The last Manning is out. Eli Manning confirmed that he is retiring from the NFL after a stellar 16-year career as quarterback of the New York Giants.
The athlete, 39, made the news official during a press conference on Friday, January 24.
“This sport has very few real farewells. It’s impossible to explain the satisfaction, and actually the joy I’ve experienced being a Giant,” Manning said at the podium inside the Giants’ practice facility on Friday. “From the very first moment, I did it my way. I couldn’t be someone other than who I am. Undoubtedly I would’ve made the fans, the media and even the front office more comfortable if I was a more rah-rah guy. But that’s not me. Ultimately I choose to believe that my teammates and the fans learned to appreciate that. They knew what they got was pure unadulterated Eli.”
Giants co-owner John Mara subsequently announced that the organization will be retiring Manning’s number, 10.
Speculation about Manning’s retirement ramped up after ESPN reported that he planned to make the announcement on Friday. The official New York Giants Twitter account reacted to the news with a tweet on Wednesday, January 22. “Greatness,” the post read. “#ThankYouEli.”
Tom Coughlin, the football player’s former Giants coach, released a statement too. “It was an honor and privilege to coach Eli, and to go through the wonderful and magnificent moments that he and his teammates provided for all of us,” he said. “The guys that had the opportunity to play with him know what it’s like to be with a guy with as much talent, as much grit, as much determination… Here goes the retirement of a great, great Football Giant.”
Manning spent his entire NFL career as the quarterback for the Giants. He led his team to two Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011 and was named the Super Bowl MVP of both games.
The University of Mississippi alum was benched in September 2019, three weeks into the season. Daniel Jones replaced him as starting quarterback, though Manning returned in later games to fill in for the 22-year-old after he suffered an injury. He played in his final home game as starting quarterback in December 2019 and received a standing ovation as he left the field.
Eli is not the first Manning to hang up his NFL helmet. His brother Peyton Manning retired in March 2016 after 18 seasons as a quarterback. The University of Tennessee alum, 43, played for the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos during his career. The siblings’ father, Archie Manning, was also an NFL quarterback for 13 seasons before his 1984 retirement.