Friday, January 24, 2020

Gradually Getting Going

Okay, everybody say it together: Eli Manning is a Hall-of-Famer.

Manning, who announced his retirement earlier this week, ranks seventh in NFL history in passing yards (57,023), touchdown passes (366) and completions (4,895). That's impressive enough - though you do have to consider that passing numbers are way up in his era.

What you don't have to adjust for is the fact that there are five players who have been the MVP of the Super Bowl twice. Three of them - Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana - are already in the Hall of Fame. The fourth is Tom Brady, who figures to have a reasonably good chance of getting there.

Brady and Bill Belichik are 6-3 all-time in Super Bowls. Of their three losses, two came against Manning's Giants, and both because Manning orchestrated late fourth-quarter comebacks - completing two of the most famous passes ever along the way.

So yes, that's a Hall-of-Fame resume.

TigerBlog is glad that Manning is retiring after spending his entire 16-year career with the Giants, as opposed to going to play a year for another team. There's a long list of players who look out-of-place (and past their expiration date) in another team's uniform, and that list includes players like Willie Mays, Joe Namath, Walt Frazier and even Montana and Manning's brother Peyton, if they had success at their last stops.

That list could also include Brady, if he goes to play for a team other than the Patriots. He would look really weird as a Raider, or a member of any other team.

So everyone is in agreement then. Eli is a Hall-of-Famer.

It's good to have that settled.

What else?

Well, today is the end of the the break for first semester exams. That means the athletic schedule gradually gets going this weekend, with the men's and women's track and field teams on the road, the women's tennis team really on the road (in Seattle) and three teams at home.

The women's swimming and diving team is home against Columbia tomorrow at noon. The Tigers enter the meet ranked 22nd in the country, which makes Princeton not only the lone Ivy team ranked but also the lone non-Power Five team ranked.

The two-day HYP meet will be at DeNunzio Pool next weekend. The big dates to circle are Feb. 19-22, when the Ivy League championships will be held at Brown.

The men's tennis team will host Buffalo and Drexel in Jadwin Gym Sunday as well, with the first match at 10 and the second at 3.

The men's basketball team returns from exams to take on Rutgers-Camden Sunday at noon. Raise your hand if you've covered games at Rutgers-Camden.

TigerBlog has, back when he was in the newspaper business. His most vivid memories of his games there, back when he was covering Trenton State College (which a long time ago became The College of New Jersey) was that Rutgers-Camden was the last place he worked that didn't have phone jacks. The gym there still had the phones where the wires went directly into the wall, as opposed to into the jack, and so to transmit a story, he needed the really, really old fashioned acoustic couplers to go with his really old fashioned TRS-80 word processor.

Princeton hasn't played since it beat Penn twice in six days to go to 2-0 in the league, which is a great start as the team chases the league title and the league tournament.

Princeton will then go back into the Ivy schedule next weekend, hosting Dartmouth and Harvard. That will begin a run of 12 games in 37 days leading up to the end of the regular season.

This weekend will also see the second games in the travel partner matchups. Yale, Harvard and Columbia will all look to join Princeton at 2-0.

And of course, this marks the last year that Princeton Athletics will have these two weeks off in January for first semester exams. With the new academic calendar there will come new schedules, and this time of year will be largely different around here.

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