Super Bowl / by Bill Frakes


I am frequently asked which are my favorite teams in sports and who I want to win. It's pretty simple really. I pull for the people who are nice to me.

Last night in Indianapolis, there were a couple of players on the field I have spent time with through the years.

Danny Woodhead of the Patriots, and Eli Manning from the victorious New York football Giants.

When Danny was a senior at tiny Chadron State College in western Nebraska, Laura and I spent two great days working with him as he closed in on the NCAA career rushing record.

He was friendly and generous with his time. And especially since he is from a small town in Nebraska, like me, I always hope he does well.

But it was a little more complicated last night. Eli Manning, the youngest member of sports most gracious family, I photographed before he was a teenager.

We weren't doing a story on Eli, it was a piece on Archie, his dad, hero of Mississippi.

Then I photographed Eli again when we were doing a piece on his older brother Peyton.

I went to school at Ole Miss, and so when Eli was the star there, Steve Fine, SI's director of photography, sent me to Oxford to make portraits and shoo game action of Eli there.

I photographed him again when he was a first round draft pick.

Yet again at the family football camp - the Manning passing academy.

Another time for a story on his brother Cooper.

Each and every time Eli has been the same. Quiet, polite, and -- it hurts to be old enough to say this about a man who has now twice been Super Bowl MVP -- a really good kid.

Sports Illustrated's best images of Super Bowl XLVI gallery is now online.