Manning’s play the hot topic in winning locker room

INDIANAPOLIS — After the Giants finished their on-field celebration Sunday night, they retreated to their locker room at Lucas Oil Stadium, where a vibe of complete satisfaction permeated the room.

Eli Manning obviously was hot in demand, and he spoke with reporters and hugged teammates without his demeanor swinging one way or another. In other words, same old Eli. Manning now has two Super Bowl rings and two Super Bowl MVP awards, and no one seems surprised.

“No doubt in my mind at all,” said Giants WR Mario Manningham, speaking about the final scoring drive. “I wasn’t even concerned. I knew he was going to pull it through, man. We worked too hard to get here.”

Manningham had the catch of the game, a brilliant 38-yard sideline reception to kick-start the game-winning drive. The receiver was asked what he was thinking as Tom Brady‘s final throw headed toward the end zone.

“Anybody catch it but somebody in the blue jersey,” he said.

After working my way past pop star Seal — yeah, I have no idea — I checked in with Michael Strahan, celebrating the win like he still was wearing No. 92. He also was gushing over Manning.

“For a guy who had more pressure on him in the league than any other player because of his heritage and his family,” Strahan said. “To play the way he played in two Super Bowls. Hats off to Eli. He’s definitely a deserving champion.”

Archie Manning was hanging out outside the Giants’ locker room, giving me the chance to ask him if he ever believed his family could have this much success.

“No, I never imagined having kids playing college football, college anything,” Archie said. “So what they’ve accomplished, sometimes we look at each other and pinch ourselves.”

Now the perks of being a champion are set to begin for all the Giants.

“Yo, we going to see Obama!” Devin Thomas said.

Several players hollered in celebration, the enormity of their achievement slowly coming into focus.

— Dan Hanzus

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