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O-Lineman play a prank on Eli's wife.


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GLENDALE, Ariz. – There are pranks designed to embarrass your teammates, like making them show up at the Super Bowl with purple-painted shoes. Then there are truly disgusting acts of intra-team treachery, such as putting a charred pig’s head in a lineman’s locker.


But a practical joke that makes a prop out of the starting quarterback’s wife?


Now that’s really cold.


“When someone plays a prank on me, I take it well,” New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning said Sunday after the team’s 37-29 victory over the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium, the site of his Super Bowl MVP effort last February. “When those guys got the wife involved, she did not take it as well.”


As Abby Manning found out the hard way back in October, the men who make up the NFL’s most dominant blocking unit are as relentless in their pursuit of laughs as they are in pushing around defenses. For all of the time they spend protecting their quarterback on game day, the Giants’ linemen weren’t above amusing themselves by abusing his better half.



“It was family day at the facility, where guys have their wives and kids come out to visit, and we got ahold of Eli’s phone and sent a couple of texts,” Giants guard Rich Seubert explained. “We said, ‘Please come. It would really mean a lot to me.’ So she showed up, which was a total surprise to Eli. She had some stuff to do and didn’t really want to be there, so needless to say she wasn’t thrilled.”

The Cardinals’ defenders weren’t especially thrilled to be out there against Seubert and his fellow linemen by the latter stages of Sunday’s game, which is a typical state of affairs for Giants opponents. Getting manhandled consistently will do that to you, as Arizona learned that New York’s line is as proficient when it comes to pass protection as it is when clearing holes for its talented trio of runners.


With the league’s top rushing unit missing bruising halfback Brandon Jacobs because of a knee injury, the Giants happily allowed Manning (26 of 33 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns) to drop back and do his thing. He was sacked just once – only the 13th the line has allowed in 11 games – and on most pass plays would’ve had enough time to send Abby legitimate texts professing his desire to see her.


Meanwhile, halfback Derrick Ward had 33 of his 69 rushing yards in the fourth quarter, as New York’s merry pranksters asserted their physical superiority with three consecutive scoring drives.


“As the game goes on, we try to take it over and wear down opponents,” Giants center Shaun O’Hara said after the team improved to 10-1. “Every team starts out hooting and hollering and flying around, but you can see as the game goes on they’re not jumping in front of each other to make a play. We feel like there isn’t a defense out there we can’t move the ball on, and it’s definitely fun when we can see that they’re frustrated.”


Having fun is something of a mission statement for the Giants’ grunt workers, who have a knack for lending levity to even the most mundane aspects of their jobs.


“We add sound effects to film sessions,” right tackle Kareem McKenzie says. “If someone got a guy real good, we’ll yell out, ‘Booooooom!’ Or if someone goes down for no reason, we might say, ‘This is Sniper Lee. Do I have the shot? I have the shot.’ To us, it’s comedy.”


Enter a conversation with any member of the Giants’ line – from left to right, tackle David Diehl, Seubert, O’Hara, guard Chris Snee and McKenzie – and expect one or more of the others to chime in as though they were included. On Sunday, as Seubert began to answer a question about Diehl, two other linemen yelled out, “You mean ‘Triple Ds’?”


A reference to Diehl’s initials, perhaps?


“You gotta see him with his shirt off!” the linemen yelled.


McKenzie, says Seubert, “thinks he’s an intellectual. He acts like he reads books, but he’s really just one of those guys who carries a book around to make you think that he’s reading it.”


Referencing McKenzie’s DUI arrest earlier this month in Little Falls Township, N.J., O’Hara says, “Let’s just say he won’t be driving us anywhere anytime soon.”

Snee is the son-in-law of Giants coach Tom Coughlin, which makes him an obvious target. “That’s too easy, though,” O’Hara says. “It’s getting old. We get on him for his attitude, too. We call him ‘The Angry Troll.’ ”

O’Hara gets lit up for being media friendly, while Diehl has a penchant for being overly chatty on the sidelines. (“He’ll tell you about what the corner was doing on the backside of the play,” O’Hara says, “or how the guy in the front row eating a hot dog spilled ketchup on his shirt.”)


Seubert, known as the unit’s resident complainer, also seems to be its most frequent prank victim, which may be coincidental.

“[backup lineman] Grey Ruegamer put a dead seagull in the back of my truck,” Seubert says. “It was the size of a turkey, and it took about eight weeks before the smell got so bad that I discovered it.”

Similarly, after the linemen held a “pig roast” following a blowout victory over the Seahawks in early October, an unknown prankster placed the animal’s head inside a bag and stashed it in Seubert’s locker. “I found it about a week later, when I was going through my locker looking for my shoes,” Seubert says. “It was pretty disgusting.”


Seubert, who missed almost two seasons after suffering a severe leg injury in 2003, is the only one of the five who hasn’t been in the starting lineup for the past four seasons. Such continuity on the line is rare in this era of free agency, and it’s a major reason the Giants played so well during their ‘07 Super Bowl run and the first 11 games of ‘08.


While the linemen seem to have improved collectively with each passing year, they’re highly resistant to any suggestion of their superiority.


“We’ve been together for quite a long time now, and it’s funny – I think we’re all getting sick and tired of all the praise,” O’Hara says. “If you look back at the numbers, we’ve been doing this since 2004. Look back at Tiki Barber’s rushing stats. We might be playing at a higher level overall, but we’re not doing a whole lot different.”


If the linemen are predisposed to humility, they can thank their quarterback for his vigilance in not letting them take themselves too seriously. This was obvious when, before boarding their flight to Phoenix for Super Bowl XLII, Manning’s protectors discovered that all of their shoes had been painted purple.


There seems to be something of a foot fetish at play in the Giants’ locker room. Manning recently found a pair of boots in his locker taped tightly together “with Fruit Loops stuck underneath the tape.” The Giants’ backup quarterback, David Carr, returned from a postgame shower earlier this month to discover that one of his shoes had been replaced – though none of the linemen would claim responsibility. “Just look for the [other] man with one red shoe,” McKenzie says. “Obviously, he did it.”


Conversely, Manning may have been responsible for the practical joke that led to some unscheduled drive-blocking one night at the team’s Albany, N.Y., training camp this past summer.


“Someone tried to lock us in a meeting room,” Diehl recalls. “They taped us in, with strings tied to each door, and sofas and other stuff lined up to block us in. We basically broke our way out, but it took a couple of minutes.”


The linemen usually manage to share some lighthearted moments during games, but their collective commitment to their craft – and to one another – is no joke.


“They’re fun to be around, obviously, but they work extremely hard,” Manning says. “They take their job seriously, but they know how to relax a little bit, and they have a great ability to turn the switch on when it’s time to get down to business.”


Clearly, these are five men who understand how to straddle the thin line between work and play, to the detriment of opponents and their quarterback’s spouse alike.


“We spend so much time together, and you’ve got to do stuff to break up the monotony,” Diehl says. “We play jokes on each other, but that’s what brothers do, and we also work extremely hard and prepare very seriously. When things are tough – when things are on the line – everyone else can look at us and know we’re going to do whatever it takes to sell out and come through for this team.”



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Dude, how nasty does Suebert's locker have to be that he doesn't notice a bag with a pig's head in it for two weeks?

Why waste the head, that is the best part of the pig!


They are pretty lame, we asked Eli's wife to come to family day... it would have only been a good prank if they also had invited his girlfriend too.

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Thats only because the rest of the free world doesn't have deadly chemicals at out disposal.



I can see Tree now..."haha, i gave you e coli"



Sorta the same way he told his last girlfriend...."Haha, I have you herpes"

There's a typo there, I'll fix it:


Sorta the same way he told my Mom...."Haha, I gave you herpes"


Much better.


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Strahan's book has some good excerpts about pranks. I think O'Hara is the master having cut our the groin part of his pants for one of Eli's first work outs and Shawn didn't wear a jock strap that day. the restult was a nasty batch of sweat nuts when old boy went down for the snap...now that is funny as hell

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Dude, how nasty does Suebert's locker have to be that he doesn't notice a bag with a pig's head in it for two weeks?


I love my Giants, and appreciate the job Seubert does, but he is a prick. He wouldnt sign any autographs, he looked upset that fans were waiting there for the players, just a rude guy. Everyone else was cool as hell.

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I love my Giants, and appreciate the job Seubert does, but he is a prick. He wouldnt sign any autographs, he looked upset that fans were waiting there for the players, just a rude guy. Everyone else was cool as hell.



He sounds like a hole. How was Plax? Hixon and some of the other guys?

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