New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will announce his retirement on Friday as one of the franchise’s greatest players in their nine-and-a-half decade history.
Eli Manning's career achievements:
* 2x Super Bowl winner
* 2x Super Bowl MVP
* 57,023 passing yards (7th all-time)
* 366 passing TD (7th all-time)
* 4x Pro Bowler
* Walter Payton Man of the Year winner in 2016
* Never missed a game due to injury
* 13x team captain
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 22, 2020
Let’s not forget that Eli owns nearly all of the Giants’ all-time passing records and played more seasons (16) and games (236) in Giant Blue than any other player.
That being said, is he one of the five greatest players in Giants’ history? My friend Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv believes he is. I agree.
Ralph’s top three are, in order: Lawrence Taylor, Frank Gifford and Emlen Tunnell followed by Eli and Michael Strahan. Can’t really argue with that. Here’s what Ralph wrote about Eli, player he also penned a book with.
4. Eli Manning, quarterback, 2004-2019
I grew up in the Phil Simms era, so it’s not easy for me to push him aside for anyone. But it’s impossible not to when compiling the list of greatest Giants quarterbacks considering all that Eli Manning has done. Yes, their eras were vastly different, and passing statistics have exploded since Simms’ day. But this is about more than Manning’s numbers. He’s always been about more than that.
This is about Manning being the hero of two of the greatest Super Bowl upsets of all time. It’s about playing 210 consecutive games, and never missing a single one because of an injury. It’s about being the absolute perfect spokesman and representative of the franchise and rarely stumbling in that role at all. It’s about how he rose from the ashes of fans literally burning his jersey in the parking lot four years into his career, and becoming an icon of one of the most iconic franchises in sports.
Maybe I would feel differently if Simms had stayed healthy and won that second Super Bowl in 1990. But every time I wonder that, I’m reminded that Manning could have, should have won a third Super Bowl if Plaxico Burress hadn’t shot himself in the leg in 2008.
The bottom line is you can skip over a lot of players — a lot of great players — when writing the history of the Giants. But Manning’s part of this has to be written on the very first page. Some will argue this is too high, but how could the greatest quarterback in franchise history, with two rings on his fingers, be any lower than this?
No question. What do people look at when they rate a players’ career? Success and longevity and Eli had both. Not to mention he was a class act all the way, on and off the field.
I expect Manning to be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on the first ballot. If not, then in year two. He should not have to wait long to receive his just desserts.