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Early critics of NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning complained that Eli has been just too passive. He wasn't emotional and looked as if he didn't care a whole lot when he was playing.
Now, after 2 super bowl championships, the very thing that was viewed as weak, is now seen as his strength. He is now the player who doesn't get rattled. He is now seen as a quarterback who performs his best under pressure. He treats the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl the same way he views the 5th or 6th game of the regular season. The quarterback who was seen as not having the fire to be able to compete in the NFL, performs brilliantly in the playoffs, putting his team in position to win, time after time.
"I think it comes from the fact I can only do so much,'' Manning said. "And I want to give our team every chance to win, and I want to give myself every chance to compete and to win. I control half the game, and even then I can't control one of our guys fumbling. So I have always had the attitude that if I do everything in my power to prepare, and then I have confidence that we've got a good plan and I know it's good enough to win, then I just go play and whatever happens happens.
"If we lose, will I be mad or upset? Yes. For a few days. But I think after some time, a few days, I'm not going to let it ruin my life..."
As humans, we tend to perform our best when there is no pressure, when the outcome doesn't matter. When we are not thinking about how important the event is. On the other hand, we tend to tighten up when the game is on the line or when the game means a lot or when we are playing our big rival. I have seen it happen too often--my team playing well until it is time for the championship and then they play their worst.
Any athlete can learn from Eli's attitude. Do your best no matter the game. Treat each game the same. Don't over emphasize any game but treat them all as a wonderful opportunity to go out and do your best. Love the challenge. Have a great attitude no matter what happens or what the event is. Eli Manning made mistakes in the games leading up to the Super Bowl in both of his championship seasons. He was hit hard numerous times. He was sacked. But, no matter what happened, he got back up and did his job.
Our goal in soccer is to approach games the same way, the Eli way.
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