"Eli was pretty vocal before the game," Jay Feely was saying after Giants 27, Panthers 13, "more so than any other time I've ever heard him. The offense always comes up and usually Tiki talks. And Eli had brought 'em up, and he got after it, in a way that he's never done before. And it was a visible acknowledgment of joy and happiness that he did that. I watched coaches come up to him and say, 'Hey good job, way to go.' I saw players come up to him and say, 'Thataway!' For him to yell and get boisterous, and cuss a little bit ... "
It is exactly what a quarterback is supposed to do, exactly what Manning did not do at that players-only team meeting two Mondays ago.
"We need to make plays and the only thing that matters is winning this game," Manning said.
"The fact that he took it upon himself to really try and assert himself," Feely said, "I think guys have been waiting for him to do that. And coaches have been waiting for him to do that. You need that position to lead."
"Eli always kinda gives us a little pep talk before we go out there, but he had a little more urgency in his voice today, and a little more excitement, a little more energy; I think everybody enjoyed it, everybody liked it," Shaun O'Hara said. "It kinda brought a little spunk to the group."