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franklin county times

Broadway Eli? Not with Old Man Warner clinging on

By By Will Bardwell / sports writer
June 10, 2004
Eli Manning must be terribly disappointed these days.
In search of a veteran quarterback to take the rookie Manning under his wing, the New York Giants signed two-time MVP Kurt Warner last week.
Warner put up insane statistics during his first three years in St. Louis, but was less than stellar for the past two years. Coupled with his gigantic contract, the emergence of Marc Bulger and Warner's potpourri of injuries, the Rams cut the former Super Bowl MVP a few days before the Giants scooped him up.
Now, instead of just an old, broken-down quarterback who can teach Eli the ropes, the Giants have an old, broken-down quarterback who could very well begin the season as their starter.
Warner's presence will do more than cut into Manning's playing time, though. Heck, that's the last of the problems Warner will bring into Manning's life. No, the veteran's presence brings about ramifications far more sinister.
Eli's party life is going to take a beating.
Manning has probably already felt the first consequences of the Warner signing. Can you imagine how awkward that first trip to Kurt's new place must have been?
Okay, that probably never happened. But you get the idea. Eli's not a lunatic, but he's a lot different than Warner.
From the first day Kurt arrived in St. Louis, he used his position as one of the NFL's most visible players to promote his Christian ideals certainly a worthwhile ambition. He speaks often to childen's groups and at churches.
I don't know much about Eli's religious views. All I know is Eli likes to party. Hearty. And often.
Everyone remembers Manning's freshman year at Ole Miss when he received a public drunk citation after a fraternity party. Some people have let it over-affect their impression of him. I've been around plenty of drunks in my life, and Eli is not one of them.
But let's just say that if any denomination forbids the consumption of Budweiser, I'm pretty sure Eli doesn't go to church there.
I mean, we're talking about a guy who grew up in New Orleans and spent five years at Ole Miss, one of the South's biggest party schools. Eli is used to having a good time, and I'm sure he's had plenty of fun since moving to New York City. Who wouldn't?
Well, maybe not Warner, who was born and raised in Iowa. I've only been to Iowa once, but it wasn't exactly party central. Warner is a family man, too. Any aspirations of spending late nights on the town have probably long passed him by.
And with this teetotaling, family-loving Midwesterner shadowing Eli's every move, how is the youngest Manning supposed to enjoy his new social stature as the most eligible bachelor in New York?
CLICK.
Just like that, it will start with Derek Jeter and Stephon Marbury. Pretty soon, party boy Jeremy Shockey will stop returning Eli's calls.
Before you know it, even Homer Bush will be deleting Manning from his cell phone.
One by one, every socialite in New York will scratch Eli's name and number from their little black books. And pretty soon, the only invitation Eli will be able to get on Saturday night will be popcorn and a movie at the Warners' place.
Before you know it, the party boy from Ole Miss will be transformed into a boring old man. Eli will be recognizable only by his rocket arm.
Maybe that's the Giants' idea of a mature quarterback.

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