When asked if he's ever gotten into a verbal altercation with fans, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning told The New York Daily News on Sept. 30 if you're a player your get yelled at by spectators, "you probably deserve it."
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning says if you're a player and you get yelled at by the fans, "you probably deserve it."
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This is what Manning told The New York Daily News' Ralph Vacchiano on Sept. 30 in the aftermath of the Geno Smith situation. Smith, the New York Jets starting quarterback, cursed at a fan after his team lost, 24-17, to the visiting Detroit Lions on Sunday:
"Eli Manning has been in Geno Smith's shoes before, with angry fans screaming unprintable things in his direction. And there may have been a time when he was tempated to tell fans off, too.
"But Manning always knew better and kept his thoughts to himself. Because as loud as the boos were at times and as vile as the words may have been, he's always known there was a line a franchise quarterback just shouldn't cross.
"'I try not to,' Manning said on Monday when asked if he ever responded directly to fans. 'You can always think things. But for the most part if they're yelling at you, you probably deserve it.'
"Smith, the Jets quarterback, obviously didn't feel that way on Sunday when he was caught on video yelling 'F--- you' to a fan as he was walking off the field after the Jets' 24-17 loss to the Detroit Lions. He was booed mercilessly at times during that game, and was forced to listen to fans chanting for his backup, Michael Vick.
"Smith was an unimpressive 17 of 33 for just 209 yards with a touchdown and an interception in that game as his offense stalled again and the Jets fell to 1-3. In his second NFL season, the 23-year-old Smith is once again struggling, and Manning can relate to that, too. But he said a quarterback can't give in to temptation like Smith did, to pick a fight with fans that he just can't win.
"'Hey, every quarterback goes through it,' Manning said. 'You're going to have some good games, you're going to have some bad games. You'll have tough stretches. Just get through it.'
"That's a lesson Manning learned well during his first four NFL seasons, when his flashes of greatness were often bookended by spectacular failures. By the time he was more than midway through his fourth season -- in 2007 -- fans were so fed up they were burning his jersey in the parking lot outside the old Giants Stadium after a day of screaming obscenities at him from their seats.
"Manning never publicly fired back, though -- not at the fans, nor at the media that was relentless with its criticism. He just put his head down and went back to work. And that paid off when just 2 1/2 months after he hit rock bottom in November 2007, Manning and the Giants were Super Bowl XLII champs."
Meanwhile, Manning is preparing for his next opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, per ESPN New York's Kieran Darcy:
"'I knew we had practice today -- I wanted to start watching a little Atlanta film, and get a little idea of what they're doing,' Manning said Monday.
"The Atlanta Falcons are the New York Giants' next opponent, and Manning said he has now watched all of their games on film. He probably liked what he saw, considering Atlanta's defense is ranked third-to-last in passing yards allowed per game (276.3), and fifth-to-last in rushing yards allowed per game (153.5).
"The Falcons fell to 2-2 after a surprising 41-28 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday -- a game in which Minnesota was without star running back Adrian Peterson yet still accumulated a whopping 558 total yards.
"The Giants are also 2-2, but are coming off back-to-back wins, with the offense looking better and better as the season progresses. Manning threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns in Thursday's 45-14 win over the Washington Redskins, but says there's still plenty of room for improvement.
"'We missed a third down early on to Victor (Cruz), it was just a bad throw,' Manning said. 'I had a couple other throws we could have made in the green zone. There's still some mishaps, and that's football -- those are gonna happen every game, you're never gonna have a perfect game, but you can strive for it.'
"Manning may have a new weapon at his disposal Sunday, rookie wideout Odell Beckham, Jr. who continued to make progress Monday and could make his debut against the Falcons. Regardless, it sounds like Manning is feeling more and more comfortable in Ben McAdoo's new offense.
"'It's just good to see the rhythm of this offense,' Manning said. 'I think the no-huddle has been effective, we're pushing the tempo, we're getting positive plays, guys are playing fast, we're not having the mental errors.'"
The 33-year-old Manning is in his 11th NFL season -- all with the Giants. He has thrown for 36,319 yards and 238 touchdowns on an 81.6 passer rating in 157 career regular-season games through Sept. 30, per ESPN stats.
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