Eli Manning's controlling of the NFL Draft seems like it turned out for the better after eight seasons with the New York Giants - a Pro Bowl selection, a Super Bowl win and a Super Bowl MVP are nothing to turn the other cheek about.
Thanks to his dad Archie Manning's influence, in part, Eli was able to get what he wanted, telling the San Diego Chargers, who drafted him as the number one overall pick in the 2004 draft, that he wouldn't play for them if they signed him. The Chargers came off of a 4-12 season and New York seemed to have had the brighter spotlight.
Next year's draft can be déjà vu, but this time, involving Stanford standout quarterback Andrew Luck. Seven years ago, Manning was the consensus first overall pick. Luck is projected to be that for 2012. And, the same way Archie partly controlled where Eli ended up, Andrew's father, Oliver Luck, the former Rhodes scholar quarterback who played for West Virginia University and now works as the athletic director there, will take a look at the landscape when this season is over before deciding whether Andrew will even leave school for the NFL.
When the Chargers chose Manning, he posed awkwardly with then NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue, holding a Chargers jersey until, barely more than an hour later, the Giants finally pulled off the blockbuster trade that brought him to New York. San Diego traded Manning to the Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers and the Giants' third round selection in the 2004 draft, which turned out to be Pro Bowl kicker Nate Kaeding and their first (linebacker Shawne Merriman) and fifth-round selections (offensive lineman Wesley Britt) in 2005.
Think Manning regrets it? With what's on his resume, the team he's playing for and his laid back attitude, the answer is clear.
No, I don't have any regrets, Manning told ESPN. I've enjoyed being here, enjoyed how everything worked out on the draft day, and, you know, I'm happy being a Giant and happy with what I've done here.
Luck is considered even more of a lock to be a quarterbacking star than Manning was. Even better for Luck is the fact he's compared more to Peyton than Eli. But, what Luck (and his father, presumably) will probably have to deal with on draft day is possibly choosing between two teams who may both be terrible, yet polarized.
On one end, there are the Indianapolis Colts who have a hall of fame quarterback that can provide tutelage that can only build on Luck's already impressive skills and talent. On the other end, you have the Miami Dolphins whose quarterback situation hasn't been stable for years, which means putting Luck on the Holy Grail.
And, the worse the Dolphins have looked this year (so far, they are winless), the more rumblings there have been that the Lucks might just decide the Dolphins are too much of a mess from top to bottom to risk trusting them with Andrew's career. Then they'll make that known, same as Eli and Archie did.
Although the team the Dolphins now put on the field isn't totally without talent, the larger questions revolve around the makeup of the organization itself, and especially owner Stephen Ross. Almost everyone is on the hot seat, not just coach Tony Sparano. However, it's almost inevitable that Sparano will be fired after this season and the Dolphins will have to start over yet again.
Manning insisted he wasn't at all aware of the Suck for Luck campaign between, as of this moment, the Colts, the Dolphins and the Rams. But, he was aware of the fact that once it came time for him to play in San Diego for the first time the following season after choosing to play in New York, it was he, not his dad, that had to deal with the crowd howling at him and every hit or sack or shove the Chargers laid on him.
If Luck decides to go Eli Manning's route, watch out. He may be just as much, if not more, of a stand-up guy than Manning, but the fans and players of the team he slaps across the face will surely be ready to tear him down.