In a matter of minutes, my immense feelings of pride for New York were juxtaposed with feelings of rage and discontent.
As Eli Manning received his MVP award standing next to his wife, Abby — with her “pro football wife” clichéd good looks — and their adorable daughter, Ava, I cheered along with the rest of New York.
But when Dan Patrick, former “SportsCenter” anchorman and current NBC Sports studio host/Sports Illustrated columnist, handed Manning the keys to a 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Convertible, I put my hands down.
After every Super Bowl, the winning team is awarded the Vince Lombardi Trophy and the best player of the game is given the MVP trophy in addition to a personal gift.
The Lombardi trophy, which stands 22 inches tall in pure sterling silver, represents more than just a game. It epitomizes the energy and perseverance that every player on the field upholds.
Vince Lombardi was one of the best football coaches in the history of the game. He played at Fordham University on a scholarship and went on to coach at the U.S. Military Academy. In 1954, Lombardi coached the New York Giants and in 1959, he was named head coach and general manager of the Green Bay Packers.
Lombardi won two straight Super Bowls with the Packers and, as a head coach, never finished a season with a losing record.
In June 1970, Lombardi was admitted to the hospital with colon cancer. Before he died, then-President Richard Nixon called Lombardi to ensure him that all of America was fighting for him. Sadly, Lombardi died on Sept. 3, 1970.
A few days later, about 1,500 people filled the streets of New York to honor a hero. Lombardi was able to pull together his own crowd of fans regardless of team preference — he truly was a legend.
The legacy that Lombardi left behind is what inspires a team to win, and to receive a trophy in his name is an accomplishment in and of itself. To give the MVP a second personal trophy is one thing, but to then also award them a brand new car completely diminishes such an honor.
A car is no more than a superfluous commodity. It serves no purpose or significance in the spirit of the game. In this respect, it’s just a commercial masquerading as grandeur. How can anyone compare the donation of a nearly $100,000 car to the pride of actually earning and winning the Vince Lombardi Trophy?
Hell, even Eli Manning walked away without the keys.
In addition to the fact that donating a car is awfully acquisitive, it is also just a pure waste of money. I don’t think anyone has to question whether Manning can afford 10 of those cars on his own, nor does anyone have to question whether the majority of the population can afford merely the tires of that car.
In regards to Manning giving the car to his daughter, Ava, Fox Sports wrote, “The automobile is a trophy, an expensive token to go with her father’s Super Bowl MVP award.” To me, that car is no more than a token of greed and materialism, and serves no significance in such a monumental event.
The trophy stands for all that Vince Lombardi created and left behind. The car gaudily stands for a wasted $72,000.