Quoth the Raven
Some ramblings on my experiences with public relations

When standing your ground pays off

Victory!

After years of fruitless seasons, my New York Giants have won the Superbowl – and in spectacular fashion. By ending the New England Patriots’ potentially perfect season and engineering one of the biggest upsets of all time, they have carved themselves a place in football history.

Though the entire team played an amazing game, the win was largely attributable to this man:

Eli Manning

Eli Manning came to the Giants as a result of a trade in 2004, replacing a string of not-so-successful quarterbacks in the years previous. He had been the number one draft pick in that year, and was expected to reach a skill level similar to his very succesful older brother, the Indianapolis Colts’ Peyton Manning.

But here’s the catch: he SUCKED.

I’ve been a Giants fan since I was a little girl – my dad cheered for them growing up, and I always watched the games with him on Sunday. And he, and every other fan I’ve talked to over the last few years, agreed that Manning was woeful. He couldn’t withstand pressure, he couldn’t make smart passes, and he couldn’t step into the leadership role that a quarterback is expected to take.

There were rare glimpses of brilliance, though, and maybe that’s why the franchise continued to demonstrate such unwavering faith in him. At every news conference and in every public statement, the message was clear: Eli Manning is, and will remain, our quarterback for the forseeable future.

This didn’t stop fans from questioning the Giants’ judgment. Michael Eisen, a writer and editor for the team’s official website, giants.com , answers fan mail on a weekly basis, and the questions often concern the young quarterback. At the end of 2007, Eisen received the following query:

“In my opinion Eli Manning is not the QB of the future for the Giants. With that said do we trade for a QB next year or for a higher draft pick to acquire another rookie QB? Or do we go with Jared Lorenzon and see what his big arm can bring us? – Richard”

Eisen did not mince words in his response:

“Dear Richard,

Neither. Eli Manning is the quarterback today and for the foreseeable tomorrow. He is not going anywhere. Deal with it.”

The Giants organization couldn’t ensure that Manning would deliver on his raw potential, or that the gamble of hanging on to him would pay off in the end. However, that was their belief, and they always maintained a strong, united front on the issue, even if it meant becoming increasingly firm in their public statements.

In December, it paid off.

In their last regular-season game, against the New England Patriots, Manning got confident. He began completing passes, remaining unflappable in the face of pressure, and taking ownership of the team. All of a sudden, he became the player everyone had expected him to be all along, and ultimately the player that lead his team to Superbowl victory by making plays like this:

And now, the Giants look like geniuses.

It would have been easy to give up on Eli Manning, especially since the fans so clearly wanted him gone, and no sports franchise can exist without people buying tickets. But the Giants emphasized that, though they greatly valued fan input and support, the decision to keep Manning would pay off in the end. Now, with the Superbowl’s Most Valuable Player on their hand, the Giants’ staff (and their communications team) have been vindicated.

Let’s see someone ask for him to be traded now.

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4 Responses to “When standing your ground pays off”

  1. Kate, I really love that you love football so much!

    From you, I learned the difference between a down and touchdown.
    From you, I learned that football uses quarters not periods.
    From you, I learned that the superbowl can be ideally replicated by rice krispie squares.

    Thank you.

    haha, but really, I really dig that you are so into it, it’s terrific!

  2. Eli pulled off the big drive they needed, with a miracle moment in the middle there that could have gone either way. But he pulled it off. So I do give him SOME credit. That was a WOW moment when he escaped the sack and threw a bullet that the receiver held onto in miracle fashion (this was nearly worthy of Immaculate Reception status as he held it against his helmet and didn’t lose it when he hit the ground – slammed to the ground).
    But credit must go ultimately to where it is deserved and NONE of that victory was remotely possible if the Giants defence hadn’t played smash-mouth on the Patriots offensive line. That defensive front was the superbowl MVP, no matter how you package it.
    Without 60 minutes of guts from those guys, Eli would have gone down 24-17, with the final touchdown coming late in the game when it was already over.

  3. I completely agree, David – the Giants would likely not have won that game without solid play from the defense. However, from a PR standpoint, the capabilities of the defensive line were never called into question; the fans knew they had a great defense on their hands, and trusted them to do their jobs. (And they’ll hopefully continue to do so in the future, especially now that Steve Spagnuolo has decided to stay on.)

    There was extraordinary pressure from fans to get rid of Manning though, and the fact that he’s finally become a solid quarterback makes the team look all the smarter for holding onto him and stating repeatedly that he’s the quarterback of the future. Hopefully this same guy shows up again next season…

  4. OK – I see where you’re coming from. Yes, you’re right, they look good for staying the course. In sports that’s more often not a good thing, but when it pays off, it looks even smarter.
    Nice design on the website, by the way. Looks good.


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