Monday, January 14, 2008

Birth order rears its ugly head?

Today, we have a special guest star! Our friend Angie wrote the following rant regarding a post-game interview from one of Sunday's games. No, not the one with T.O. that made Jeff Garcia and Donovan McNabb throw stuff through their TVs:

Pam Oliver must be an oldest child. That’s the only explanation I can think of. Bad or even simply lazy journalism wouldn’t adequately explain it. I admit that I know nothing about Ms. Oliver. I’m sure I’ve seen her reporting in previous games, but I haven’t really paid attention. Her sideline reporting during Sunday’s Cowboys-Giants game seemed fine. For all I know, she may be considered the Walter Cronkite of sports reporting. But her post-game interview with Eli Manning was ridiculous. From watching lots of these immediate post-game interviews, it seems that the reporter has to be ready with two or three questions, to fill no more than probably two minutes, to try to provide insight into a sixty-minute game. Did she honestly think that the very best third question to ask was “Hey, tough break for older brother, Peyton, huh?” (not a direct quote, but close enough)??

Don’t assume that I don’t like Peyton Manning or that I’m simply an Eli Manning cheerleader. In fact, Peyton is my favorite current player, and I go back and forth in my opinion of Eli. On one hand, he’s still a fairly young quarterback who’s been playing in a tough fan market without a particularly great supporting cast, not to mention the added pressure of being the son and younger brother of not-exactly-crappy NFL quarterbacks. On the other hand, he really hasn’t seemed to perform well enough to live up to the incredible arrogance of a college kid telling an NFL franchise “Don’t bother to draft me without a trade lined up because I won’t ever agree to play for you because you stink so badly” (not to mention the stupid Citizen watch commercial that characterizes him as “unstoppable”). On Sunday, though, he had his third straight more-than-solid performance to lead his team to a road win over the Cowboys – the #1 seed in the NFC, the team that had beaten him twice during the regular season, and the team that gave him his only road loss of the season. He had two touchdown passes and no interceptions. His team had a great defensive stand to hold the lead at the very end of the game. He’s on his way to the conference championship game for the first time in his career. And the only thing you can come up with is to ask about his brother losing earlier in the day? Give me a break.

I understand that the Mannings are a close family and have put themselves out there as a close family, so questions to each brother about the other are fair game. I probably wouldn’t have questioned it if some reporter had asked for a reaction to Peyton’s loss during the longer press availability/Q&A that happens awhile after the game (after the team had a chance to celebrate and whatnot). But during the first, post-game, still-on-the-field interview? No, that’s inappropriate and inexcusable.

I may be preaching to a hostile audience here, since I think most of the likely readers of this blog that I know are the oldest children in their families. As someone who can make an argument for having had the experiences of practically every birth order except oldest (youngest, only, middle), though, let me say something to you oldest children: It’s not always about you. It’s not even always about how the younger sibling compares to you. Sometimes it really is just about the younger sibling. Let Eli have his moment of glory. Eli’s performance and the Giants win was independent of what happened during the earlier game and the celebration of the win should have been, too.

I bet even older brother Peyton would agree with me.


Steve said...

Peyton doesn't have time to agree with you, Angie. He is fully booked up making new commercials.

Cut that meat!! Cut that meat!! Cut that meat!!

Angie said...

Did you see that new commercial with Peyton and Eli both? All the talking heads were saying they found it disturbing, but I thought it was funny.