Wednesday, April 28, 2004 Updated: June 7, 6:23 PM ET
Tracing a family treason
By Bill Simmons Page 2
Editor's Note: This column appears in the May 10 edition of ESPN The Magazine.
With Eli Manning poised to dis the Chargers, someone needed to chronicle Draft Day for posterity, right?
Noon: The draft kicks off as ESPN interns plug Mel Kiper Jr. into the nearest electrical outlet.
Didn't Eli look thrilled holding up that Chargers jersey?
12:04 p.m.: As Manning is jeered by New York fans, Chris Mortensen reports that Eli turned against San Diego after seeing the Real World episode where Frankie was cutting herself. Seriously, what's wrong with San Diego? The Clippers left almost 20 years ago!
12:06: Kiper raves about Eli's "fire and passion." Are we sure he's related to Peyton?
12:08: Suzy Kolber interviews Eli and Archie (doing the "I just want what's best for my son" routine better than Cush's dad in Jerry Maguire). With the fans still booing, the two couldn't look more uncomfortable. My buddy Jack-O calls with an idea: Archie should pull a Namath to win over the crowd, just lean over to Suzy and say, "We hope they trade the pick, but I just ... I want to kiss you." Who wouldn't love the Mannings after that?
12:19: With the Chargers still on the clock, poor Eli looks more worried than Jayson Williams after the Globetrotters started to take the stand. Remember Stevie Francis trying on that Grizzlies hat in disbelief? We're headed for a sequel.
12:25: San Diego takes Manning. Wow. This is awkward. Eli holds up the jersey like it's soaked in Vlade Divac's sweat. There won't be a better sports face in 2004 than the Eli Manning How-Long-Do-I-Have-to-Hold-Up-This-Crappy-Jersey Face.
12:28: Eli to Suzy: "Everyone knows how we feel. I just hope a trade will happen." And if not, I guess I'll just have to deal with 80-degree weather and hot chicks. What's wrong with him? Meanwhile, Oakland takes Robert Gallery, a dead ringer for every strip club bouncer in the country. By the way, it's always fun when they show highlights of an O-lineman. Watch this block!
12:46: The Cardinals grab Larry Fitzgerald, giving them three blue-chip wide receivers ... and Josh McCown throwing them the ball. That's like spending $20 million to revamp a restaurant when Papa Gino is your chef.
12:55: The Giants take Philip Rivers. Damn. I was hoping he'd fall to Miami, change his name to Philip Michael Rivers and start wearing linen suits. "I saw a lot of Bernie Kosar in Rivers," Kiper tells us. Is that a compliment? That's like saying, "I see a lot of Ian Ziering in the guy who plays Luke on 'The OC.' "
1:02: Suzy tells Rivers, "We know that Marty Schottenheimer and the Chargers loved what they saw of you on tape." Again, is that a compliment? And does that mean an Eli trade is coming?
1:05: I'm already bored of Tagliabue. Let's make this a rule: David Stern moderates any event where there's a podium, hand-shaking and things that need to be announced. Even the Oscars and the Tonys. I feel very strongly about this.
1:09: Eli is free! And the fans cheer! Is any place more fickle than New York? Meanwhile, only the Chargers could pick first in a draft that has six "can't miss" prospects and end up with none of them. They're the new Bengals.
1:26: The draft limps along as we await Eli interview No.3. I'm on the edge of my seat. Lingering questions: have there been more Reggie Williams, Dee Browns or Michael Smiths in sports over the years? Does anyone use the second person more than Kiper? Is anyone else excited about Kellen II and LeBron attempting their first 17-step handshake-hug in a Cleveland nightclub? And is there a funnier phrase in the English language than, "Tommy Maddox is threatening to hold out"?
1:42: Poor A.J. Smith. The Chargers GM looks like Joe Rogan just forced him to eat pig vomit. He claims to be "very happy" with the trade.
Also claims this "doesn't mean they're giving up" on Drew Brees. Omarosa doesn't lie this much.
1:43: Suzy interviews Eli and Peyton, then throws it back to Chris Berman. The boys look like they might tear it up at Brooks Brothers later.
1:49: Berman praises Eli for being "classy" enough to hold up a Chargers jersey after they chose him. What else could he have done ... whip it to the floor, pull an Iron Sheik and scream "San Diego Chargers, hock-ptew!"?
4:15: Eli cruises over to Giants headquarters, throws on a blue jersey and soaks up applause from the home fans. Were the Giants his dream all along? If so, mission accomplished. Nobody will remember what happened in 20 years. Just ask John Elway.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to help unplug Kiper.
Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine, as well as one of the writers for "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on ABC.