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PARAMUS, N.J. — Forget that 0-6 start, Eli Manning thinks the New York Giants still have a shot at a playoff berth. And he’s got a new good-luck charm to help get him there.
On Tuesday, the Giants quarterback visited Macy’s here on behalf of Citizen Watch Co., to meet fans, sign autographs and introduce the Citizen Eco-Drive Limited-Edition Eli Manning World Time A-T Watch.
With the Giants winning the last two games and still within sight of a post-season slot, Manning and his teammates remain positive. “It didn’t affect our confidence,” he said. “As an athlete, you always go into each game confident in your ability to go out there and win and play at your best. You know that some games are going to be tough, there are going to be some bad plays, and you just learn from it and bounce back and put your team in a situation to win. I think [Giants coach Tom] Coughlin did a great job keeping the team together — keeping us believing, keeping us fighting, knowing that we could turn this thing around.”
That’s especially true since the Giants remain only two games back in the NFC’s Eastern Division despite the 2-6 record.
“I think that was a big part in keeping the team in it and keeping us going strong,” Manning said, “knowing that no one in our division was going to run away with this thing. No one had a great record and to be two games back, even with the start we had, well, I think we can make that up in these next eight games.”
Does this mean he’s envious of his brother, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, whose team is 7-1 and who leads the league in passer rating?
“No,” he said. “We support each other 100 percent every year. I love watching his games and seeing him play well and get wins. Plus, he’s done a good job of beating the Cowboys, the Eagles and the Redskins for us, so in a way, he’s helping us out,” Manning said with a chuckle.
Although the Giants have struggled, Manning has reached some career milestones this year. With a completion in the first quarter of last Sunday’s game, he passed Phil Simms as the Giants’ career leader in passing yardage. This achievement comes on top of his franchise leading number of attempts, completions and touchdown passes.
“I didn’t even know that until the other day when someone told me,” said the unassuming New Orleans native. “I’m not looking at stats or at records. I just concentrate on winning football games, leading our team and doing the best job I can do. But I guess it makes me feel good.”
The Giants have a bye this week, allowing Manning and his teammates some down time. It also allowed him to step out on behalf of Citizen and the March of Dimes, for which he serves as the New York division’s celebrity chairman. “I thought it was a good time to do this, knowing I wouldn’t have practice today or tomorrow,” he said. “Then I’ll get out of town a little bit with the family and get some rest. But I’m excited to be here and introduce my new watch.”
The radio-controlled timepiece, which retails for $675, is limited to 2,500 pieces and comes in a leather presentation box with a case-back inscribed with Manning’s signature and a limited-edition number.
“I got this about 10 days ago and we won two games in a row, so hopefully it’s good luck,” he said, pointing to the watch.
Dressed in an Ermenegildo Zegna pullover sweater, sport shirt and casual pants, Manning said he doesn’t consider himself a fashion plate. “I try to look nice but don’t get overly caught up in it,” he said with a shrug. “My wife worked for Pamella Roland for a number of years, but is now out of the business and concentrating on being a mom.”
The Mannings have two little girls, so there’s actually more frilly dress shopping than football tossing in their house these days. “There’s a lot of fashion,” he said. “[My wife Abby] does a good job shopping for a lot of girls’ clothes. There are a lot of dresses and all of that. She’s got them looking good.”