Eli Manning Interview: Fantasy Football, Booking the ManningCast, and Being a Giants Fan


Eli Manning is very enthusiastic. Since retiring he appears to be having a great time doing the ManningCast, making commercials and even playing fantasy football. Manning sat down with The Big Lead to talk about ESPN fantasy football, which he's been playing since he retired. Manning is in two leagues, including one with his daughter, which has her following football more closely than ever. The first thing he had to learn - with the help of IBM's Watson - was not to draft based on who his friends were.

Manning also discussed some of the many aspects of the ManningCast, including how they select guests and how he was asked to apologize for giving America the middle finger while trying to explain how people say hello in Philadelphia. He also talked about what it's like to root for the Giants on camera and how prepared Pat McAfee would be to replace him on the ManningCast if disaster struck, which it briefly did last season.

Here is the full video of the interview. Select quotes are highlighted below.

Eli Manning on Rooting For the Giants With the Cameras Turned On

1:00 - "I’m a little bit more emotionally attached to it. I feel like I react more to things. I kind of put the hands on the head. I kind of get worried about that. If remember when I was playing and my dad happened to be at the game then all of a sudden you have a bad play and he reacts and he was always worried about if you saw that. He didn’t want to have a reaction just to the bad plays. I kind of feel the same way. I don’t have to have some bad reaction and it gets to a player. I try to root for them and be positive about what’s going on with the Giants. It is a little bit different when I do a Giants game."

Eli Manning on a Philadelphia Hello

2:40 - "No one in Dallas ever gave me the middle finger so I don’t really feel the need to give it to them. I wasn’t giving it to Philadelphia. I was just reenacting what I saw. So it was in context. Nothing against Philadelphia. I was just saying when I’m there, this is just how they greet me. I thought that’s just how they say hello in Philadelphia or, I’m No. 1"

Eli Manning on Learning From That Mistake

3:12 - "There was a little conversation. During the first commercial break they said hey, we’ve got to apologize. Make your apology and nip it in the bud right at the beginning so it doesn’t become an issue. Or you have to issue an apology or statement later on. It’s just one of those deals. It just happened. It wasn’t planned. I thought maybe there was a delay or they could blur it out. But obviously, this was a new idea and you’re going to make some mistakes. I feel like I learned from my mistakes."

Eli Manning on the ManningCast Guests

9:30 - "We try to get a former coach or former player. Some kind of comedian. Some kind of entertainment. And try to get a current player as well. Sometimes we’ll have a current player lined up to come on. If they don’t play particularly well or if they lose that Sunday before we say, 'hey let’s kind of push it back another week.' We want guys who are excited to come on. Things are going well. We’ve been in that position before. We want guys who are upbeat, excited to talk about a win. Some of it is just from our personal relationships. We see guys throughout the offseason. Hey love to have you on the show. Some say sure, some say ahh... I don’t know. The first year was a little tougher because people didn’t know what it was at first. What was happening? Now that people have seen it a little bit more, have a little bit better idea what’s going to happen. We try to just be positive and talk about good things."

Eli Manning on Technical Difficulties

11:00 - "The power has been out before. We had a big storm last year. I could not see the game for a little bit. I had to bring a phone out that was on cellular. It was delayed. It was like five seconds delayed. I was just in there. I could hear what was going on with Peyton and the guest, but I had no access to what was happening in the game for a while, but managed to play through that."

Eli Manning on Pat McAfee

11:30 - "McAfee’s pretty good. He brings a lot of energy. I think he would have the setup. He would have the capabilities of getting to a studio and getting in set. And he would know how to carry the weight there."