This is an open letter to the long time Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Eli is currently in his 16th NFL season at age 38. Following back to back loses in weeks 1 and 2, the New York Giants have decided to bench Eli to go with the young 6th overall pick, Daniel Jones.
I personally do not believe Eli Manning is retiring. I believe Eli will either ask for a trade, or will sign with another team next year. Eli has said he still wants to play the game. So maybe “career retrospective” isn’t the right word. This is more of an open letter containing a Giants career retrospective.
Dear Eli Manning,
Well, here it is. Us Giants fans knew this day was going to come. We knew it for quite some time, and when the Giants drafted Daniel Jones, we knew the end was near.
You were originally drafted by the San Diego Chargers. But after some controversy, you (and your father) stated that if the Chargers drafted you, you would refuse to play for them. Not the best start to your career in my opinion, but hey, it got you to New York.
In 2005, Kurt Warner would leave the Giants and you became the regular starter for the team. That year you walked into San Diego to a roar of boos from Chargers fans. Even though you didn’t come away with the victory, you had your best game up to that point throwing for 352 yards and two touchdowns.
In ’05 you would finish among the top five QBs in passing yards and touchdowns, and would be the leader of the third best offense in the league, scoring 422 points, which was the most since 1963. That team would win the NFC East but would lose to the Panthers in the playoffs.
Then, in 2007, you did what most deemed impossible. That year the team went 10-6, but would be a Wild Card team, as Dallas won the division. You struggled that year, so much so that co-owner John Mara publicly questioned if you could lead the team.
The last game of the 2007 season was against the 15-0 New England Patriots. That game would end up being the closest game the Patriots would have that year where you threw for 252 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 interception.
When the playoffs began, every sports writer and analyst had written the team off. Nobody had the Giants getting past the Buccaneers in the Wild Card Round, but you pulled off the win. You then traveled to Dallas to face the heavily favored Cowboys.
In that game you threw for 163 yards including two touchdowns. You led the team to victory and became the first Wild Card team to beat an NFC one seed in the Divisional Round since the start of the 12-team format.
You would then lead the team to Lambeau Field in -1° weather. For the third straight playoff game you threw not one interception, and the game went into overtime. A Favre interception by Corey Webster sealed the game, sending the Giants to the Super Bowl for the first time in your career.
The team was dubbed “Road Warriors” and would have another date with the undefeated super team Patriots in the Super Bowl. With a little under 3 minutes left in the game, you led an 83-yard drive, which included one of the most miraculous plays in Super Bowl history, “The Helmet Catch”.
Four plays later you hit Plaxico Burress in the corner of the end zone to secure the victory. You would be named Super Bowl XLII MVP and would become a New York hero.
Then in 2011, you along with a terrific defense, would help bring the Giants back to the Super Bowl for another date with the Patriots. The Giants trailed 15-17 in the final minutes, and 88 yards stood between you and the end zone. You threw an absolute beauty of a pass to Mario Manningham to bring the team closer to victory.
The drive would end on an Ahmad Bradshaw touchdown, who tried to pull up short of the goal line, but fell in, giving the Patriots 57 seconds, which was more than enough time for Tom Brady. The defense would hold the lead and you would win your second Super Bowl victory, and your second Super Bowl MVP award.
After that year, things starting to look grim for the New York Football Giants. A disappointing season followed the Super Bowl victory, however you would be selected to your third Pro Bowl as a second alternate.
In 2013 the team started 0-6, the worst start since 1976. 12 interceptions in the first 5 games had some in New York questioning if you still had it. You ended that year with a career high 27 interceptions.
Since that time, fans across New York and football analysts began saying the end of Eli was approaching. Questioning your value as a player, with some taking the stance that the team should look to trade you.
In 2017, following a 2-9 start to the season, you were benched by then coach Ben McAdoo. That benching ended a streak of 210 consecutive regular season starts, and caused many former players and coaches to be furious with the decision. You would ultimately be named starter the next week, but that move may have done more damage than anybody thought.
Many thought that you would be released prior to the 2018 season, but head coach Pat Shurmur stood by your side and said he was “really looking forward to working with you”. The team finished 5-11 and dead last in the NFC East.
With Daniel Jones taking over quarterback duties for the team, many are believing we are starting to see the end of the Eli Manning era in New York. I truly believe you can still play, but I do think it’s the right decision to go with the young QB in week 3.
You have done so much for the organization. Winning a Super Bowl is something only a select few do in their career. Winning 2 Super Bowls is even more impressive. But winning 2 Super Bowls against arguably the greatest football dynasty ever, is something nobody else can say they’e done.
The debate on whether you are a Hall of Famer has been had for years. Many believe the Super Bowl wins alone are enough to get you in. But I believe the numbers are there as well.
16 years in this league with 232 starts. You currently have a record of 116-116. Your 362 touchdowns are 8th all time, and your 56,537 passing yards at 7th all time. 210 consecutive starts is nothing to glance over either. A 2 time Super Bowl MVP, 4 time Pro Bowler and a Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year are some of your accolades.
You’ve represented the Giants franchise perfectly in your time here. You’ve also represented the city of New York greatly as well. You showed up, you did what you had to do, and you never complained while doing it. If this is the end of your time in New York, then I would like to thank you for all the time you’ve given us.
I am hopeful that this isn’t the end of Eli Manning in the NFL though. There are some teams in the league that could use a QB. Possibly we could see Eli Manning in yellow and black? Who knows. Either way, once again, we thank you.
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