NEW ORLEANS, La – From his Garden District home in New Orleans, Archie Manning allegedly told close friends that he arranged for his sons, both NFL quarterbacks, to switch teams in Week 17 of the 2007 NFL season.
The source, who spoke under condition of anonymity, told reporters about the underground “trade”. “Archie had a bunch of us over for a barbecue one night, and over a couple of beers he mentions something about how well Peyton’s been doing since Week 17. We all asked him ‘What are you talking about?’ because, you know, he’d been doing pretty bad, and the Colts even lost their playoff game.”
At this point, the source said, Archie Manning knew he had slipped up. “I guess he figured that he’d already let the cat out of the bag, because he started telling us about how he had Peyton and Eli switch teams right after Week 16.” Apparently, no one, not even the players or coaches, were keen to the difference.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin has since been reached for comment, saying, “I thought Eli sounded a little less dumb lately, but then again I figured he was just coming into his own. I guess it was just too good to be true.”
Running back Brandon Jacobs also noticed a slight difference in “Eli” but again attributed it only to improved effort. “When he stopped throwing picks, I was like ‘Damn dawg, nice game.’ I shoulda [sic] known it was Peyton the whole damn time.”
Others, however, claimed they had an inkling that something had happened. Wide receiver Amani Toomer told the press, “I know something was up when he started throwing perfect spirals, hitting his receivers in stride and stopped holding onto the ball for so long.” Toomer did not, however, consider that Eli had switched teams with brother Peyton. “I just figured he had some robotics shit put in his arm; you know, like the Six Million Dollar Man,” Toomer said.
The unnamed source told reporters Archie Manning arranged for his sons to switch teams when he saw the Giants were going to play the unbeaten Patriots in Week 17. “He said something like, ‘I knew Peyton would have a better chance at beating them than Eli would.’ Then he said he was so damned impressed with how Peyton played with the Giants that he decided to keep him in on the New York squad for the rest of the playoffs.”
Although Archie Manning could not be reached for comment, most football experts are acknowledging that the allegation is “probably true.” “Just look at how different Eli played before and after Week 17 – The differences are astounding,” said former quarterback and ESPN football analyst Steve Young. “In my mind, I just think there’s no way a player could turn himself around like that so quickly. In addition to that, look at how poorly the Colts performed in the same time period. ‘Peyton’ looked nothing like himself, and that’s probably because he was Eli.”
Michael Irvin, a former commentator on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, commented on a Dallas radio show that he’s certain the two players switched. “That nigga [Peyton Manning] can play some muthafuckin’ football now, fo’ real. That other nigga [Eli Manning] sucks mo’ dick than a Goddamn Jenna Jameson. I mean, them niggas had ta switch. It’s obvious, yo.”
The NFL is reportedly set on investigating the case. Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters Friday, “We will find out if these allegations are true, probably after the Superbowl. I don’t want to bother the teams right now, as they’re still preparing for the big one. But after the Superbowl, you can bet that we’ll look into it. Unless you’re a player – No betting for them.”