Thank You Eli

The New York Giants announced today that they will be holding a press conference on Friday for Eli Manning to announce his retirement from the National Football League.

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Well, this one stings. My favorite athlete of all time and the man to bring me the only sports joy I have ever experienced is retiring. I have been a New York Giants fan since birth and there is nobody who appreciates Eli more than me. I was an Eli apologist, he could do no wrong in my eyes, this blog will be biased and if you don’t love Eli then you should probably stop reading now. I wanted the Giants to give Eli the proper farewell that he deserved and although it got bungled a bit, the win at home against the Dolphins was the cherry on top of a Hall of Fame career. He ended it with a win, running off the field to chants of “ELI, ELI” he deserved it, he was the face of this franchise for sixteen years. He would never have missed a game if it wasn’t for moron Ben McAdoo, the worst hire in Giants history. Eli was always there, every Sunday, when Giants fans tuned in, Eli was there. He was our guy, not many people are fortunate enough to have the same QB lead their team throughout their childhood and into adulthood, I was fortunate enough to experience that.

Even when Eli was bad it would make you smile. His goofy faces, ripping the chin strap off his helmet after a bad throw, throwing off his back foot into triple coverage and getting picked. That was Eli, that attitude of “oh shucks” is what made him so great, it’s what made him unbelievable in the 4th quarter, in big games and regardless of what you thought of him, he was consistent, reliable and available for sixteen years

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Eli will finish his career with 57,023 passing yards, 366 TD’s, 125 victories, 236 games played for the GMEN, 42 game winning drives. In addition to that, Eli was the Walter Payton Man of The Year, a 4x pro bowler, a 2x Super Bowl Champion and a 2x Super Bowl MVP.

Lets take a look at Eli’s top 5 moments in his Giants Career:
5. October 23rd 2005 vs Denver Broncos – This is the day I fell in love with Eli. I remember this game like it was yesterday. A girl in my middle school had a party and we were all over her house huddled in front of a small TV watching this game. Eli led the Giants on a 4th quarter drive and a last second TD won the Giants the game. This was the moment I started believing in Eli and I never stopped.

4. January 13 2008 vs Dallas Cowboys – The NFC Divisional playoffs in Dallas, on the road, nobody giving the Giants a shot and Eli answered the bell by beating our most hated rivals. This win led to the NFC title game in Green Bay and then defeating the Patriots in SB 42(more on that later). This was Eli’s second career playoff win and the look on the faces of Jones, Wade Phillips, Romo and TO will be seared into my brain forever. Thanks for this one Eli.

3. January 22 2012 vs San Francisco 49ers – I don’t care what anyone says, this is the gutsiest performance by a Quarterback that I have ever seen. Eli was getting crushed, play after play as the rain came down in San Fran. The image of Eli getting up with half the turf wedged in his helmet, shoulder pads disheveled but continuing to get up, continuing to put the team on his back. That was the proudest moment I have ever had as a fan. This was a guy that us as a fan base could stand behind.

2. Super Bowl 46 vs New England Patriots – All you need to know is Manning to Manningham. Giants stun New England again. Eli’s second Super Bowl MVP.

1.Super Bowl 42 vs New England Patriots – “Pressure from Thomas off the edge… Eli Manning, stays on his feet”. Manning to Tyree. Manning to Burress. 18-1. Eli is the MVP. Greatest moment of my life (If my wife is reading this then it was the second greatest moment of my life behind my wedding day. If she doesn’t read this, then we all know that SB 42 was the crown jewel).

I don’t know what else to say about Eli Manning. I have to just say thank you for more than us as Giants fans could have ever asked for. Eli will be going to the Hall of Fame and I know that’s going to bother people, well that’s tough shit. Say whatever you want about him, but at the time of his retirement, Eli manning is firmly in the top 10 in every passing statistical category that you can come up with and even if he wasn’t, he beat the Bellichick/Brady Patriots in the Super Bowl, TWICE. That right there solidified his place in Canton, Ohio. Joe Namath is a Hall of Famer, so everyone on their high horse trying to make the case against Eli can shutup about it, if Namath is in then Eli is certainly a HOF New York Quarterback.

A retirement like this is always hard but it makes it even more difficult when one of your childhood heroes calls it quits. I wish Eli and his family nothing but the best. He was a class act, the bright spot in my fandom. The only thing that kept this Dodgers, Knicks and Giants fan from giving up on sports all together. Thank you for showing up Eli, thanks for the wins, the championships and for representing the Giants better than anyone ever has. I have a strict rule about wearing jerseys, you can’t wear a jersey of someone who is younger than you so I am done buying Giants jerseys. I will wear my blue or white Eli jersey with pride every Sunday until the day I shuffle off this Earth. So, here is to Eli, one of a kind, you are the greatest offensive Giant in the history of the franchise, I can’t wait for your ring of honor and hall of fame induction ceremony, see you there #10. I better bring out an extra box of tissues for Friday’s press conference, this blogger is going to be crying bitter sweet tears, saying see you later and thanks to the one, the only, Eli Manning!