Eli Manning has already made sure his New York Giants offensive linemen were all warmed up ahead of Sunday’s Super Bowl with a pre-game practical joke involving an explosive horseradish sauce.

The Giants quarterback treated several of his teammates to dinner at famous Indianapolis eatery St Elmo's Steakhouse on Monday night, and encouraged them all to try the restaurant's legendary shrimp cocktail.

What many of the players didn’t realize, however, was that the cocktail sauce at St Elmo’s is laced with copious helpings of horseradish, leading to a sinus-clearing, tear-inducing experience.

"We had some people sweating, half-choking," Manning told the media earlier this week. "No major injuries. They started drinking the water, they thought that made it worse."

If the horseradish sauce was enough to get one of the toughest lines in the NFL convulsing with discomfort, it surely was worthy of further investigation.

Therefore, in the name of shoe-leather journalism, ThePostGame.com ventured down to Illinois Street in the heart of downtown Naptown to see what all the fuss was about.

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After just a single bite, it was easy to see -- or feel -- why the battle-hardened men of the Giants had found an opponent they could not conquer.

A dollop of horseradish sauce was enough to send a blast of cold air hurtling through my sinuses. My eyes began to water and a surge of heat burst through my chest.

Five shrimp later the experience, or ordeal, was over, complete with a certain sense of pride at having finished a portion than many of the Giants' Super Bowl stars could not cope with.

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While Manning's public image is somewhat shy, awkward and reserved, his teammates have seen another side to him this season. The horseradish prank was one of several practical jokes the 31-year-old has been a part of recently.

Rookie James Brewer tells us how he had been "hazed" by Manning just days after the start of pre-season training camp and has never forgotten the experience.

"One day Eli came up to me and he was holding his mouth and talking funny," Brewer says. "He told me his mouth hurt, that he had soreness in his teeth and he had his hand on his face.

"He told me he had a problem with his wisdom teeth and said he might need them taken out. Then he asked me if I’d ever had my wisdom teeth out. I told him I hadn't and then he said I should open my mouth so he could take a look.

"So, of course, I put my head back and opened my mouth real wide ... then right away he pushed a handful of turf pellets right into my mouth."

Yet Brewer knows there will be no fooling around when it comes to game-time on Sunday. "When Eli gets in the zone it is totally different," he says. "He can laugh and joke around with us at any time but then he gets this look on his face and it is time for business. He is so dialed in and focused right now it inspires a lot of confidence in us.

"He is a cool guy and a fun guy to be around, but he is also one of the toughest competitors there is."

So trust him in the clutch, but for goodness sake don't trust him at St. Elmo's.

Special thanks to Casey Keirnan for the video footage.

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