Following a football career that featured years of being criticized on WFAN, Eli Manning doesn’t sound like he’s a big fan of New York sports radio.
WFAN morning host and former NFL MVP quarterback Boomer Esiason joined ESPN’s ManningCast Monday night (despite not being a fan of that alternate broadcast) for coverage of the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns. During Esiason’s appearance, the former NFL MVP quarterback was asked by Peyton Manning about taking calls from fans on WFAN during Eli’s career.
“I was very positive about Eli, especially late in his career,” Esiason said as the former Giants quarterback offered a perplexed look.
As a former NFL MVP who suffered his own struggles while quarterbacking one of New York’s football teams, Esiason knows what it’s like to be ripped by sports radio hosts and callers. But that didn’t stop Esiason from calling for Manning to be benched during his five-interception game against the San Francisco 49ers, criticizing the Giants for failing after they paired Manning with Saquon Barkley late in his career, and ranking him near the bottom of the NFL quarterback list after he led the league in picks.
Despite some of his critical analysis, Esiason never criticized Manning as bad as the former Giants quarterback did when he unintentionally roasted Russell Wilson earlier this year, claiming the Denver Broncos should have given his $235 million contract to their punter. And for showing better restraint, Esiason would like a thank you.
“Eli, in 2007 they wanted you and [Tom] Coughlin out of here and then all of a sudden you guys went on that run, you went all the way to the Super Bowl. And I basically said you were gonna win the Super Bowl. I never got a ‘thank you’ note from you, by the way,” Esiason said. “I never got a ‘thank you’ note from you for being in your corner and supporting you through all of those tough times.”
Even after hearing Esiason’s plea, Manning did not sound intent on following through with that ‘thank you’ note request.
“You had one show where you supported me, and the 10,000 other shows you went against me, and I’m supposed to write you a ‘thank you’ note?” Manning asked with disgust.
There were calls to bench Manning during the Giants 2007 Super Bowl winning season, especially as the team started the year with two straight losses. But Esiason kept from supporting the urge to bench Manning for the late Jared Lorenzen.
“I will say this, Eli, you’ve given me a lot of things to talk about over the years,” Esiason added. “And for that I will never be able to say enough thank yous.”
Esiason is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, in part because of his disastrous tenure as quarterback of the New York Jets. But the longtime broadcaster may have Manning to thank if he eventually gets inducted into the radio Hall of Fame.