Eli's heroics against New England a year ago came as no surprise, echoing as they did his Super Bowl performance four years earlier. Recall the pocket collapsing on third-and-five and Eli spinning out of the grasp of the rush, then launching a 32-yard pass down the middle of the field, in the vicinity of David Tyree, whose leaping "helmet catch" immediately entered Super Bowl lore.
In the stands that night in Glendale, Ariz., was Accorsi, who'd staked his job and reputation on the ungainly gamer out of Ole Miss. During the TV timeout preceding that game-winning drive, Accorsi was approached by Saints coach Sean Payton, a former Giants assistant who in a surreal twist repeated the words of that scholarly old scout, Milt Davis. "Ernie," said the smiling Payton, "we evaluate the quarterback on his ability to take the team down the field and into the end zone with a championship on the line."
"I'm aware of that," replied Accorsi, who turned to his son and said, of Eli, "If he is what we thought he was, he does it now."