Though he didn't realize it at the time, Eli Manning touched a nerve in August when he said he believes he's an elite quarterback.
Many were surprised by the bravado shown by the famously low-key Manning, and many others disagreed that the Giants quarterback deserved a spot at the big-boys table reserved for the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Eli's older brother, Peyton.
But just when it seemed his words would come back to bite him, Manning put together the best season of his eight-year NFL career, throwing for 4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns. With his team playing for a spot in the Super Bowl, Manning stands by what he said.
"No, I don't regret (it)," Manning told NFL Network's Melissa Stark in an interview that aired Sunday on "NFL GameDay Morning." "I was asked a question, and I thought I had to stand up and say, 'Hey, I think I'm a good player. I think I can win games for the Giants. I think I can play at a high level in this game.' "
As a firestorm developed over the comments, Manning said his father -- former NFL quarterback Archie Manning -- suggested he make a statement retracting what he said. Manning wasn't interested.
"I said, 'I'm not going to retract anything. I don't think I answered the question incorrectly,' " he said. "I thought I gave an honest answer, and if people want to make a big deal about it, so be it."
Manning got the last laugh, but he admitted the learning curve goes on in media management, even at age 30. Asked what he'd say if presented with that same question today, Manning didn't bite.
"I'd say I'm not into ranking quarterbacks," he said.