“You’re The Mann”

There’s always going to be a few drafts that’ll always stick to my mind. The 2004 NFL Draft is one of them. This was the draft when we saw the-then San Diego Chargers select a highly sought out quarterback from Ole Miss named Eli Manning. You may recognize the last name. He’s the son of Saints legendary quarterback Archie Manning and the brother of legendary quarterback, Peyton Manning. Eli then stated that he didn’t want to play for the Chargers. The Chargers would then trade Eli to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers and a 2004 third-round pick that year. The rest is then history. After 16 seasons in the NFL, Eli has decided to call it a career which many people I’m sure expected.

He was never considered a top-tier quarterback, but he always found a way to be mentioned as one of the best in the league. Eli was far from the quickest quarterback, he found ways to attack defenses with his smarts which set him apart from many other quarterbacks. Many of his peers around the league referred to him as a “quiet assassin”. Anytime I saw him, he was always calm and collected. There was never a moment that seemed to intimidate him. He could make the throws from the left hash, right hash or down the field. Either way, he made sure to get the ball to any of his receivers when they were open. Peyton wasn’t the only one who had a knack for reading defenses. Eli did it as well. He had a knack for moving his guys around to manipulate a linebacker or safety. When a quarterback has been in the league for so long, he’s seen just about every coverage imaginable. If you watched the Giants closely for years, each of their routes were based on timing. Eli knew where guys would be which made him so productive. He became the Giants starting quarterback in 2005 replacing Kurt Warner. In his first year starting, he led the Giants to an 11-5 record and the NFC East division title. A few seasons later, he went on a run to silence his critics about his leadership. He led the Giants to wins over the top three seeds in the NFC that year (Tampa Bay, Dallas & Green Bay) all on the road. Then, he helped lead the Giants to a huge upset over the 18-0 Patriots to win his first Super Bowl.

2011 was the last time the Giants won the NFC East. That same year, they also beat the New England Patriots once again in the Super Bowl. He’s the only man to beat Tom Brady twice in the big game. Whenever you needed number ten to deliver on the biggest stage, he did it. He retires with two championships, two Super Bowl MVP’s and he’s seventh all-time on the touchdown passing list with 366. Eli also threw 18 touchdown passes in 12 playoff games. I think he’s done enough to earn himself an induction in Canton, Ohio five years from now.

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