QB ELI MANNING CONFERENCE CALL**
Q: How much contact do you have with Peyton this week and what have the conversations been like?
A: I saw him after the game and talked to him that night. I really have not talked to him on the phone this week. We've been sending some text messages. I've been trying to help him with tickets and kind of take some of that burden off of him. Obviously, I know what it's like with the Super Bowl and a lot of people are trying to figure out if they're coming to the games, so I'm trying to take some of that stress off of him and help manage some of those things. That way, he can focus on work and getting the game plan. I've kind of been in touch with him about that, but that's basically the only contact we've had this week.
Q: Are you guys going to get to spend any time together in New York/New Jersey early next week, do you think?
A: I have a feeling I'll probably get to see him early next week, maybe Monday or Tuesday. We might figure out a time to visit or get to hang out a little bit. After that, I think he'll be focused on the normal week, but Monday or Tuesday, I know he'll try to keep his normal schedule of what they normally do in a normal week of preparation. Monday or Tuesday is kind of the day off, where you might have some free time, so we might try to get together. We don't have anything planned right now.
Q: You guys have compared notes occasionally. You played the Seahawks in December. Is there going to be another comparison?
A: I'll obviously give any information that I have to him, in our preparation, our game plan, just kind of different things I saw watching film and different tips. I will try to give him everything that I can give him to make his preparation better, any tips or things that I saw. If he has any questions, I'd be happy to answer them and help out in any way.
Q: You obviously play in the stadium a lot and you know the ins and outs. Is there any advice you have for him, for playing in the stadium with the winds or anything like that?
A: I might have a few things for him, but I don't want to reveal that because I don't want to give that to Russell Wilson. Any tips wind-wise, I will tell him in private.
*Q: Are there a lot of things about that stadium? The old Giants' Stadium people thought was a little bit more windy. Is there light wind, is it neutral, or is there a lot going on? *
A: It probably is a little bit more neutral. The old stadium definitely did have a specific end zone and corner you really did not want to throw into if it was going to be a windy night. I know it's going to be cold. I obviously don't know what the wind conditions are right now, but if it is one of those windy days, there are a few little things that you can give, but it's definitely not as bad as the old stadium.
Q: You guys have been through these before, you've watched him and he's watched you. Can you just talk about what that means to your family? I know it's a general question, but it's certainly a unique situation.
A: I'm rooting for him. It's not like watching any other football game. If I'm watching two other teams, I'm kind of casually watching and don't really care who wins or loses. Here, it's a little bit more nerve wrecking. I don't get nervous playing football games, I get nervous watching my brother play and I guess because I've been doing this for a long time and you kind of know key moments and key plays. Obviously we'll be rooting hard and I'm excited for him, watching these last two playoff games and playing well and hopefully he can continue to do that. You know what it means to win championships and how hard he's worked. I'm obviously very proud of him and I'm hoping he can go out there and play well and the whole team, the Broncos, can play well and get a win.
Q: Does it strike you as odd that you won your second Super Bowl in what was then his stadium and now here he comes trying to win his in what is now your stadium?
A: It is pretty unique that each of us, that I got one in Indianapolis and he's trying to get one playing in a Super Bowl in New York. I guess it's pretty ironic. I guess it is what it is.
Q: There is a lot of talk about your brother's legacy and whether he needs the second Super Bowl. Obviously he's in a class of all-time greats and you might be a little biased, but of whether he's one of the best quarterbacks of all time, the best quarterback of all time, that he needs the second Super Bowl. How do you view that as a quarterback in this league who has multiple Super Bowls? Do you think he needs to get that Super Bowl in order to be in a class with the top quarterbacks of all time or do you think he's already there?
A: I think Peyton's already created his own legacy. He's played at a very high level for a long period of time and he's overcome injuries and obviously set numerous records and been on a lot of playoff teams, playing in his third Super Bowl. I don't think that's something that he's worried about. There will always be arguments about who is the greatest, of who is the best. I think if you're in that argument, if you're one of the names thrown around in there, I think you've already created a pretty good legacy. I don't think he's worried about that. He's a competitor and he wants to win championships because that's what your job is as a football player, to win games. I think that's all he's thinking about.
Q: This is the first cold weather outdoor Super Bowl. Do you think that hurts Peyton? Do you think it favors the Seahawks? How do you handicap that situation?
A: I don't think this hurts or helps either team. Peyton has been in Denver this year and played outside in a lot of cold games. I think obviously if it were to snow or be very windy, it could be a disadvantage to the Broncos, just because how much they like to throw the ball, compared to Seattle and their running game. For the most part, it's really going to be the best team that is going to win, whoever plays the best football that day. It's going to come down to that and execution. The weather isn't going to decide the game.
Q: Eli, you mentioned handling the distribution of tickets for Peyton. Thinking back to Indianapolis, do you remember one specific thing that Peyton did for you that helped you in your preparation?
A: Not in football preparation. He was very helpful in dealing with family and friends and trying to take that burden off of me and it's something we've kind of learned having played in a few of these… as you try to get all that stuff done by this week. I think they maybe start practice today. So really I tried to help him out and kind of get answers on how many tickets I can get from some of my teammates and players and people and try to get that done as early as possible so once they start preparation this week, you kind of want everything solved before you get to the city where you're playing the Super Bowl. So I think that's kind of the biggest help that I can be to him at this point. Obviously, I know a lot of his friends or family and kind of the mutual friends and family to try to get them settled so they're not dealing with him and he doesn't have any worries off of that. So I just try and take that stress off and kind of get ready so he can just focus on his preparation and getting ready to play Seattle.
Q: Is it hard to get tickets? How is that working out?
A: It's going well. He's going to ask a number for me to try to get and I hit that number, so unless he's got a few more surprises for me, I'm in good shape right now. I've accomplished everything he's asked of me, so I'm sure there'll be probably a few more things later in the week, but I've tried to help him out with just the logistics around New York and just try to help him out anyway I can.
Q: In all your time in New York, have you ever attended a game in Giants Stadium or MetLife Stadium where you were simply a spectator for a football game?
A: I went to a Colts vs. Jets playoff game, I think maybe, in '01 or '02 when Peyton was playing a playoff game against the Jets in the old Giants Stadium, but besides that this will be kind of the only time where I'll be in the stadium, in the seats watching a game.
Q: Is there a sense that you'd really like to be in that game and not him?
A: No. I'm not. It's tough. I am proud of Peyton and if I'm not going to be playing the game, he's who I'd want to be playing and so I think going to a championship game like last week and kind of just being in that excitement and seeing the crowd and seeing the coaches after that game, it definitely adds a little fire under you to get back to that scenario. You miss that and having been there before and knowing that feeling, you get jealous of that feeling and that excitement and everything going along with it. So I think that was probably more of anything where you kind of get a little jealous just in that atmosphere, but it's not so much… It kind of makes you want to get back to that situation and kind of get back to working and getting your mind set on doing whatever I have to do to get the Giants back to the championship games and get back to Super Bowls.
Q: How's your ankle and what are your thoughts on the new offensive coordinator?
A: The ankle is doing good. I'm actually getting a little ice and stem on it right now, but it's feeling good and I've been rehabbing and working out and so it's doing better. I'm excited about Ben coming in. I talked to him before we hired him, kind of before he interviewed with Coach Coughlin, and was very impressed with him and just his offensive mindset and also his preparation on how he likes to get ready, his drills with quarterbacks and the things he's done in the past, and so I'm excited about obviously what he'll bring to the Giants and look forward to getting in meetings and getting with him and seeing what I can do better and what I need to learn and how this offense is going to go and so I'm looking forward to getting back to work with him.
Q: Do you think this will be your most challenging offseason, kind of like going back to school?
A: I think in a way it will be exciting knowing that you've got to come in and you've got to learn some new things and obviously right now I don't know exactly what the changes will be, if it will be completely changed terminology and formations or if we'll keep some of those things and just bring in his concepts. I don't know if the coaches have all figured that out exactly as well, so I'm looking forward to obviously figuring out all those things and I want to get to work and I think it's exciting in a sense of kind of having a challenge ahead of me and I look forward to it and obviously our teammates and offensive guys are all going to have to do some learning, but I look forward to getting everybody together and kind of going through it together and seeing how we can improve.
Q: Ben McAdoo has been around quarterbacks for at least the last two years. Would you be shocked if it was a complete overhaul and you'd have to learn all brand new terminology? Would you think some of the old stuff might be incorporated back in?
A: I just don't know. We'll just see what he and Coach Coughlin have decided on. So I really don't know one way or the other. Obviously, I'd like to get with him and kind of somehow combine the two so it's a smooth transition for both of us.
Q: He comes from a west coast style offense. Do you have any experience at all in that and what's your knowledge base on that kind of offense? Can you talk to Aaron Rodgers about Ben at all?
A: I haven't talked to Aaron. Obviously, the Packers… their staff was (coaching) in a Pro Bowl a few years ago and I met Ben there. I was around him. Obviously he was coaching the quarterbacks and I was there to kind of put together some sort of offense. It probably wasn't exactly their whole offense, but you kind of got a little piece of it, so I think the west coast offense has kind of changed a little bit over the years and a lot of people are running a lot of the same plays. They call it different things, but they'll have their little tweaks and different things that they do, that they've done in Green Bay where he's been under that offense. I'm looking forward to learning. You may call it different things. It'll have some different ideas, but it's still about playing football and having great footwork and mechanics and throwing it to the open guy.
Q: What's your prediction for the Super Bowl? Do you have a score and analysis?
A: No. Obviously, I'm rooting for the Broncos and hoping they win, but I don't have a prediction or score.
Q: In this league, you can turn things around positively or negatively as a team rather quickly from bottom to top. Do you feel like the Giants are going to be a team that's going to be bouncing back in a big way next year?
A: I hope so and I know from the players that have been there over the years and the coaching staff and the ownership that we have, everybody is going to be totally committed to getting back to playing at a high level and getting to the playoffs and being a team that can compete for championships, so I know the dedication will be there and we're going to work hard and obviously we've got a new offensive coordinator coming in to shake things up and I think that's an exciting challenge for us, but I'm looking forward to getting back and getting to work and to put everything we can into getting that winning atmosphere back to the Giants organization.