NFC Notebook

Manning's Fiancee Is In Stands

Laurence Maroney carries the offensive load to vault the Patriots into Super Bowl XLII with a 21-12 victory over the Chargers. Hours later, Eli Manning ensured his family would have a Super Bowl quarterback for the second straight year, leading the Giants to a 23-20 overtime upset of the Packers in the third-coldest playoff game in NFL history.
From News Services and Staff Reports
Monday, January 21, 2008

GREEN BAY, Wis., Jan. 20 -- Eli Manning was taking no chances.

According to Cooper Manning, the eldest of the three brothers, Eli banished his fiancee, Abby McGrew, to the frigid stands at Lambeau Field yesterday for the New York Giants' NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers. It seems that when McGrew sits in a comfy luxury suite, the Giants are, well, jinxed.

"Abby almost always sits in the stands, but I guess once or twice she was invited to sit in a suite and things didn't end well," Cooper Manning told the New York Post.

Eli Manning, it turns out, is no Tony Romo, who cast superstition to the wind and allowed his girlfriend, actress Jessica Simpson, to sit in the stands at Dallas Cowboys games. Most notoriously, she was in a luxury box when the Cowboys lost to the Eagles on Dec. 16.

"In the spirit of superstition, Eli told her, 'I don't care if it's 4 degrees in Green Bay, you're sitting in the stands, ' " said Manning, who sells oil stocks and lives in New Orleans.

"She's buying into it," Cooper said. "She understands it. Eli told her to get her thermals ready. . . . Anything for a 'W.' "

Romo took further fan abuse for relaxing in Mexico with Simpson on the Cowboys' week off before their first playoff game. The paparazzi snapped it up -- and the Cowboys lost to the Giants.

That, according to Cooper Manning, won't happen to Eli. "He's not wired that way," Cooper said. "He's very focused."

Grant Stalls Out

Ryan Grant's runs added balance to the Green Bay offense in the second half of the season, but Grant was uncharacteristically quiet against his former team.

A week after setting a franchise postseason record with 201 yards rushing, the New York Giants held their former teammate to 29 yards on 13 carries.

"They shut down the run pretty well, so we had to try some different things passing the ball," Grant said. "But we tried to stay with it -- they just played better than us."

Packers Coach Mike McCarthy said the offensive line didn't do a good enough job knocking the defensive line off the ball, then blamed himself for not sticking with the run in his play-calling.

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