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Sportsman

My Sportsman: Eli Manning

Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Dec. 3. This year we asked a select group of people from outside the staff to offer nominations for that honor. Actor and comedian Tracy Morgan's selection was Giants quarterback Eli Manning, and he explains why below as told to Richard Deitsch. Please vote for your Inspiring Performer, Photo of the Year and Moment of the Year at our Facebook page.

I got two words for you: fourth quarter. Eli Manning is my Sportsman of the Year because I remember when we were 7-7 and we weren't sh--. I'm a diehard Giants fan and he took us from a 7-7 team to winning the Super Bowl. There's no quarterback I'd rather have over Eli. No. No. Never. Eli is my guy.

I've been a Giants fan my whole life, going back to 1968 when I was born. I did have a couple of years where I was a Dallas Cowboys fan because of Tony Dorsett, who is my biological father. But I go to their games almost every week and I'm friends with Giants co-owner Steve Tisch and his son, Will. For the Super Bowl this year in Indianapolis, I sat next to Aaron Rodgers in a box seat. Michael Strahan and Nicole Murphy were also there. Everybody was there. We were all having a good time. And one word describes my feeling when Mario Manningham caught that ball: Hallelujah.

I've never talked to Eli but I'm looking forward to doing so one day. I would love to meet Eli. He gets people together, and I like that. The guy is a true leader, and he keeps everybody together. I'd rather have him than Peyton. He's already better than his brother. He has two Super Bowls wins and two Super Bowl MVPs! He's just low key, you know. We like it like that. I would not take any other quarterback.

Eli has the mark of a champion, like Michael Jordan. When things count, when things are on the line, he wants the rock in his hands. He can bring his team back and that's the mark of a champion. He's the dagger! The dagger! It's the same thing Joe Montana had. There can be three seconds left on the clock. He's in the huddle, everybody is worried, everybody is saying, "Where we going to eat after this?" Well, Eli's going to Disneyworld. This is what's on his mind.

Tracy Morgan appears weekly on NBC's "30 Rock" and his latest projects can be found at his website.

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