I still have vivid memories of skipping school in February of 2008 to attend the ticker-tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes and calling in sick at work in 2012 to go the next one. Fighting through crowds of cheering fans in the city’s financial district trying to get close enough to take pictures with my mother’s digital camera.
People were hanging from light poles and standing on top of vehicles. They just wanted a chance to see the floats and buses with players, coaches, and city officials pass by as fans from all over Big Blue Nation celebrated and rejoiced in this momentous occasion.
Eli Manning was drafted in 2004 when I was just a young teenager finishing up middle school, started his first NFL game while I was trying to navigate my way through the large and crowded hallways and study for my first round of high school finals. Now Eli Manning is retiring a two-time Super Bowl champion and I’m almost 30 years of age, a father of two beautiful daughters, a two-time champion in my own right.
There are so many memorable moments during Eli’s illustrious New York Giants career. The infamous helmet catch by David Tyree after Manning broke free from the grasp of a Patriots pass rusher. His game-winning pass on a goal-line fade to Plaxico Burress in Super Bowl XLII. A perfectly placed over-the-shoulder pass down the sideline to Mario Manningham in double coverage.
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And who could forget the pounding he took in the 2011 playoffs against the San Fransico 49ers at Candlestick Park while throwing for 316 yards and two touchdowns against zero interceptions while leading the Wildcard New York Giants to another improbable Super Bowl appearance.
Eli Manning has helped create countless fond memories for Giants fans over his 16-year career. On behalf of all members of the Big Blue Nation, I want to say thank you, Mr. Manning. Thank you for never giving up on us and for everything you gave the organization, fanbase, and community. Good luck with all of your endeavors in retirement and enjoy your kids.
No one person has meant as much to the organization or brought as much joy to the fanbase as you. I look forward to the day the number 10 is retired by the New York Giants and you join the franchise Ring Of Honor. I’ll see you in five years in Canton, Ohio.
ONCE A GIANT, ALWAYS A GIANT!