Dear Commons Community,
Eli Manning, who led the Giants to two upset Superbowl victories, is retiring today and will make a formal announcement at a news conference at MetLife Stadium. Manning was a major sports hero here in New York and no football fan will ever forget his pass to David Tyree in Superbowl XLII, one of the best plays ever in the history of the game. In addition to his athleticism, Manning was always a class act and never boasted or said the wrong thing. We thank him for his time here in New York.
Below is an excerpt from an article on Eli in today’s New York Times.
“Eli Manning, the Louisiana-born, Mississippi-educated quarterback who became a New York sports folk hero after he led the Giants to two upset victories in the Super Bowl, is retiring from the N.F.L., the team said. Manning will make a formal announcement in a news conference scheduled for Friday.
Manning, 39, played 16 seasons for the Giants and leaves with franchise records for most passing yards (57,023), touchdown passes (366) and completed passes (4,895). He was named the most valuable player of the Super Bowl following the 2007 and 2011 seasons and is one of only five players to have won the award multiple times.
“He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability,” John Mara, a team co-owner, said in a statement. “It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us.”
A brother of Peyton Manning, who was one of the most productive and celebrated quarterbacks in pro football history, Eli Manning was the quiet, younger sibling who instead became known for sterling performances in the biggest games of his career. Durable and unflappable, he also had an unassuming, workmanlike demeanor that played well during a lengthy career in the country’s largest media market.
He became known for sterling performances in the biggest games of his career. Durable and unflappable, he also had an unassuming, workmanlike demeanor that played well during a lengthy career in the country’s largest media market.
But like his brother, who retired in March 2016 and is a certain inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Eli Manning compiled statistics that will make him a serious candidate for the same honor. His streak of 210 consecutive starts is third most by a quarterback, and he finished seventh in career N.F.L. passing yards and seventh in touchdown passes. Manning also engineered 27 fourth-quarter comebacks for the Giants, the 13th most for a quarterback in N.F.L. history.
“Eli’s legacy will always be championships and leadership,” Ernie Accorsi, the Giants’ general manager who spearheaded the 2004 draft day trade that brought Manning to the Giants, said. “People always ask me what I saw in Eli when he was young. I didn’t see stats. I saw a leader. I saw championships. That’s what he was brought here for, not stats.”
Indeed, the numerical measure of Manning can be less than impressive for a player who made the Pro Bowl four times. His career record as a regular-season starter at quarterback is 117-117.
But to all those who follow football — and even those who do not — Manning will forever be best known for producing two of his best games against the kingly New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, the game’s biggest stage. In the first of those contests, the undefeated Patriots were trying to win their 19th consecutive game that season. They led the Giants by 4 points with less than three minutes remaining. With poise and resourcefulness, Manning led the Giants on an 83-yard drive, which included a pivotal but helter-skelter play: He avoided multiple sack attempts and heaved a pass downfield that wide receiver David Tyree caught by pinning the football against his helmet.
With 35 seconds left, Manning threw a 13-yard touchdown pass for the game-winning points in the Giants’ stunning 17-14 victory, one of the most notable contests in pro football history.
Four years later, the favored Patriots again led the Giants in the final minutes of a Super Bowl. This time, Manning rallied his team with a precise 88-yard drive that began with a 38-yard catch by Mario Manningham. Manning’s pass was deftly threaded at the edge of the left sideline and between two New England defenders and into the arms of Manningham. Three more Manning completions helped put the Giants at the Patriots’ 1-yard line. From there, Ahmad Bradshaw’s touchdown run with 57 seconds remaining gave the Giants a 21-17 win.
The Super Bowl victories were made more memorable because the Giants in each case entered the postseason after a less than sterling regular season. In 2007, the team was 10-6 and had to win three successive away games, at Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay, before facing the Patriots. In 2011, the Giants barely made the playoffs with a 9-7 record and won one home postseason game before earning surprising victories at Green Bay and at San Francisco.
In those playoff runs, Manning consistently outperformed his counterparts at quarterback, including some of the biggest stars in the N.F.L.
“In the most pressure-filled, intensely competitive situations, that’s when you knew you could count on Eli — and boy, he would never let you down,” Tom Coughlin, who was the Giants’ coach during both Super Bowl-championship seasons, said in 2014. “That will forever be his calling card.”