It has been a wonderful week for newly retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. After receiving news that he would be having his college jersey retired at Ole Miss, his alma mater, it was announced on Tuesday that Manning would be recognized as the 16th recipient of the Pro Football Writers of America’s Good Guy Award for his second-to-none professionalism and cooperation with the media throughout his sixteen-year career.
The Good Guy Award is an annual award that’s given to an NFL player who displays an admirable and top-notch relationship with the media, which can be a challenging thing to do. Manning has been repeatedly praised for his respectful behavior and kind attitude towards the New York/New Jersey media, which is widely considered to be arguably the toughest media market in sports. The fact that Manning was able to maintain his composure and class through the good moments and the bad for so long is truly remarkable.
There have been countless times when Manning has been portrayed negatively by the media, but not once did Manning ever fold or succumb to the headlines. He always managed to remain a class act and answer every last question reporters asked him, no matter how difficult the question may have been. Manning joins Tiki Barber, who won the award in 2006, as the second Giant to earn this achievement.
PFWA President and Newsday NFL columnist Bob Glauber, who covered Manning over the course of his entire career, had this to say about the Giants legend: “Eli Manning exemplified professionalism with the media since his rookie season in 2004, and he did so in the league’s largest market. Eli often spoke of the example set by his father, and being around Archie Manning was certainly a great way to learn about being around the media. Even so, playing in New York has unique pressures that Eli dealt with consistently and fairly. Media sessions at his locker would often start with as many as 50 reporters, photographers and camera operators, but he answered every last question – even when only one reporter was left. A pro’s pro.”
If there was one athlete, no matter the sport, who you should model your relationship with the media after, regardless of where you play, it’s without question, Eli Manning. He was the definition of a pro’s pro and a class act in the world’s toughest market for nearly two decades, and Manning will forever be remembered for it just as much as he’ll be remembered for his many achievements on the field.