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Super Bowl's hero doesn't go to Disneyland

Giants' Eli Manning makes the traditional postgame comment but is unable to get to a parade at the park.

February 05, 2008|Bob Pool | Times Staff Writer

Super Bowl hero Eli Manning acted like a quarterback Monday when it came time for his "I'm going to Disneyland!" moment: He passed.

The New York Giants star was a no-show for a scheduled celebratory parade on Disneyland's Main Street, even though he shouted the familiar catchphrase on television Sunday night moments after his team's 17-14 victory over the favored New England Patriots.

Disneyland executives said Manning, the Super Bowl most valuable player, was unable to leave Phoenix in time for the 10:30 a.m. parade because of crowded post-Super Bowl air traffic conditions around Sky Harbor Airport.

Instead, he later hopped a plane for New York for the 2 p.m. Pacific time taping of "The Late Show With David Letterman."

Today he is expected to appear with teammates in a parade on New York City's Broadway.

Disneyland's parade went ahead as planned, minus Manning. Photos showed glum-faced Pop Warner league football players from three Tustin Cobra teams riding with Disney characters on the float that they had expected to share with him.

Theme-park operators said Manning's visit would be rescheduled, although no date had been set.

"There were delays in the Phoenix airport this morning," park spokesman John McClintock said. "Our own staff was even late getting back."

Disney officials have recorded "I'm going to Disneyland!" TV spots following 21 Super Bowl games. In 2007, two Indianapolis Colts -- Coach Tony Dungy and running back Dominic Rhodes -- were featured.

On Sunday, Manning actually recorded two different phrases, one for Disneyland and one for Disney World in Orlando, Fla. The second version aired on East Coast television stations.

Game-winning players are paid to shout the two phrases in the chaotic moments after the final whistle. They are prompted to read three times into a camera by a Disney producer with a printed cue card. Disney's goal is to catch the chosen player with his helmet on and the game ball in his hand.

The finished commercial, broadcast immediately after the game and to be repeated for several days afterward, begins with an off-camera voice that states, "Eli Manning, you've just won the Super Bowl. What are you going to do now?"

Manning had already swapped his helmet for a baseball-type cap when the Disney camera caught up with him on the field at University of Phoenix Stadium.

McClintock said he did not know how much Manning was paid to shout the Disneyland plug.

"They probably wouldn't let me tell you if I knew," he said.

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bob.pool@latimes.com

Times staff writer Brady MacDonald contributed to this report.

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