September 30, 2014

the manning sandwich

Guys, I have a confession. This week, while Peyton Manning was on his bye week, I cheated on him. Now before you come running to my defense with the old "But, Laura, you're supposed to start a different quarterback when your main quarterback is on his bye week" excuse, let me finish. I didn't just start some random QB like Teddy Bridgewater or Alex Smith. No, I had to be cute and draft Peyton's little brother, Eli, as my back-up.

At the time I was too busy patting myself on the back for being so adorable about my "Manning sandwich" that I didn't think about the serious ramifications this decision could make. Namely this one: I cheated on Peyton Manning, my faithful QB 1 for more than two seasons, with his brother. And I liked it. A lot.

Even more than I liked this video:

Or this one:

Before I get carried away with the likely ill-fated tale of my somewhat storybook love triangle, I should probably state the obvious. My Fantasy Football Prince Charming of the week is...

Eli Manning.

I mean, look at that face, and listen to those adorkable rhymes (You watched the videos, right?). He's wonderful. If I stare too long, I get lost in those eyes, and I want to reach out and brush those rogue stray hairs aside.

I can't even get into how the rest of my fantasy teams performed. (That's a damn lie. I need to give a quick shout-out to the men who brought home victory to the Lady Chapmans. That means you, Aaron Rodgers, Antonio Brown, Kelvin Benjamin, Jamaal Charles, Travis Kelce, and Mason Crosby. There are just too many of you to pick from so I had to go crazy and pick the guy who scored half the points for my losing team. You understand, right? XOXO.)

None of that matters, because I'm still too caught up with what happened between Eli and I this week. Sparks flew. Passions were ignited. I fell hard and unexpectedly.

And after our short time together, I wake today to find myself wondering if what happened was really only a one-time thing or what I've been waiting for my whole life.

Maybe I should start from the beginning.

Thursday came as it usually does. I had my morning coffee, a piece (okay, two pieces) of my mom's homemade strawberry coffee cake, and I went to work. During NFL season, Thursdays now come with a mid-afternoon panic attack when I worry about whether or not I have any players in that night's game and if I have anyone on Bye Week. Now that it's Week Four that sort of thing happens, and I sometimes forget about it until Sunday. That happened this week, which is how I ended up playing the Falcons D instead of the Giants. Stupid, Laura. I suppose that error came, because I was too caught up this week with the discovery that my beloved Peyton wasn't playing.

"Well shit," I thought. "Guess I better start Eli."

And let's hope he doesn't completely blow this week and at least meets his projection.

I was too nervous about what would happen, and too engrossed with re-watching The Devil Wears Prada on TV for the third time in two months, to follow the game closely. But I checked in a few times on my phone.

"Oh good," I said during half-time. "Eli is doing well enough."

But by Friday morning, I discovered he'd done more than "well enough." He'd blown my freaking mind.

He completed 28 passes for 300 yards, scored four touchdowns, and earned me 40.10 points. He'd been projected to yield about 15. Needless to say I was impressed, thrilled and oddly moved that my QB 2 would step up in such a big way. And it reminded me of the time last season when his big brother gave me 60 points, which rekindled the spark in our somewhat stale relationship. By lunch on Friday, I found myself no longer caring that he'd thrown an interception (these things happen). Eli was a new man and ready to win my heart.

And I'm not the only one who noticed.

According to, "Since getting walloped by the Lions in Week 1, Manning has looked reborn in new OC Ben McAdoo's quick-hitting system... The G-Men aren't just paying lip service to going uptempo, and it's dramatically improved Manning's game.... Manning should keep rolling in Week 5, when the G-Men host the defense-less Falcons."

Holy balls, my friends. I'm in a bit of a pickle. Like a huge one, like the kind you get at Jimmy Johns when you really only want a spear, but they give you the whole dang cucumber.

What if Eli keeps performing like this, and I leave him sitting on my bench, because I feel a sense of loyalty to his brother? I'd be devastated to keep losing. (Incidentally, Cinderella's Fellas did end up losing this week by a fraction of a point. Talk about bummer.) Plus, there's something kind of thrilling about being a bad girl with a good boy.

But... I can't just bench Peyton when he hasn't done anything wrong and is still one of the most dependable quarterbacks in the business. And he's been good to me. Really good. He's been consistent, loving and taken me to two post-seasons. I adore Peyton. I maybe, probably even love him. I can't just throw away everything we've built together for the thrill and excitement of the slightly newer and younger model. Or can I?

I have a lot to ponder before Sunday when the time comes for me to choose the Manning of my future. Pity me, friends. Pity me for winning the love and admiration of two brilliant men, who share blood and a level of class not often found in the NFL. What's a girl to do?

And just because this is a riot and includes a bit about one brother talking about the other brother, I'll leave you with this:

Current Team Standings
Cinderella's Fellas: 1 and 3
Lady Chapmans: 2 and 2

(I'm so ashamed, but I can't even... I swear, I'm never playing Fantasy Football again.)

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