For the first time in his seven-year career with the New York Giants, Eli Manning called for a brief players-only team meeting Monday and stood up as the only speaker.
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This is highly out of character for Manning, but desperate times call for different actions. This was the day after one of the worst defeats in team history — turning a 31-10 fourth-quarter lead into a must-see-it-to-believe-it 38-31 loss to the rival Philadelphia Eagles — and Manning wanted to make sure his teammates realized all was not lost.
“I wanted to say a few words,’’ Manning explained. “I went up to Coach [Tom Coughlin] and asked if I could beat him to the punch a little bit and address the team before he came in."
Coughlin was happy to oblige, and Manning’s message was clear and concise.
“We’re going to write the ending to this story, no one else," Manning said.
The Giants, despite their historic and epic collapse, will gain an NFC wild card playoff berth if they are able to beat the Packers on Sunday in Green Bay.
“We don’t have time to moan. It’s not the time right now to start going in the tank or start slacking off or being in a bad mood,’’ Manning said.
“Now’s the time we got to be excited. You kind of have to look at the bright side of things; you got to be optimistic that hey, we got a great opportunity to make the playoffs.
"We got to go in, play a big game in Green Bay; we just got to take care of our business. We’re going to be the only one to decide whether we make the playoffs and what happens. It’s only us. We don’t need help from anybody else.’’
Justin Tuck, who is a team captain along with Manning and Chase Blackburn, said Manning received good reviews.
“That’s the first time I’ve seen it from him," Tuck said. “He actually got some cheers and hand claps because it was so out of character for him."