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Boomer Esiason on D&C: ‘It’s shocking to me that the Giants are not the favorites’

01.30.12 at 12:03 pm ET

CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to talk about how much of a role Rob Gronkowski‘€™s injury will play in the Super Bowl, what this game means to both Eli Manning and Tom Brady‘€™s legacy, and why it’s not likely that Peyton Manning will be a Colt next season.

‘€œLast Friday if you would have asked me, I would’€™ve picked the Giants to win,’€ Esiason said. ‘€œI really would have because of the way they played and the fact that they were really playing extremely well in the last five games. They had the much tougher road to get to the Super Bowl.”

Added Esiason: ‘€œWhat gives me pause is the extra two weeks, and you know coach [Bill] Belichick: He’€™s smart, he gets it, he understands what’€™s going on. I don’€™t necessarily know that there’€™s a coach in the history of this league that has a better pulse of his team. … This is one of the best game managers I have ever seen as a coach. He’€™s going to have to be on his game. He’€™s really going to have to be on his game.

‘€œAnd I still can’€™t believe, and this is not a knock against the Patriots, I can’€™t believe that they’re favored. I can’€™t believe it, because the NFC was a much better conference this year. the Giants went on the road, they beat some really good teams, Eli has been really, really solid through the postseason and the last couple of games of the regular season, and they’re just flying high and they’re healthy and they have everybody back. It’s shocking to me that the Giants are not the favorites in this game.’€

Esiason, who suffered two high ankle sprains similar to the one that Gronkowski incurred in the game against the Ravens, said that the injury could be a game-changing factor, because even if Gronkowski plays, he isn’t likely to be 100 percent.

“If they would have played yesterday, there would have been no way he would have been on the field,” Esiason said.

Added Esiason: “When you have 90 catches during the year, 50 catches during the playoffs and you become an uncoverable tool and weapon that Tom Brady has, that is a significant, significant loss.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On Brady vs. Manning: ‘€œI always say this: Tom Brady has the tougher matchup — it seems like every week. Because he’€™s playing against a better defense. He’€™s playing against a better pass rush this week. The Giants have been great in the postseason here. I think that Eli Manning has a chance to be a second-time Super Bowl MVP in this game — if they win. If they win, I do believe he’€™ll throw for over 350 yards and at least three touchdowns against this Patriots defense.

“The thing about Eli as opposed to the past quarterbacks that the Patriots have played, whether it be Ryan Fitzpatrick or Matt Moore, Joe Flacco or Tim Tebow, that Eli is a finisher. He has finished games really well this year. Obviously it’€™s been out there, statistics all prove it that he’€™s been the best fourth-quarter quarterback.’€

On Brady’€™s legacy if the Patriots win: ‘€œIn my estimation right now, if he gets his fourth Super Bowl he’€™s obviously right there with Joe Montana, who I think is the best quarterback in the history of the NFL. I don’€™t care what anybody says, I’€™ve watched every quarterback, I’€™ve seen them up close and personal, there’€™s never been a guy so surgically in tune with offense than Joe Montana in my estimation. If Tom wins this game, and gets his fourth Super Bowl, been there five years, I would say he’€™s right there with Joe Montana. … We have to wait until his career is over. Lets calm down, he’€™s going to have about another five or six years after this season, and who knows? Maybe he gets a fifth and six Super Bowl. Then I think we can all stand up there and say this is the greatest quarterback that has ever played.’€

On Eli vs. Peyton, and Peyton’s future: ‘€œEli’s got a better team around him than Peyton ever had. I will say that. And I will never discount what Peyton Manning has meant to that franchise out there. I will tell you this: 99.99 percent probability that Peyton Manning is never wearing an Indianapolis Colts jersey again until the day they put him up in the ring of honor. … A couple of things tell me that he’€™s never coming back. No. 1, the Polian family was fired, and they were fired because I believe that the ownership out there said, ‘What kind of contract are you giving a guy that can’€™t play for us?’ They paid him, what, 26 or 28 million dollars last year and now another $28 million bonus coming up? To me, that’s fiduciary irresponsibility. And then No. 2 is that never did they even talk to Peyton about who they were going hire as their head coach and their offensive coordinator. All those things right there tell me that Peyton is done there. And now the question is where does he go, if he can play?’€

Read More: boomer esiason, Eli Manning, Rob Gronkowski, Super Bowl XLVI



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