After a 16-year career, New York Giants quarterback and funnyman Eli Manning will announce his retirement from the NFL on Friday.
Numerous media outlets and the Giants official Twitter account reported on Wednesday that Manning – a two-time Super Bowl MVP – will formally announce his retirement during a Friday press conference.
Of course, Manning’s career was punctuated by two astonishing playoff runs. First, his Giants topped the previously unbeaten New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII to win the franchise’s first Vince Lombardi Trophy since January 1991.
Then, four years later, Manning’s Giants did it again to Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
In each Super Bowl victory, Manning’s sly playmaking abilities led to the eventual game-winning play. His escape and subsequent throw to setup the famous Helmet Catch in Super Bowl XLII is one of the great plays in NFL history.
Then, Super Bowl XLVI saw Manning hit Mario Manningham on a sideline bomb to setup New York’s eventual game-winning touchdown.
Manning was named Super Bowl MVP in both championship victories for the Giants. Also, Manning has the notable distinction of defeating both Brett Favre’s Green Bay Packers (in the 2007 NFC Championship) and a 15-1 Aaron Rodgers-led Packers team (during the 2011 playoffs). Both victories against those Packers teams came on the hallowed grounds of Lambeau Field.
Do those accomplishments make Eli a Hall of Famer? In my opinion, yes. Also, I do know this:
He was a former co-winner of Walter Payton Man of the Year award, Bart Starr Award winner, and hosted Saturday Night Live.
We may never see that combination of accomplishments ever again. You can say Eli was this or that, but, unintentionally or intentionally, the man was funny….and good for the game of football.
Manning is the first member of the famous Class of 2004 quarterback class to retire. Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger and Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers are still going.
During an earlier edition of The JMRA Football Podcast, I talked about Eli’s chances and to me, he should be in.
However, there will be plenty of time to decipher his case further. In the meantime, let’s appreciate someone who no matter how good or bad things were going, was always one of the great professionals the NFL has seen.