Who Is Eli Manning?
One of college football's top quarterbacks at Ole Miss, Eli Manning was chosen first overall in the 2004 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers and immediately traded to the New York Giants. Following a slow start to his NFL career, he earned accolades for guiding the Giants to wins in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI and was named to four Pro Bowl teams. Manning retired in early 2020, after 16 professional seasons.
Early Life and College Football Career
Eli Manning was born Elisha Nelson Manning IV in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January 3, 1981. The third of three boys, Eli is a son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, and the younger brother of retired pro football quarterback, Peyton Manning.
In 2000, he enrolled at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss), where both his father and brother Cooper went to college. He played quarterback for the Rebels for four years and put up outstanding numbers, including 10,119 passing yards (fifth on the SEC career list), 81 touchdown passes (third on the SEC career list) and had a passer rating of 137.7 (tied for sixth on the SEC career list). During his senior year, he won several awards, including the Maxwell Award as the nation's best all-around player and the SEC Player of the Year award.
The Move to the NFL
In 2004, six years after his brother, Peyton, entered the NFL as the Indianapolis Colts' quarterback, Manning was drafted first overall by San Diego. However, Manning had said all along that he would not play for the Chargers, and the team traded him on draft day to the New York Giants.
Manning had a rocky rookie year and was benched at one point in favor of veteran Kurt Warner. However, Warner soon retired, and in 2005, Manning was named the Giants' starter once again. Under the Giants' new head coach, Tom Coughlin, Manning led the team to average results over the next three seasons, compiling a 25-23 record with two playoff appearances—both losses.
Super Bowls XLII and XLVI
The Giants made the playoffs in 2005 and 2006, and they finished 2007 with a record of 10-6. Manning led the team through the playoffs that year and into the Super Bowl, where they were huge underdogs to the undefeated New England Patriots. The Giants won the game, 17-14, and Manning was named the game's MVP. He completed 19 of 34 passes for 255 yards (152 of which came in the decisive fourth quarter) and threw two touchdown passes.
With the victory, Eli and Peyton were the first brothers to become back-to-back Super Bowl winners and MVP quarterbacks, Peyton having achieved the feat the year before with the Indianapolis Colts.
In 2011, Manning finished the regular season with 29 touchdown passes and a team-record 4,933 passing yards. Although the Giants barely made the playoffs with a 9-7 record, they beat powerhouse teams such as the Green Bay Packers and the San Francisco 49ers to gain entry to Super Bowl XLVI. Once again, Manning carried Big Blue to victory over the favored Patriots, completing 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown to win game MVP honors.
Later Career and Retirement
Manning's performance fluctuated over the next few years, as he followed his Pro Bowl campaign of 2012 by leading the NFL in interceptions in 2013, but he usually gave his team a chance to win with his strong arm and veteran confidence.
The quarterback threw for a career-high 35 touchdown passes in 2015, leading to his fourth Pro Bowl selection, and the following year he guided the Giants back into the playoffs for the first time since 2011.
But things soured by 2017, with the team's poor start and head coach Ben McAdoo's preference to see other quarterbacks prompting Manning to bench himself in November, snapping his streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts. He bounced back to throw for 4,299 yards in 2018, but by early 2019 the team was ready to hand the starting job to rookie Daniel Jones.
Manning got another chance to start late in the year, when Jones was injured, earning a standing ovation after passing for 283 yards and a pair of touchdowns in a home win over the Miami Dolphins on December 15.
In January 2020, shortly after the conclusion of his 16th NFL season, Manning announced his retirement. His 4,895 completions, 57,023 passing yards and 366 passing touchdowns ranked seventh in league history, and while he compiled a mediocre 117-117 regular-season record as a starter, he also finished with an impressive 8-4 mark in the playoffs.
Wife, Children and Charity Work
Manning married his college sweetheart, Abby McGrew, in April 2008. They have three daughters and a son together.
The former football star was active in the efforts to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, and to raise awareness in conjunction with the Gulf oil spill of 2010. He also hosts Guiding Eyes for the Blind's Golf Classic, an annual charity event, and undertook a campaign to raise $2.5 million for the construction of the Eli Manning Children's Clinic at the University of Mississippi Medical Center's children's hospital.
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