After 16 years and a pair of Super Bowl trophies leading the New York Giants, Eli Manning will retire from football. Big Blue traded for Manning in 2004 on draft night, a decision the would shape the franchise forever.
On April 24, 2004, Eli Manning was drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers and traded to the New York Giants for fourth overall pick Phillip Rivers along with a plethora of other draft picks. The trade would prove to be one of the most important moves the franchise made in its 95 years of existence.
Manning would become the only quarterback in franchise history to lead Big Blue to two Super Bowl victories while also being the only player to wear a Giants uniform for sixteen years. On January 24, 2020, Manning will hold his final press conference to announce his retirement.
Always leading by example and known as a hard worker, Eli Manning not only exemplified but set the standard for what it means to be a New York Giant. Polite but stern, respectful but sarcastically witty and always interacting with the media regardless of how bad he or the team played. He was the consummate professional and held in high esteem by his colleagues across the league, former teammates, coaches, employers, and even the media.
Not once did he point his finger at anyone other than himself when things were bad, he would shoulder the blame and promise to keep working and improve. The Athletic’s Dan Duggan wrote a piece back in December as the NFL regular season was coming to a close, detailing how much Eli meant to his former teammates and some of their fondest memories (subscription required).