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How to Win

How Derek Jeter Helped the Giants Win

For the second time in four years, the New York Giants have won the Super Bowl. And they couldn’t have done it without a great shortstop.


Yes, back when Eli Manning was going through a rough stretch as a rookie quarterback with the Giants, he received a phone call from Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

As recounted inn a post on sports writer Dan Graziano’s ESPN blog, Manning said, “He just told me, ‘Keep your head up, keep doing what you’re doing and it’ll get better.’”

At the time, Jeter was an established New York superstar, and a role model for Manning.

“Derek’s a guy, from the time I first came (to New York), that I definitely have paid a lot of attention to,” Manning said after a recent practice.

With the Giants’ 21-17 victory over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl, Manning could well be headed to the Hall of Fame. Jeter one day will be enshrined in Cooperstown, with Canton a distinct possibility for Manning.

And it may never have happened without a kind word from a role model. Now, years later, Jeter returns the respect that Manning originally accorded him.

“I’ve always appreciated the way Eli has carried himself, not only on the football field but more importantly away from it,” Jeter said in an email through the Yankees’ media relations department. “He certainly seems to me to have the perfect demeanor to handle the spotlight that comes with playing in New York.”

Whether it’s the Yankees, Giants or high school sports, role models can make a big difference. I recently showed a young woman a practice session for some high-level high school athletes.

“Someday you can play at that level,” I said.

“I would love to play at that level,” she responded, her eyes wide.

Tyron Edwards, a 19th century American theologian, said, “People never improve unless they look to some standard or example higher and better than themselves.”

Looking up to someone certainly worked for Eli Manning.
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2 comments for “How Derek Jeter Helped the Giants Win”

  1. As a Patriots fan, I wish Jeter had never reached out to him! Haha, just kidding, I have always thought Jeter and Eli were two peas in a pod — both of them class acts and high-level performers in the clutch. Nice tidbit, Mike, I never knew about Jeter reaching out to Eli “back in the day.”

    Posted by Lee Roberts | February 6, 2012, 11:19 am
  2. Go ahead, you can say it. I was your role model when we worked at the paper.

    Posted by Mike Tully | February 6, 2012, 1:04 pm

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