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They Might Be Giants: Eli Manning's Purple Reign

eli.jpegprince-purple1.jpegWe can all breathe a sigh of relief now that last week’s Super Bowl managed to conclude without a Tom Petty wardrobe malfunction. Petty’s halftime set was solid enough, although Patriots fans would probably have substituted “Even the Losers (Get Lucky Sometimes)” for “Free Fallin’.” It could have been much worse, and at the Super Bowl, former host of the Up With People Singers and a wax statue resembling Paul McCartney, it often has.

Still, the Sedentary Wilbury didn’t seem up to the task of accompanying one of the most electrifying games in the sport’s history,won on the underdog New Jersey Giants’ last-chance power drive. That task would have required something else, and I don’t mean the Boss. I’m talking about phallic guitars turned heavenward, funky drummers fighting foo, backup dancers with rain-resistant hairdos, and the wankiest stadium-show riffing since Jimi Hendrix cut his teeth on the National Anthem. In short, it would have required last year’s halftime show.

With a week’s reflection and time off for an adult cartoon (and there’s nothing more cartoonish than hearing the phrase“SuperDuper Tuesday” drop out of George F. Will’s mouth), I decided to compare this year’s Super Bowl MVP, occasional karaoke singer Eli Manning, with last year’s Super Bowl MVP, Prince. It helped that Scot hosted a home screening of Purple Rain, which I hadn’t seen since it was really still 1984. After the click-through, I’ll score how Prince and Eli stacked up.

• The Family Stone

After walking through ninety minutes of inscrutable plot in Jerry Seinfeld’s puffy shirt, Prince (aka The Kid) emerges from the shadows of his self-absorbed perfectionist musician father to find his inner James Brown-Joni Mitchell-Sly Stone freak’s freak. After walking through ninety minutes of inconclusive offense in his brother Peyton’s puffy shoulder pads, Eli emerges from the shadows of his self-absorbed perfectionist quarterback father to find his inner Johnny Unitas.

• The “Let’s Go Crazy” Moment

Before he fights off his inner demons, Prince has to endure the incessant whining of bandmates Wendy and Lisa about how he’s too self-absorbed to amount to anything. Before fighting off his inner demons, Eli has to endure the incessant whining of the East Coast sports press that he’s too self-conflicted to amount to anything.

• The “When Doves Cry” Moment

To emerge triumphant and win the love of Apollonia, Prince has to fend off the swaggering advances of ladies’ man Morris Day, a dandy with perfect hair who wows his entourage of Minneapolis hotties by mimicking the movements of a bird onstage. To emerge triumphant and win the love of Terry Bradshaw, Eli has to fend off the swaggering advances of Tom Brady, a dandy with perfect hair who wows his entourage of international supermodels by mimicking the movements of a bird in the pocket.

• The “Darling Nikki” moment

After Prince writhes around onstage in high heels simulating self-stimulation, he alienates everyone from Tipper Gore to his own entourage. The nightclub manager tells him that “the only one who gets your music is you,” just like his similarly self-absorbed loser of a dad. After Eli writhes around on the field simulating self-abuse, his coach probably told him “the only one who gets your calls is you,” and probably reminded him that his father had the lowest winning percentage of any major NFL quarterback.

.• The “Purple Rain” Moment

With only one chance left before losing everything he’s worked for, Prince reaches out to his band members and finds the missing groove that has eluded him until now. He may still be an obsessive head case, but he undeniably can rock. Eli has a similar moment with one final chance left against the Patriots. He reaches out to Tom Brady and asks him to strip to his underwear and take a bath in the purifying waters of Lake Minnetonka. Having met his match, Tom jumps in the freezing water. “Tom, guess what,” Eli says. “This ain’t Lake Minnetonka!”

Prince, “Purple Rain”

Eli Manning, Super Bowl-Winning Touchdown

From → Cut-Out Bin

One Comment
  1. shacker permalink

    No fair putting Prince in the same sentence with James Brown and Sly Stone! Well, on freak terms maybe, but not on funk terms! Prince is to funk as Tom Petty is to the delta blues. But I haven’t heard the Black Album, so reserve judgment.

    p.s. From The Onion: “The utter lack of humility they displayed alongside an equal lack of any joy in the game, that toad of a coach, and that cologne-ad quarterback… If they have to act that badly while playing that well, you really want to see them fail in the biggest way possible. Thank God almighty, that’s what we got.”

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