Manning defuses receivers trip to Miami to celebrate

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Touchdown passes, late winning drives and 400-yard passing games aren’t always what make a quarterback a leader in the NFL.

It’s the ability to take what might be a troublesome situation and calmly make it go away.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning did that on Tuesday on his 36th birthday, and he didn’t have to even take a snap.

The two-time Super Bowl MVP got behind a microphone and defused a story that some tried to blow out of proportion because receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and rookie Sterling Shepard took a trip to Miami after Sunday’s 19-10 win over Washington to celebrate.

It was the players’ day off and they boarded a yacht owned by singer Trey Songz and met with Justin Bieber. Pictures of Beckham and Shepard with their shirts off were circulated on the internet.

Of course, some critics offered suggested what the players did was wrong because the Giants (11-5) are traveling to Green Bay this weekend to play the Packers on Sunday in the NFC wild-card game. It’s New York’s first postseason game since the 2011 season.

Manning didn’t have to wait long to be asked about the trip. He started his response with his usual matter-of-fact answer.

“I think as a team we kind of always pride ourselves on being well prepared, so when I saw some of the pictures I was a little disappointed, just because obviously they didn’t pack accordingly,” Manning deadpanned. “They didn’t have any shirts, obviously, all long pants, no shorts, no flip flops or anything. So I am just disappointed on their packing and not being prepared for that situation.”

It got people to laugh, and that was perfect.

Manning was a little more serious…