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(From Guardian Unlimited)
It is no secret that Eli Manning enjoys a practical joke. Ask any of his New York Giants team-mates, and they will be quick to regale you with the story of how the quarterback switched the language settings on their phone to Japanese, filled their gloves with purple dye or stuffed their shoes with salami . Ask Manning's oldest brother, Cooper, and he might just explain why he has to treat his own toothbrush with suspicion when the pair get together at the family's annual summer coaching camps .
If you're after a more elaborate wheeze, then ask the former Ole Miss athletic director Langston Rogers and he can fill you in on the sleepless night he spent negotiating bushes and peering through windows after receiving a fictitious report that Manning had been seen "drunk" and "incoherent" following a college awards ceremony for which the player's mother had specifically asked him to "Take care of my baby". Or maybe ask NFL Films if they've cottoned on to the fact that when he claimed he was not "superstitious" but simply "stitious" , he was actually quoting The (US) Office .
Nobody, though, was prepared for the gag he would unleash on the world this past August. Asked point-blank during an interview with ESPN New York if he considered himself to be an elite quarterback in the same category as New England's Tom Brady, Manning responded in the affirmative. "Yeah," he said. "I consider myself to be in that class."
Reactions ranged from raised eyebrows to outright derision. "No quarterback gets to the NFL without being confident in themselves, but I didn't …