New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning ended his illustrious 16-year career at an emotional ceremony at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in New Jersey on Friday. The 39-year-old confirmed his retirement on Wednesday and unsurprisingly got emotional during his final Giants press conference. Manning will go down as one of the greatest players of all-time in the National Football League (NFL).
In 2004, Eli Manning was drafted by the San Diego Chargers but was immediately traded to the Giants. He made an astonishing 210 consecutive regular-season starts from his rookie season until 2017. He is the only player in franchise history to play for 16 seasons and his 236 regular-season games (234 starts) and 248 total games are both Giants records. Manning finishes his NFL career with 57,023 passing yards and 366 touchdowns.
Despite his regular-season exploits, Eli Manning etched his name in Giants history books when he ended their 17-year wait for a Super Bowl in 2007 before helping them win it again in 2011.
Manning's retirement ceremony was attended by his former Giants coach Tom Coughlin, his agent Tom Condon, his parents Archie and Olivia, his wife Abby and their four children. With his family occupying the front row seats and his teammates and several of his friends present, Eli Manning addressed the media for one last time. With tears rolling down his face, Manning admitted that the press conference wasn't as easy as he thought it would be. Manning stated that he thinks he rushed with the decision but has no regrets. Having spent his entire career with New York Giants, Manning expressed his gratitude to the franchise, thanking his family, Giants staff, officials and his teammates.
"I hope that I've represented the organization in the way that you wanted me to from my first day to my last. Once a Giant, always a Giant. For me, it's only a Giant." - Eli Manning
New York Giants CEO John Mara paid tribute to the retiring Giants legend, stating that everyone present at the ceremony were happy for Manning, who had an incredible career in the NFL. And Mara believes that the 39-year-old rightly earned the reception he received from the franchise and the sport's fans. Mara further added that after Manning, no player in Giants history will don the iconic No.10 Giants jersey.
Congratulations on your retirement, and a great career Eli! Not going to lie though, I wish you hadn’t won any Super Bowls.— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 24, 2020
New York Giants won both their Super Bowls, beating Tom Brady's New England Patriots. Eli Manning not only outplayed his counterpart but also won the Super Bowl MVP in both the games. The two quarterbacks shared an intense rivalry on the field, but Manning noted that they always shared mutual respect off the field.