Super Bowl XLVI Champ Eli Manning drops the Love Bomb on David Letterman Show


Super Bowl XLVI Champ Eli Manning

Drops the Love Bomb on David Letterman Show

By Madgical

After watching a grown man being interviewed by David Letterman, reflecting on his achievements, which include winning two NFL Super Bowls, voted as the pinnacle game’s MVP, twice, who also happens to be a bad-ass quarterback, my takeaway was love.

Now, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to go on the Late Show or The Tonight Show or any kind of international television show where I am the center of attention, knowing what I have to say is the focus. I’d be pretty nervous, skeptical, and cautious, knowing how rabid our international media can be. However, this particular night, David Letterman set a tone with Eli Manning which empowered him, I believe, knowing this young man, his family, and what they value and how they prioritize, to mention, in a deliberate and profound moment, the word love, and how it has made a difference in his life.

What did Letterman do on the show? First Letterman held up a photograph taken moments after the New York Giant’s victory on this past Sunday, February 9th, in Super Bowl XLVI. In the photo Eli, in his new champion ball cap and jersey worn over his shoulder pads, with his wife Abby nearby, is holding young Ava, his infant daughter, outfitted in her dad’s team colors. Eli quipped some cute, appropriate comments about the picture, taken by AP photographer Mark Humphrey, but it was what David said next that was the setup to what was to be revealed later in the interview.

Eli Manning with his daughter, Ava, and wife Abby. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

Eli Manning with his daughter, Ava, and wife Abby. (Mark Humphrey / AP)

David Letterman while perching the photograph on his desk for the camera
“That’s it right there. That picture says everything. That’s it. That’s the moment. And talk about memories that will stay with you the rest of your life. It’s right there, by God.”

The host related. Two successful professionals. International stars. Fathers. Husbands. Men. Eli got it, he listens well, and likely more than he talks. (Two ears. One mouth.)

The interview continues and eventually turns to Coughlin, the coach who has been misunderstood by many, but not the Manning family. Yes, back on the 6th of January 2004, Thomas Richard Coughlin was hired by the New York Giant franchise to be it’s new head coach, a man of integrity, sound work ethics and one who puts family first. Eli Manning was favored to be the number one NFL draft pick in April that same year but the Chargers year-old head coach, Marty Schottenheimer, having just finished a dismal first season at 4 and 12, had the first shot at the super quarterback with his earned first draft pick.

For reasons which can be speculated about over and over, Manning was not California bound. My guess is this moment in time had been pondered and discussed, often, and with diligent care regarding the direction our lives take when we make important decisions, like where we want to live, who we want to work for, or giving that subtle, although this was on a national scale, parental guidance to help point a son, who possesses qualities which can be unrecognized or unappreciated by others, down a narrow path. Perhaps.

So, Eli was drafted by the Chargers then sent to the New York Giants providing a sweet trade for the eager California team. The two men, Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin, would now be on the same team. Tom, the passionate father, would be just what Eli needed to weather the ridicule he would endure, as would his coach, in the years to come. Larger-than-life egos awaited them both on that fair, beloved team, once home to Mississipi’s own Charlie Connerly, another great quarterback from Ole Miss. The two men would endure because they both were well equipped and knew what was important in the overall big picture of life.

The Letterman interview continued.

More was discussed and then came the moment. A magical moment which brought, I’m certain, Eli, David Letterman, the technical director, the studio audience, the staff of the show, the live television audience, and now anyone who takes the time to watch and enjoy the privilege of listening to profound truth, displayed for all to see, from a man, a super man, who is the man about town in the sports world right now. The subject turned to Head Coach Tom Coughlin and after several comments back and forth between the two men, this is what transpired.

David Letterman
“Is he a motivator? Is he a player’s coach?”

Eli Manning
“Yes. He is. He’s a big motivator. He had a great speech the night before the game, just talking about, you know, the keys to victory, things that are most important to winning teams, talking about competitive toughness, is, you know, what John Wooden called the most important thing. Coach Coughlin said that’s not the most important. Love, that love of your teammates, is the most important thing.”

Then Eli looked Letterman in the eye, he looked at his audience, and he let the moment rest, all while he licked his lips, nervously, acknowledging the weight of what he had just said and all that it obviously meant to him as a man, a husband, a father, a public figure, a football player and a friend. And David Letterman let it lay there, too. While applause broke out Letterman respectfully pondered Eli’s comment, waited, and then moved on with his next question.

Yeah, I’d say the New York Giants are in a category all by themselves. The quarterback, the team, the coach, the owners, and the franchise have set a fine example for how it’s done. Thank you, Eli, from a Mississippi girl who is so proud of you. Hotty Toddy! mmh

Part One – the photograph

Part Two – the love bomb


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  1. frank mckenna says:

    As a lifelong NY Giants fan , I haven’t always lived in California , I truly liked your well written take on the Letterman interview . It was a powerful display by Eli as a leader , a father , and showed his deep respect for his coach . Nice Job . By the way my parents were there at the taping of the Letterman show . The actual taping of the show was delayed a few hours so Eli could make it back from Disneyworld .

  2. FullGreer62 says:

    Good work MMH. It’s obvious you know “The First Family of Football”. I have a friend who has a friend that lives next door to Eli in oxford. The guy has a 10 year old son. Son asked Dad if he thought Mr. Eli would autograph a ball for him. Dad replyed “I’m sure he would be happy to do so”. Dad and Son go and buy a new NFL logo football. Son goes over and rings the doorbell after which Eli opens the door and invites the boy in.

    A short time later the son returns home with his lips pooched out. Dad asked why he was so upset? Did Mr. Eli not autugraph your ball? Son says “Yes Sir, he did, then some “Old Man” came in the room, picked up the ball, signed it , and “Ruined Everything”. The Old Man was Archie.

  3. Frank, how cool is that your folks were there! Did they know Eli was going to be on? Thanks for reading the article and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Greer, that’s a funny story!! Priceless! I wish I could get Eli’s take on the interview. He and Letterman obviously have some…chemistry?!! Ha! Eli has patiently waited him out as Dave has gradually, over the years, made the switch to no longer making fun but now has genuine admiration for him. Eli is like that. A leader with a quiet big stick!

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