WARREN - On Super Bowl Sunday, Mario Manningham stood out on the biggest sporting stage in the world.
Friday night the Warren G. Harding graduate was a star in his home community. Manningham was given a key to the city and a plaque by Warren Mayor Doug Franklin prior to the Raiders' basketball game against Cleveland Heights.
"It's good, man," Manningham said shortly before the start of the game. "It's good to know that my city is behind me."
Tribune Chronicle / R. Michael Semple
Warren G. Harding graduate and NFL Super Bowl standout Mario Manningham looks to his fans in the bleachers Friday after receiving the key to the city and a plaque before the start of Harding’s basketball game against Cleveland Heights. Warren Mayor Doug Franklin presented the awards.
Manningham made the play of the game for the New York Giants in their 21-17 win over the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. He made a spectacular catch of a 38-yard Eli Manning pass on the winning drive.
The catch propelled Manningham to star status in the biggest media market in the world. It also placed him among the top receivers that will be available when the free-agency signing period begins next month.
Manningham has enjoyed the ride with the Giants and wouldn't mind returning to New York next season, but don't expect that to happen. He listed his chances of signing with another team at 75 percent.
"How many times have you seen a repeat?" Manningham asked.
When it was mentioned that the Patriots repeated as champion, Manningham said, "That's a different type of breed right there; different type of coaching staff than what we do. I hope we (repeat), but I don't know. I can't say."
Manningham was the third receiver in the Giants' rotation, following Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks. The thought of remaining a number three receiver when there's a possibility he would be a top-two receiver with another team intrigues him.
"I just want the ball more, that's all," he said.
Don't expect the Cleveland Browns to be among teams Manningham would consider joining. Asked if he was a Browns fan growing up, he said "no." When asked about the possibility of signing with the Browns, he replied, "next question."
Manningham's life has been a whirlwind of activity since the Super Bowl. Among his many activities was an appearance as a presenter at the Grammy Awards.
"It's been crazy, man, just crazy," Manningham said. "I've just been loving everything that's been going on. Thank God I'm in this position I am; to come back here and see everybody and show love to everybody in my hometown.''
It's amazing how one reception can change a person's life. Manningham admitted before the Super Bowl that he wasn't pleased with his play during the regular season. Now he's a celebrity in a city that has a celebrity on every street corner.
"You know we had the parade and the celebration ceremony," he said. "They gave us the keys to the city and everything. It's been crazy up there."
Manningham took the time to get in a few shots on the basketball floor at Harding High School during halftime. He was a standout basketball player for the Raiders.
Football will be on his mind in a few more weeks. That's when he could cash in, and it might happen in a city other than New York.
"I'm ready for whatever," he said. "If it's not there, it's somewhere else. I want them to go back to the Super Bowl. That's me being a team player, wanting to go back with whatever team I am playing with."