Eli Manning Tried His Best To Join Penn State As A Walk-On


Eli Manning’s football career includes two Super Bowls, two Super Bowl MVPs, four Pro Bowls, and his number retired by the New York Giants. It is the only NFL team for which the youngest Manning brother played after a sterling career as the starting quarterback at Ole Miss, which led to him getting picked No. 1 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft.

Basically: At no point in Eli Manning’s life has he ever had to wonder what life is like for walk-ons. Despite that, Manning, as part of his program Eli’s Places on ESPN+, decided to see what it is like to join a college football program without the promise of a scholarship during a trip to Penn State earlier this year. Manning met with Nittany Lion coach James Franklin — who was in on the whole thing — before getting fitted for a mask and wig that he wore to the try-out as Chad Powers.


Two things are especially funny here. One, obviously, is Eli Manning, who is 41 years old and wasn’t exactly known for his athleticism during his playing days, running a terrible 40-yard dash time, which assuredly stuck out like a sore thumb among the 18-22 year olds who were seriously trying for walk-on spots. The other is that Manning absolutely knocked the “throwing the football” portion of all of this out of the park, to the point that one offensive analyst for the Nittany Lions, former Maryland QB Danny O’Brien, wanted to bring him on board. In a way, this is a testament to O’Brien’s ability to identify talent, so he can take solace in that.

Anyway, it turns out there is some interest in turning this into the next Ted Lasso, so it is possible this is not the last we see of Chad.

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