Eli Manning Is Derek Jeter
Durable. Clutch. Not that impressive. Impressive. Diplomatic. Enigmatic.
Derek Jeter and Eli Manning are the same type of professional athlete, albeit from different places with completely different upbringings (which can be seen in their off-the-field proclivities). They are, simply, the perfect New York sports star. They say everything without saying anything. They take responsibility. They carry themselves with a quiet, unwavering confidence that is often mistaken for aloofness or apathy because it never changes.
That's why they both have multiple championships -- they are both singularly focused individuals who are rarely if ever victims of the moment...and they're both aware of this much.
Eli on Derek:
[NY Daily News] “Well, I think I’ve taken a lot of lessons from Derek in how he’s handled a lot of things,” Manning said. “I’ve tried to watch him. He’s been a role model for me my first 10 years and I will continue to follow that style of being an athlete in New York City that he set. He definitely set the bar for athletes in New York City.”
Derek on Eli:
[ESPN NY] "I've always appreciated the way Eli has carried himself, not only on the football field but more importantly away from it," Jeter wrote in an email through the Yankees' media relations department. "He certainly seems to me to have the perfect demeanor to handle the spotlight that comes with playing in New York. He's already had a great deal of success in his career, and I don't see any reason that won't continue for a long, long time to come."
And while the numbers are almost impossible to compare -- unlike Jeter and Kobe's stats, which are eerily identical -- both Jeter and Eli share the privilege of being maligned for their sub-superstar statistics while still being considered top players in their sport. Jeter, having never really hit for power or lead baseball in any major category over the course of his career, and Eli, well -- Eli had 27 interceptions last season.
If last night served as anything other than a coincidence that both players lead their teams to improbable victories (both Baltimore and Washington were favored), it should be that this generation's New York sports icon torch has officially been passed from Derek Jeter to Eli Manning.
Now all Eli's gotta do is NOT throw it to the other team and he'll have a hero's sendoff like Jeter waiting for him in a few years.
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