But he didn’t play in the game. Actually, McAllister, the Saints all-time leading rusher, never participated in a Super Bowl in any of his eight seasons in New Orleans.
Deuce was in New Orleans when the New York Giants, led by another former Ole Miss Rebel, Eli Manning, defeated the New England Patriots Sunday night. He was both proud and disappointed. Proud of Eli and disappointed for BenJarvus Green-Ellis, another former Rebel who was the starting running back for the losing team.
“You look at those guys as little brothers because they came after you,” McAllister said in an interview with Ben Garrett and Steven Godfrey on The Flagship, a show broadcasted by Rebel Sports Radio. “You’re extremely happy for them. You’re extremely proud. You want them to continue the tradition.”
With the win, Manning entered elite company. He won his second Super Bowl and became one of only five quarterbacks in NFL history to win two Super Bowl MVPs. He set a Super Bowl record with nine completions to open the game.
“I felt like the Giants would win, but I was just happy that Ole Miss was represented with guys on the Giants, as well as New England,” McAllister said. “Benjarvus played extremely well. But I knew if Eli had an opportunity to pull it off, he would. They got hot at the right time. It’s hard to consider that team lost seven games. They got hot at the right time. That’s how the NFL is.”
Manning, who passed for 296 yards on 30 of 40 passing with one touchdown, led the game-winning scoring drive with 3:46 left in the game.
It was the seventh four-quarter comeback led by Manning this season, and on the biggest stage in sports, no less.
McAllister knows Manning’s fourth-quarter heroics all too well. In his last game in an Ole Miss uniform, McAllister had a front row seat for Manning’s comeback efforts against West Virginia in the Music City Bowl.
Down 49-16 in the fourth quarter, Manning entered the game to replace starter Romaro Miller. Ole Miss scored 22 unanswered points. The Rebels lost, 49-38.
“I can go back to my last game in the Music City Bowl. We were playing West Virginia and we were just getting hammered. They put Eli in in the fourth quarter and I’ll be danged if he didn’t rally us,” McAllister said. “We felt like if we could’ve gotten him one more possession, we would have won that game. That’s my one experience with him. His demeanor doesn’t change as far as how he handles the game.”
Now Manning is knocking on the door of the Hall of Fame. McAllister said Manning all but solidified his spot in Canton.
“In my opinion, he’s qualified himself to be a Hall of Famer,” he said. “Right now, you’re in a passing era. You had three guys that threw for 5,000 yards this year. That had never been done before previously but by two other guys. The numbers as far as passing yards are inflated as far as this era is concerned. But one thing you cannot discount is he’s Super Bowl MVP twice and he’s won two Super Bowls. That boosts his resume as far as what he’s accomplished on the field.”
As for McAllister, a coaching career could be in his future. Reports have surfaced that he could be named to the Ole Miss coaching staff in some capacity. McAllister said there is mutual interest from both parties.
“There’s mutual interest from both parties. Will something happen? There’s a possibility. But up until this point, it has not,” he said.
“Anything that I can do to help turn the program around, then that’s what I’m going to try to do. If there’s a position for me, then I’m obviously going to have to weigh it hard and pursue it.”
McAllister said his pro and college experiences would be a benefit in his coaching career.
“I’ve always felt like I’ve got too much knowledge not to pass it along. I’ve been in two great systems. I was drafted by Jim Haslett and Mike McCarthy and then with the opportunity to play under Coach (Sean) Peyton, I’ve just been around a lot of great offensive minds.
“Even in college, you talk about Coach (David) Cutcliffe as well as Coach (Tommy) Tuberville, I’ve been blessed to be around some great offensive minds. Not to pass it on, I would not only be cheating myself but future players, as well.”
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