NFL Commissioner On Eli Manning: ‘He Was a Champion’

WCBS 880 Newsroom
January 23, 2020 - 3:57 pm
Eli Manning

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who led the team to two Super Bowl wins, plans to formally announce his retirement from professional football on Friday.

The 39-year-old will take a knee after a 16-season career with a total of 57,023 passing yards and 366 touchdowns.

The son of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning and brother of fellow NFL star Peyton Manning has appeared in two Super Bowls, four Pro Bowls and was praised a defining “what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field” by John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer.

On Thursday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell weighed in on the two-time MVP’s retirement in a Tweet saying, “Eli Manning leaves an indelible imprint on the New York Giants, their fans and the NFL.”

He continues saying Manning “transcended the game with the way he carried himself around teammates, media and – most importantly fans.”

“On the field and in the community, he was a champion,” Goodwell added.

Meanwhile, WFAN’s Marc “The Moose” Malusis told WCBS 880’s Levon Putney that Manning will be missed throughout New York.

“What defines athletes in this city is what you do in the biggest moments and Eli Manning – his durability was remarkable. He represented the Giants on and off the field brilliantly,” said Malusis.

He says Manning’s ’07 season, in which he lead the Giants to a Super Bowl victory against the then-undefeated New England Patriots, was “one of the greatest runs in NFL history.”

Malusis says even though fans have been hard on Manning for the last few years, he believes they will miss him when he is gone and says Manning has the potential to one day be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

WFAN’s Giants play-by-play announcer Bob Papa also reacted to the news, telling WCBS 880's Brad Heller he wasn’t too surprised to hear that the quarterback would be retiring.

“He had said during the course of the season that a couple of things that he learned was that he didn’t like being a backup and he knew he didn’t want to be a coach,” says Papa.

He says the highlight of Manning’s career isn’t his two Super Bowl wins, but rather the fact that he put the team first.

“He played the game not for stats,” Papa said. “Eli never played for the numbers – he took some high risks at times, got him a little bit of trouble – but he was kind of willing to put it out there on the line and the one thing that he did was never threw a teammate under the bus.”

Papa says Manning gave the team confidence to win over the years and never stole the limelight. He notes that Manning would never be the first player to speak to the media after a win, but would always be the first to speak after a loss.

During his press conference on Friday, Manning is expected to announce what he plans to do next.