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Fan Conference Call With Eli & Coach Coughlin

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Joe from New Jersey: Good morning, coach. It's a real pleasure talking to you. I sit up in section 338 and have been there with my dad and now my boys for about 35 years. My question, coach, is about the offensive line. It seems like with David Baas back this week, there's more continuity and the run game looked better. How important is it to have that continuity with your offensive line, especially your center.

Coughlin: I think one of the things I'd like to say first and foremost is that Kevin Boothe has been asked to play many positions for us and he's done very, very well. He's very conscientious. He can play center. He can play guard. He can play tackle. He's done it all. We're very thankful that we have Kevin Boothe on our football team. David Baas is our starting center, and anytime you take that communication -- that continuity, all the time that's spent on that individual at that one position – out of your scheme, your communication may not be quite as good as it possibly can be. Kevin Boothe is a very intelligent guy, who really does an outstanding job of communicating.

But you see that when Baas was back in the game, he played well, first of all, and he did help us in the communication process. It's good that he has a couple solid veteran guards around him in David Diehl and Chris Snee. Chris did not play last weekend, but Kevin Boothe can also carry on that important communication between guard-tackle, guard-center. So you do need in this league – I'll say it this way – you do need depth. You like to say that five guys can play the whole season. It does not happen.

Thomas in New Jersey: Longtime Giants fan. I was actually born right before the Giants won their first Super Bowl. But I wanted to ask you what's your favorite game you've played. Was it the Green Bay game where you guys came back or the Super Bowl or the Buffalo game to get into the playoffs? What's your favorite game?

Manning: There are a couple. Obviously the Super Bowl, the ultimate goal is to win a championship. But, definitely as you said, the Green Bay game right before in the NFC championship game, where we had a big comeback. The circumstances, you're in negative-21 degrees, you're at Lambeau Field, you're playing against Brett Favre – one of the greatest cold weather quarterbacks and one of the greatest quarterbacks – and just all the being the underdog. We had played them earlier in the season and they had beaten us pretty good. That game was just a wild game. And winning it on a last-second field goal, that was obviously a very special game. I remember Denver, a few years ago – I'm trying to think – it's been four or five years ago when we were down pretty good in the fourth quarter. I end up hitting Amani Toomer with about five or six seconds left. I was kind of scrambling around and going back and hitting him over the middle, that was a big, exciting game for me. So there have been a number of them over the years.Bucky in New Jersey

: I've been a season ticket holder since 1960. Also, I've been to 42 Super Bowls in a row. I know it's hard to believe, but ever since the Jets, I've been there ever since Joe Namath. That was sort of an accident that I happened to luck up on some tickets, but I've been going to them ever since. This year, I may or may not be able to get there because I've had a little health problem here. But I'm still trying to shoot for it. I have a quick question for you. With all injuries and guys coming back from poor health, that should give you a boost with everybody anxious to get back on the field. How does that make you feel with all this luxury of riches coming up after the break?

Manning: I think this bye week is coming at a good time. We have had a few guys get banged up and some guys playing a little hurt. Hopefully we'll get some guys rested up, where you're getting guys like (Justin) Tuck back, Snee back, David Baas to get healthy after a few weeks since he's been banged up and hopefully get Brandon Jacobs back. So it comes at a great time. We also have a few new guys like Prince (Amukamara), who will be able to come back, ease him into the system a little bit, have him play and continue to learn. He just missed so much time, so you'll have to have a limited number of plays where he can run. So I think it should be great for us. Hopefully when we come back versus Miami, we'll have all our weapons, all our key players, back playing and we can finish this season strong.

Mike from New York City: What an honor, thanks so much. Eli, I'm just a couple years older than you and this is only my second season as season ticket holder. I've been a fan since I was able to walk. I'm also now a father of two. How did your dad raise two phenomenal quarterbacks. When did he start with you guys?

Manning: Well, my dad, he never forced football on to us. He was not raising us to be quarterbacks. That wasn't his goal. I think it was a situation where all three boys, we all loved sports. We all loved being outside. We were lucky we grew up in New Orleans where it was pretty warm all year round. Any opportunity we had on a weekend, we wanted to be outside playing football, playing basketball, playing baseball, soccer when we were younger, and just making up games. My dad supported that, supported us. He thought sports were very important for kids in building character and teamwork and those types of deals. And so as we got older and took a serious liking to football, we had a pretty good throwing motion and obviously our father was a quarterback. He said, 'I'm never going to make you, never going to force you to go out there and do quarterback drills. But if you ever want advice from me, or if you want me to come help you, I'll always be here for you.' So he kind of made it a rule where we had to go up to him and say, hey dad, can you come outside and work with me on my five-step drop, or I'm having trouble throwing out routes to my left, can you come run a few routes for me. And when Peyton was in high school, he could still run routes. Once I got to high school, all of a sudden his knees started bothering him. He just had to run the tail end. He couldn't run the full route for me. But he was just supportive of us and wanted us to be great teammates and be great friends and enjoy playing sports. He never overworked us. He just wanted us to enjoy the friendships and the competition that sports brought to us.

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