By  on October 31, 2011

Tom Coughlin, the New York Giants head coach, does not tolerate lateness. So it’s probably a good thing that his quarterback has a sponsorship deal with Citizen Watch Co.

“We have to be five minutes early to every meeting,” said Eli Manning, “so at least I know I’ll never be late.”

So customers who show up at Macy’s Herald Square at 5:30 p.m. today to meet Manning can expect he’ll be right on time. Manning will make an appearance to introduce his Limited Edition Citizen Eco-Drive Perpetual Chrono A-T watches. The company produced 1,000 of both of the models’ designs, and shoppers who purchase one will have the opportunity to have their photo taken with Manning at a private VIP reception and have their watch box personalized by him.

Tuesdays are an off day for the athlete, who led his team to a Super Bowl championship in 2008, and a victory — albeit a tough one — over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Manning believes the current roster has the talent to make it to the big show again this year. “It’s still somewhat early, there are a lot of games left, but our goal is to get better every week,” he said of the team, which is currently sitting in first place in the NFC East. “We have a lot of young players and they’re making strides. They understand more about offense, and they’ve really gotten better from our first game.”

Although Manning is making no predictions, he said he’s “excited about the possibilities” for this year’s team and expects to “finish strong.”

Even though his father, Archie, was quarterback of the New Orleans Saints and his brother Peyton plays the same position for the Indianapolis Colts (although he has missed the entire season so far because of neck surgery), Eli Manning said he doesn’t believe he was destined to be a quarterback.

“My dad never forced me to play,” he said. “But I loved being outside. This was in the days before the age of the Internet and video games, so on sunny days, we were out playing sports.” He said his parents “stressed academics first,” but he was bitten by the football bug in high school when he was tapped to be the starting quarterback in his sophomore year. “I’m blessed to get to do this for a living,” he said.

Manning said in the off-season, he likes to travel, visit family and friends and play golf — activities that don’t carry a high risk of injury. He also has a “new hobby,” spending time with his seven-month-old daughter, Ava Frances. “That’s very rewarding,” he said.

What’s also rewarding is that his association with Citizen Watch Co. will result in a $30,000 check being donated in his honor to the New York Chapter of the March of Dimes, for which he is the New York Celebrity Chairperson.

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