The Legacy of Eli Manning

Seventh all-time passing yards and touchdowns, 2-time Super-Bowl champion and Super-Bowl MVP, 42 game-winning drives, 210 consecutive starts, 4-time pro bowler, as well as several other awards and accolades throughout his illustrious career.

The New York Giants are one of if not the most successful franchises in NFL history. Having four world championships from the pre-Superbowl era as well as four Superbowls which are the fifth most in NFL history.

Manning came to NY after being traded by the Chargers on draft day in 2004. The Giants needed to turn the page on the past and turn forward to the success they have seen before. Heading into the 2007 season, the Giants were waiting for their young quarterback to breakout and take the Giants to playoffs. Eli Manning would have a mediocre at best season but the Giants would slip into the playoffs. From there the Giants would have to win 3 road games in order to make it to the Superbowl where they would meet their biggest challenge. The Giants had three hard-fought wins in the first rounds. The undefeated New England Patriots and underdog New York Giants would do battle in Superbowl 42.

The Giant’s defense played outstanding this game and limited the production of the dominant Tom Brady. Brady would have only one touchdown pass and 250 yards while Manning had two touchdowns and 250 yards. Manning drove the Giants down the field in one of the best drives ever with the helmet catch by David Tyree and a beautifully thrown ball to Plaxico Burress for a touchdown with less than a minute to play. The Giants would win their first Superbowl in 17 years as Manning would take home the Superbowl MVP.

The next 3 years for the Giants would be filled with mediocrity and heartbreak especially with the miracle at the new Meadowlands by the Philadelphia Eagles, which eliminated the Giants from playoff contention late in the 2010 season. The next season the Giants would respond in a big way by barely winning the division with a 9-7 record. The Giants would be guaranteed a home playoff game. The Giants would easily beat the Falcons and Packers, then would battle with a tough San Francisco team. Manning was sacked 6 times in the NFC championship game and got obliterated on numerous occasions. The heart and fighting spirit would keep him and the Giants in the game for an eventual win in overtime and another trip to the Superbowl versus the New England Patriots once again.

Manning and the Giants shined again and deja vu would begin. Late in the 4th quarter, Manning threw a beautiful ball down the sideline to Mario Manningham where he made an outstanding catch to push the Giants downfield. Eventually, Ahmed Bradshaw would take a seat in the endzone to cap off the 2nd Giants Superbowl in 4 years and Manning’s second Super Bowl MVP. This would be the end of the glory years for Giants football as they would struggle over the next couple of seasons as Manning’s time slowly ran out. Eli would make the pro bowl two more times after winning the Superbowl but the Giants only made the playoffs once in the years following their Superbowl.

Manning’s time was running out and the Giants and Eli knew he would not be around much longer. In the 2019 draft, the Giants drafted Duke quarterback, Daniel Jones, with their first-round pick who would be Eli’s replacement. After a 0-2 start to the 2019 season, the Giants benched Manning for Jones. When Jones would suffer an ankle injury in week 13 Manning would get a chance to start on the road against Philadelphia. Manning lit it up but the Giants would eventually fall.

Manning was named the starter for their second to last home game against Miami. The Giants would snap an extremely large losing streak with Manning under center, and with the Giants leading late in the 4th quarter the Giants would take him out of the game to a standing ovation at MetLife Stadium. 

An era in NFL football is over, a quarterback many people grew up watching and admiring is now gone. Manning was an amazing player on the field and an even better person off the field. His impact on the North Jersey and New York City area is one that can never be matched. Manning will always be remembered as the best quarterback to wear Giants blue and soon he will be immortalized in Canton, Ohio.