'll know it when it does.
"You always hope to go out on your own terms, but it doesn't always happen. You don't always get that opportunity. We'll see."
Manning would like to play his entire career, however long it is, with the Giants. But Peyton Manning once looked to be an Indianapolis Colt for life, and he is now in his third season with the Denver Broncos.
"I never thought Peyton would play for another franchise," Manning said. "I don't think he did, either. You see other guys. I'm just going to try to do my job and do it well enough where the franchise wants to keep me here."
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Manning, who led the Giants to victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, was asked if he's done enough to convince the franchise that he should stay here until his career ends.
"Obviously, last season (when he threw a career-high 27 interceptions) was not good," Manning said. "This season, I thought I've been playing better. This last week wasn't good, but hopefully we can get a hot streak and I can play well. I'm just going to take it one game at a time and worry about doing my job and let everything else kind of do its job.
"I felt I was throwing the ball, have been throwing the ball, accurately and getting a feel for this offense. I feel I can still make plays and run around and create plays and make all the throws. I still feel energized every week and work extremely hard and love what I'm doing. I don't take it for granted at all, and feel I can play at an extremely high level and take over games and do my job."
The bottom line is that Manning plans to keep competing and improving in a Giants uniform.
"This is the only franchise I've been a part of and I think it's the best one," he said. "I don't want anything else but to be here, play here and win another championship here."