Eli Manning is prepared to compose the last chapter of his historic career.
Truly outstanding, most famous and most brightened players in Giants’ history, Manning, a two-time Super Bowl champ and most significant player, will declare his retirement Friday, finishing a 16-year career went through completely with the group he participated in a draft-day trade in 2004.
“For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field,” said John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer. “Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise’s history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor shortly.”
“We are proud to have called Eli Manning our quarterback for so many years,” said Steve Tisch, Giants chairman, and executive vice president. “Eli was driven to always do what was best for the team. Eli leaves a timeless legacy with two Super Bowl titles on the field and his philanthropic work off the field, which has inspired and impacted so many people. We are sincerely thankful for everything Eli has given our team and community. He will always be a Giant among Giants.”
Ernie Accorsi was the general manager who traded for Manning. Even though he retired after the 2006 season, Accorsi has stayed an individual from the Giants’ family and has followed Manning’s career intently.
“I learned very early that you evaluate quarterbacks on their ability to win championships, and to do it late in a game when the game is on the line, that they’re able to take a team down the field and into the end zone to win a title,” Accorsi said. “The second thing is to know that over years, he’s always going to be there. Those kinds of quarterbacks always give you a chance to win, and for 16 years, he did that for this franchise. He won championships and he was always there giving us a chance to win. I don’t know how you can ask more from a quarterback.”
Manning’s first 183 regular-season and 11 postseason begins were for Tom Coughlin, the Giants’ head coach from 2004-15.
“It was an honor and privilege to coach Eli, and to go through the wonderful and magnificent moments that he and his teammates provided for all of us in the world championship ’07-’08 and ’11-’12 seasons,” Coughlin said. “The New York Giants, flagship franchise of the National Football League, have four world championships You have four trophies sitting there. You have (Phil) Simms, you have (Jeff) Hostetler, and you have Eli for two. Eli Manning not only is the quarterback on those great teams, but he is the MVP of the Super Bowls. He’s an incredible big-game performer. You talk about a guy that’s great to coach, focused every day, took tremendous pride in preparing, practice, had a great sense of humor, was a cynic in the locker room. But the guys loved him and they loved him for it, and they played for him. The guys that had the opportunity to play with him know what it’s like to be with a guy with as much talent, as much grit, as much determination.
“Here goes the retirement of a great, great football Giant. I and my coaching staff and our teams from 2004 right through 2015, for me at least, my part, hold Eli in the highest respect and congratulate him and his family, and his mom and dad, for all of the wonderful, wonderful experiences he’s had, and the happiness and pride that he has brought to the entire Giants family, the fanfare, the fans, the family and everyone that’s taken so much pride from his performances and for what he’s meant. He’s always been there to make the call, to stand up and represent the Giants in the best possible way.”
Manning is one of the most accomplished players in the 95 seasons of Giants football. He is the only player in franchise history to suit up for 16 seasons and his 236 regular-season games (234 beginnings) and 248 total games are the two Giants’ records.
From Nov. 21, 2004 through Nov. 23, 2017, Manning began 210 successive regular-season games, at that point the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history (to Brett Favre’s 297). After sitting out one game, he began the next 22 in a row, giving him 232 beginnings in 233 games – in addition to 12 postseason games. Manning never missed a game as a result of an injury.
“I can’t tell you what that means to a coach, to be able to prepare every week knowing your starter is going to be there,” Coughlin said. “It’s almost impossible today to be able to do that. Some teams are fortunate. Many teams it doesn’t happen to. You get a guy nicked, you get him hurt. I remember once he was hurt with a shoulder. He didn’t practice all week. We didn’t know if he’d be alright. He started and played the whole game and played well. It meant a great deal to us to be able to prepare knowing he was going to be on the field and be the starting quarterback for all of those games.”