Eli Manning always said he wanted to end his career with the Giants.
On Friday, he’ll get his wish.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP and the holder of virtually every passing record in franchise history has told the Giants he intends to retire after 16 seasons in the NFL. He will hold a news conference on Friday.
“For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field,” co-owner John Mara said. “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.”
Added co-owner Steve Tisch: “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.”
The owners said that Manning will be inducted into the Ring of Honor “in the near future,” most likely during the upcoming season.
Manning was about to become a free agent for the first time in his career, his contract expiring in March. The Giants drafted Daniel Jones in April and inserted him as their starter in September, indicating to all that Manning would not have a long future with the team. When the 2019 season ended in late December, Manning said he would weigh and discuss his options with family before making any decision. Now, a little more than three weeks later, he has.
The Giants acquired Manning in a draft-day trade with the Chargers in 2004.
Manning is the only player in franchise history to suit up for 16 seasons and his 236 regular-season games (234 starts) and 248 total games are both Giants records. From Nov. 21, 2004 through Nov. 23, 2017, Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games, then the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history (to Brett Favre’s 297). After sitting out one game, he started the next 22 in a row, giving him 232 starts in 233 games — plus 12 postseason games. Manning never missed a game because of injury. He finished his career with a 117-117 regular-season record.
That .500 record belies Manning’s place in team and NFL history, having been the quarterback for some of the most memorable moments in the sport’s legacy. That includes the throw to David Tyree for the famous “helmet catch” in Super Bowl XLII, his sideline pass to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI, and his two gutsy performances in NFC Championship Games in which he endured arctic conditions to beat the Packers and then more than a dozen quarterback hits driving him into the mud to top the 49ers. Both of those wins were in overtime, and both Super Bowl wins came on game-winning drives in the fourth quarter.
“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,” said former general manager Ernie Accorsi, who engineered the trade for Manning.
Tom Coughlin was his coach for the first 12 years of his career, including the two Super Bowl seasons. He called it “an honor” to have coached Manning.
“Here goes the retirement of a great, great football Giant,” Coughlin said. “He’s always been there to make the call, to stand up and represent the Giants in the best possible way.”