As New York Giant fans, we cheered and chanted Eli Manning’s name one last time Sunday, at Metlife Stadium. I found myself remembering all of the happy (and drunk) moments Eli brought to my spawts life. Not many NFL fans can claim to have watched a single QB take every snap under Center for their favorite team over the course of 16 years (not going to count 2017 because screw Ben McAdoo).
Manning did it with class, elegance and sometimes, with the biggest set of balls when it counted most. When I talk to my kid(s) and the younger generation of fans about Eli’s game when he is getting inducted into the Hall of Fame (yea I said it), I will look back upon his days fondly AF. I’d imagine it would go a little something like this:
“Well, first off, Eli was never afraid to sling it. Win or lose, and there were a lot of losses in the back-half of his career, much like there was through his dad Archie’s years in New Orleans, Eli was never afraid of throwin’ picks. They don’t make ’em like that anymore, with everyone so worried about their stats and QBR.”
“When push came to shove, all Eli cared about was winning. He couldn’t give two shits if he threw 10 INTs, as long as it ended up in a New York Giant win, and if not, he was going down chuckin’. His biggest attributes? His toughness and his ability to rise to any occasion. You don’t line up under Center 210 consecutive times without going out there playing through pain. Eli was always there, every Sunday. With that, most Giant fans always knew there was a chance we could win any game. Especially the big ones. Boy, where there some big ones during his time in NY.”
“In his very first season, when he played well against Big Ben in a battle of two of the three 1st Round QBs selected in the 2004 Draft, Eli went toe to toe with Big Ben and the eventual AFC Semifinalist Pittsburgh Steelers. He then went on to beat the Dallas Cowboys in his final game of his rookie season. That was when I knew we had something in young Eli. That something was 8 playoff wins and 2 Super Bowl (MVP-winning) victories against the greatest dynasty the NFL has ever seen, in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick-led Patriots.”
“The history of the NFL cannot be written without Elisha Nelson Manning’s name. He handled the NY media unlike many that have come before him. Who can ever forget his throw and Helmet Catch in Super Bowl XLII? How about one of the greatest throws in Super Bowl history during his game-winning drive in Super Bowl XLVI to Mario Manningham? Look ’em up kids!”
“Eli never threw a teammate or coach under the bus and he is the kind of guy you would want your daughter to bring home to her parents. He finished his Giant career ranked 7th All-time in Passing Yards, 7th in Passing TDs, and 12th in Interceptions (behind the likes of Dan Marino, big bro Peyton Manning, Johnny Unitas, and Brett Favre). There were a lot of haters out there, but there were also a lot of people the loved Eli and what he did for the New York Giants organization over those 16 years. God, bless that man.”
Eli may finish his career 117-117. There is no better record for a guy that was so heavily debated and killed in the media year after year. Giant ownership, the Front Office, and Jerry Reese had a lot to do with all of the losing Eli went through over the back-half of his career. People easily forget that Manning went 78-57 over the course of his first nine years. The losing came when Jerry Reese and Co. failed to re-up the talent level from 2011-17 through the draft, which led to a 39-60 end to Eli’s illustrious career.
The debate will rage for the next several years, until the day Eli comes up for vote to get into the Hall. He will get there in my humble and biased opinion. It is time to move on to the next Quarterback in Daniel Jones, who should be out there for the final two games after Eli Manning got his last hurrah at Metlife. I am excited about the future in #8’s hands, but I will never forget what #10 did for this organization as long as I live.
Wish you nothing but the best Eli, in whatever you decide to do after this season. Even if it’s just sitting at home and being a proud Papa, and cheering on the next Manning (Arch), you will do it quietly and gracefully, the way you have gone about your business your whole life. We all know that if there is a pick-up game to be won at the Manning household, the silent killer will come out and Eli’s team will win.
Best of Luck to whatever you do Eli. I look forward to the days you come back to Metlife (or hopefully a new stadium by that time because Metlife stinks) and we celebrate your induction into the Ring of Honor without having to bash you in the media the week before. It will be all love from Giant fans. That, will subsequently be followed by accepting a Gold Jacket and a bust in Canton.
The Super Bowls will never go away and they will be cherished for eternity. Like “The Babe” said in The Sandlot, “Remember kid , there’s heroes and there’s legends. Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.”. You are a New York spawts legend Eli. Much respect and love to #10.
That is All,
Go Big Blue.