|Manning's last game as backup came in Arizona|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 28 January 2008 15:38|
Manning's final game in his brief time as an NFL backup came on Nov. 14, 2004, when the visiting Giants were beaten by the Cardinals 17-14. Kurt Warner, the Giants' starter, was sacked six times. Afterward, first-year coach Tom Coughlin said Warner would keep the job.
But by the next day, the coach changed his mind and gave the job to the rookie Manning, the NFL's No. 1 overall pick that year.
``He is the future of the New York Giants,'' Coughlin said at the time. ``It just starts now.''
For good or ill, the Giants have been Manning's team ever since.
When he takes the field in the Super Bowl on Sunday, it will be his 60th consecutive start. His 55 straight regular-season starts rank fourth among active quarterbacks, behind Brett Favre (253), older brother Peyton Manning (160) and Tom Brady (110), his opponent in the Super Bowl.
Much has changed since the Giants last appeared in Arizona. The Cardinals, with Warner their quarterback most of this season, no longer play in front of mostly empty seats at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe. They've moved to the western outskirts of Phoenix, where they've sold out two seasons in a row at their new stadium.
That's where the younger Manning will make his biggest start yet.
MVP AGAIN: Tom Brady has pocketed another MVP award, this one from The Sporting News.
The New England quarterback received 18 of 20 votes cast by NFL player personnel directors as the top player for 2007. Brett Favre and Randy Moss each got one vote.
Earlier this month, Brady got 49 of 50 votes to take The Associated Press honor.
Bill Belichick, who has led the Patriots to a 16-0 regular season and two playoffs wins going into Sunday's Super Bowl against the New York Giants, was voted coach of the year by his fellow NFL coaches. He got 10 1/2 of 23 votes cast. Mike McCarthy of Green Bay was second with four and Tony Dungy of Indianapolis was third with three votes.
Running back Adrian Peterson of Minnesota was rookie of the year, earning 17 votes from player personnel directors. San Francisco linebacker Patrick Willis was second with three votes and Cleveland offensive tackle Joe Thomas got one.
Brady, Belichick and Peterson won the corresponding Associated Press awards, and Willis was the AP's top defensive rookie.
WILLIAMS HONORED: Doug Williams, the first black player to quarterback a Super Bowl championship team, will take part in the Vince Lombardi Trophy presentation ceremony following Sunday's game.
The honor comes 20 years after Williams was chosen the game's MVP for leading the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 Super Bowl triumph over Denver in San Diego.
Williams set several Super Bowl passing records at the time, including touchdowns (4), yards passing (340) and longest pass completion (80 yards). His team scored a Super Bowl-record 35 points in a span of less than six minutes.
Williams retired as a player in 1989. He replaced his famed coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling in 1997. Currently, he is a personnel executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Williams joins Hall of Famers Don Shula and Bart Starr as participants in the trophy ceremony. Since 2006, the NFL has included a great from a former Super Bowl in the trophy presentation.
DRUNK DRIVERS BEWARE: The tens of thousands of football fans who descend on Arizona this week intent on partying to the hilt will do so in a state with a new drunk driving law that's among the toughest in the country.
The law, approved by the state legislature last September and signed into law by Gov. Janet Napolitano, requires a 10-day jail sentence for first-time offenders. Offenders convicted of ``super-extreme'' drunk driving, meaning a blood alcohol content of .20 or higher - .08 or above is considered driving while impaired - must serve 45 days in jail.
That should make it a big week for taxis in a metropolitan area, without many mass transportation options and with night spots and party venues spread from Scottsdale to Phoenix to Tempe to Glendale.
OVER THE HUMP: At least one forecaster thinks the New York Giants have what it takes to get over the hump in the Super Bowl. Princess, the pigskin-picking camel that once belonged to heiress Doris Duke, is picking the Giants over the heavily favored New England Patriots.
Her record is nothing to spit at. Princess went 11-6 during the regular season and is 8-2 in the playoffs.
``I can't explain it, but her predictions, more often than not, are right on the money,'' said John Bergmann, general manager of Popcorn Park Zoo in Lacey Township, N.J., where Princess has lived since 2004.
The camel's calculations flow from its love of graham crackers. Bergmann will place a cracker in each hand, and use a permanent marker to scrawl the name of a competing team on each hand.
Whichever hand Princess nibbles from is her ``pick'' for that week.
AP writer Wayne Parry of the Trenton, N.J., bureau contributed to this report.