One day you’re the 2-time Super Bowl champion, 2-time Super Bowl MVP with the second-longest starting streak in NFL history. And the next day you’re on the bench.
That’s life. But how many of us would handle it with the humility of Eli Manning?
Manning was given the option to continue to start and play a few series to keep his streak alive but declined saying “that’s not the right way to play.”
In doing so, he essentially said that if coach thinks starting someone else at QB gives the team the best chance to win then we should do that. Manning’s personal streak isn’t bigger than the team.
“It’s hard…but hang in there and figure it out,” said Manning, his chin quivering.
How Manning responded to being benched, with understandable disappointment but not defiant entitlement, is why he is a leader of men and a 2-time Super Bowl Champion, twice defeating the team of his generation for the Lombardi Trophy.
A few days later Sports Illustrated conferred the Muhammad Ali Legacy Award to a Castro-loving spoiled brat.
The NFL’s positive, teachable moments are few and fleeting.
Lionizing Colin Kaepernick is an example of our time.
Eli Manning’s example is timeless.
Most professional athletes are not role models. But some are.