Eli Manning emerged as one of the most polarizing players of his generation, but commissioner Roger Goodell was far less ambiguous in his assessment — lauding the New York Giants quarterback for his impact across the league, as he’s scheduled to retire.
Manning will announce his retirement at a press conference Friday, after spending his entire 16-season career with the Giants, upon being selected first overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. New York traded up on draft day in order to acquire Manning and never looked back.
Goodell wrote a heartfelt tribute to Manning on Thursday.
“Eli Manning leaves an indelible imprint on the New York Giants, their fans, and the NFL. His passion for the game, intense preparation, and ability to rise to the occasion were the hallmarks of his career. Eli holds a special place in history, not just for hoisting the Lombardi Trophy and being named Super Bowl MVP twice, but for how he transcended the game with the way he carried himself around teammates, media and — most importantly — fans,” Goodell wrote on Twitter.
Manning is best known for knocking off the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl twice. First he stopped the previously undefeated 2007 team via one of the greatest drives of all-time, lobbing up a pass to David Tyree that has been immortalized as “The Helmet Catch” to keep his team alive, Then, he threw the game-winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining to clinch a 17-14 victory.
The Giants would return to the big game against the favoured Patriots in 2011. Once again, Manning played some of the finest football of his career — going 30-of-40 for 296 yards and a touchdown in a 21-17 win.
Whether you think Manning is a Hall of Fame player or not seems irrelevant to the discourse at hand, as he was lauded for his character and won the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in 2016.
Manning earned four Pro Bowl selections over the course of his career, and holds numerous franchise records.
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