Eli Nelson Manning (born January 3, 1981) is an American football quarterback for the New York Giants of the National Football League. He is the younger brother of NFL quarterback Peyton Manning and the son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning. He played college football at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) after attending prep school at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans. He was drafted as the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, but immediately traded to the New York Giants, who traded 4th overall pick Philip Rivers. Manning won the most valuable player award in Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008.
Prior to deciding which college to attend, Manning received a call from David Cutcliffe, formerly the offensive coordinator at the University of Tennessee. Cutcliffe, who had previously helped Eli’s older brother Peyton improve his game, had been hired as the head coach at Ole Miss. Upon learning Cutcliffe was now in charge of the Rebel program, the 18-year-old followed his father’s footsteps, and made his way to Oxford, Mississippi.
During his football career at Ole Miss, Manning set or tied 45 single-game, season, and career records. His career numbers include 10,119 passing yards (fifth on the SEC career list), 81 touchdown passes (third on the SEC career list), and a passer rating of 137.7 (tied for sixth on the SEC career list). Manning also led the Rebels to a 10-3 record and a 31-28 SBC Cotton Bowl Classic victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys in 2003. He was invited to play in the 2004 Senior Bowl, but chose not to play.
As his senior year came to a close, Manning won many awards including the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best all-around player, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame Scholar Athlete Award, the Sporting News Radio Socrates Award, and the SEC Player of the Year. He was also a candidate for the Heisman Trophy but lost to Oklahoma’s quarterback Jason White (1,481 voting points). Manning had 710 voting points making him third behind White and University of Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.
2004 NFL Draft
The San Diego Chargers originally held the rights to the overall first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft. With Manning being the most highly coveted player in the draft, it appeared that the Chargers intentions were to draft Manning first overall. However, Manning had publicly refused to play for the Chargers if drafted by them. The Chargers selected him with the first pick overall nonetheless as the team had a deal in place with the New York Giants where the Giants would draft and then trade Philip Rivers and draft picks (used to pick Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding) to the Chargers for Manning. It is not entirely clear why Manning did not wish to play for the Chargers.
Quarterback class of 2004
Manning was one of three quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft along with Ben Roethlisberger and Philip Rivers. Each of the three players have been voted to the Pro Bowl since becoming starters, none have produced a season with a losing record (although each has had an 8-8 season), and Roethlisberger and Manning have each won a Super Bowl. They have been compared favorably to the Quarterback class of 1983, which included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino, John Elway, and Jim Kelly.
2005 season: NFC East champions
Following 2004, Kurt Warner voided the last year of his contract and Eli was named the starter for 2005. Manning led the Giants to a 2-0 record with victories against the Cardinals and Saints, before traveling to the west coast for a test in San Diego. Chargers fans did not forget the snub, and on September 25, 2005 when Manning and the Giants made their first trip to San Diego for a game since that draft day, the crowd booed Manning loudly every time he touched the ball. San Diego defeated the Giants, 45-23, but Eli displayed what may have been his most impressive performance of his young career, going 24-41 for 352 yards and two touchdowns.
Following his performance at San Diego, Manning returned home to throw for almost 300 yards and a career high four touchdowns against the Rams at Giants stadium in a 44-24 romp. Two games later, he led a last-minute drive against the Broncos to secure a 24-23 victory for the Giants. The drive culminated in a two yard touchdown to Amani Toomer with five seconds remaining. Two weeks later, Manning overcame a weak first half at San Francisco to help his team secure their first official road victory of the season, 24–6. Despite a poor performance at home against the Vikings, throwing four interceptions, he again led his team back to tie the game in the final minutes before the Vikings won on a late field goal.
Manning’s second season was largely a success. He finished in the top 5 in both passing yards and touchdown passes, while leading an offense that finished 3rd in the NFL in scoring, with a total of 422 points. It was the most points the Giants scored in a single season since 1963. The Giants won the NFC East with an 11–5 record, and went to the postseason.
Manning’s second full season was reminiscent of his 2005 campaign. He started off playing well and completed over 65 percent of his passes through the first four games. However, he struggled in the second half of the season and his production diminished towards the end of the regular season. After losing a tough game to his brother Peyton and the Colts on opening day, Eli and the Giants rebounded from a 24-7 4th-quarter deficit en route to a 30-24 overtime victory over the division rival Eagles in week two. Manning threw for a career high 371 yards in the win with three touchdowns including a game winning pass to Plaxico Burress in overtime. Following a poor performance against Seattle the next week, Manning and the Giants responded by winning five straight games including wins over the Redskins, Cowboys and Falcons to push their record to 6-2.
Following this winning streak, key injuries including one to receiver Amani Toomer pushed Manning and the Giants into a downward slide. Playing against the Chicago Bears, Manning started well, but the Giant’s offense was derailed by the loss of left tackle Luke Petitgout to a broken leg. Manning was held to only 141 yards passing with two interceptions. Petigout’s loss left a gaping hole at the crucial left tackle position, and Manning was unable to repeat his first half success. Manning struggled the next week at Jacksonville and the week after that, a costly interception helped to culminate a huge collapse at Tennessee, with the Giants seeing a 21-point fourth quarter lead simply evaporate. Manning improved the following week, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns, but the Giants lost again. Finally regaining momentum, Manning threw three touchdowns in a win at Carolina, but then he stumbled badly in the final three games. He threw two interceptions against the Eagles and tallied only 73 passing yards in a game against the Saints. Although the Giants battled back to 8-8 the following week at Washington, Manning completed only 12 of 26 passes for 101 yards and one touchdown. The Giants qualified for the postseason and met the Eagles again. Although he did significantly better in this game than the 2005 playoff matchup, completing 16 of 27 passes and two touchdowns, the Giants lost on a last-second field goal by the Eagles.
For the year, Manning threw for 3,244 yards, 24 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He completed 57.7 percent of his passes, a five point improvement from 2005, but he again struggled badly in the second half of the season. Manning finished the season with a quarterback efficiency rating of 77.0 (18th in the league) with 6.2 yards per attempt.
Preparation for 2007
Manning trained in the Meadowlands with offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and new quarterbacks coach Chris Palmer. For the first time ever, Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey practiced in the off-season with Manning to perfect their timing and chemistry rather than training alone in Miami as they did in previous years.
Manning opened the 2007 season with an outstanding personal performance against the Dallas Cowboys, completing 28 of 41 passing attempts for 312 yards, 4 touchdowns, and an interception, but suffered a shoulder sprain and was removed from the game late in the second half. Although he did play against Green Bay in week 2 while throwing for 211 yards with one touchdown, the Giants defense performed poorly again and the team dropped to 0-2 with Green Bay winning, 35-13. In week 3 Manning got a come-from-behind victory as the Giants defense improved, pitching a shutout in the second half and stopping the Washington Redskins on a fourth and goal situation, winning the game 24-17. The Giants defense then shut down the Philadelphia Eagles with an NFL record-tying 12 sacks, holding the Eagles offense to one field goal. The Giants won with a score of 16-3. The following week, Manning overcame a dismal first half to throw for two second-half scores in a 35-24 win over their in-city rivals, the New York Jets.
Following two straight home victories, Manning and the Giants obtained their fourth consecutive victory with a 31-10 defeat of the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome on Monday Night Football. Manning performed well, completing 27 of 39 passes for 303 yards along with a pair of touchdowns while giving away two interceptions. Behind a dominant defensive effort, the Giants improved to 5-2 the next week with a 33-15 win over the 49ers. Manning played well again, throwing for two touchdowns in the effort. In week eight of the season, the Giants played a road game against the Miami Dolphins on October 28, 2007, in London‘s Wembley Stadium. Manning only threw for 59 yards in the rain and mud, but he scored the Giants’ only touchdown on a 10-yard run. This touchdown was the first in an NFL regular season game that was played outside of North America. The Giants defeated the Dolphins, 13–10, bringing the Giants to a 6–2 record at the mid-way point of the 2007 season.
After losing to their division rivals the Dallas Cowboys in week 9, New York Giants co-owner John Mara publicly questioned Manning’s ability to lead the New York Giants in 2007 but more importantly in the future:
|“||The only thing we evaluate is ‘Can we win with this guy?’ That’s the one thing. When we talk about any player at the end of the season, the No.1 question is ‘Will he help us win?’ And to take it one step further, ‘Can we win a championship with this guy?’||”|
After a week of criticism in the New York media and being outplayed by Tony Romo, Manning had a bounce-back victory versus their conference wildcard competitors the Detroit Lions. Manning managed to throw for 283 yards and 1 touchdown but most importantly, no interceptions in a critical road game.
The following week in a 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Manning threw four interceptions and had three of them returned for touchdowns. He continued to struggle until the last game of the season, against the 15-0 New England Patriots. With a playoff spot secured, the Giants could have rested their starters for the playoffs, but they instead chose to keep in the regulars and attempt to stop New England’s quest for an undefeated regular season. The Giants lost 38-35, with Manning completing 22 of 32 passes for 252 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception.
|“||“Eli had a great game today,” receiver Amani Toomer said. “He took what was out there and didn’t force anything. He doesn’t get real excited; there is more than one way to lead a team … and he showed that today.”||”|
On January 13, 2008, Manning led the Giants to an upset victory over the heavily favored Dallas Cowboys, the number one seed in the NFC. For the third straight game, Manning played well, completing 12 of 18 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. The Giants were the first team to beat an NFC number one seed in the divisional round since the start of the 12-team format in 1990. This victory secured an NFC Championship berth against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, January 20, 2008. In the championship game, the Giants beat the Packers in overtime, with a score of 23-20. The dramatic victory secured Manning and the Giants a trip to Super Bowl XLII. This was the first Super Bowl appearance for the New York Giants since 2000, and their first Super Bowl victory since Super Bowl XXV.
Super Bowl XLII
In front of a record-setting American television audience and on the strength of a late fourth-quarter drive led by Manning, the Giants beat the 12.5 point-favored, undefeated New England Patriots 17–14.
|“||Manning takes the snap, back to throw, under pressure, avoids the rush and he’s gonna…fight out of it, still fights out of it, now throws it deep down field, wide open Tyree who… MAKES THE CATCH! AT THE 24-YARD LINE! What a play by Manning!||”|
|—Bob Papa calling Manning’s completion to David Tyree, |
Trailing 14-10 with 2:42 remaining, Manning led the Giants 83 yards on a game-winning touchdown drive. On a crucial third-and-5 at the Giants’ 44 yard line, Manning connected with David Tyree on a play in which he avoided several near-sacks and Tyree caught the ball off his helmet for a large gain. Four plays later, Plaxico Burress caught a short touchdown pass with just 35 seconds remaining for the winning margin. Manning became only the second quarterback in NFL history to throw two go-ahead fourth quarter touchdowns in a Super Bowl (Joe Montana being the first). Manning also became the first quarterback to throw a last-minute, championship-winning touchdown in the NFL title game (including the pre-Super Bowl era) when a field goal would not at least tie the game. Following the Giants’ monumental victory, Manning and the coaching staff spoke briefly with President George W. Bush.
Manning was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLII. He and his brother Peyton are the only brother combination to play at quarterback in the Super Bowl and the only set of brothers to win Super Bowl MVP, doing so in successive years.
For winning Super Bowl MVP he was given his choice of any 2008 model Cadillac, and Manning chose an Escalade Hybrid. The Wednesday following the Super Bowl he appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman.
Manning and the Giants opened the 2008 season with a win over their division rivals, the Washington Redskins, 16–7. “It was a great opening to the season,” said Manning, who completed 19 passes of 35 for 216 yards, and had one rushing touchdown and one interception. “There was a lot of emotion, a lot of excitement. You could feel it in the crowd.” In the Giants’ second game of the year against the St. Louis Rams, they won again, 41–13, behind a stellar Manning performance. Manning finished the game with 20 completions, 260 yards passing and threw three touchdowns to three different receivers. The victory also marked the team’s fourth straight victory over the Rams. The following week, Manning rallied the Giants to more fourth quarter magic, overcoming a late deficit to throw the go-ahead touchdown pass to tight end Kevin Boss, and then in overtime, throwing a clutch 31-yard pass to Amani Toomer in the Giants’ 26–23 win over Cincinnati. The fourth week of the season saw the Giants score on each of their first six possessions and dominate the Seattle Seahawks, 44–6. Manning threw for two touchdowns, completing 19 of 25 passes for 267 yards as the Giants totaled 523 yards on offense, their most since 2002.
Following a poor team performance in a 35–14 loss at Cleveland, Manning and the Giants responded with a 29–17 win over the 49ers and battled to a hard earned 21–14 win at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. Manning completed 19 of 32 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown in the crucial win, which pushed the Giants to a 6–1 record. The following week, the Giants beat the Dallas Cowboys at home 35-14 to get to 7–1 at the midway point of the regular season. Manning threw three touchdowns in the game. New York improved to 8–1 with a 36–31 win at Philadelphia. Manning threw two touchdowns in the victory, but the crucial play occurred in the third quarter. With the Giants trailing by four, Manning appeared to make an illegal forward pass to tight end Kevin Boss. After review, it was determined that the pass was legal. The Giants scored a touchdown two plays later. Week 9 pitted the Giants in a battle with the visiting Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens had come into the game with the league’s third-ranked defense; nevertheless, Manning led the Giants to a decisive 30–10 victory, improving to 9–1, which included a 200 yard rushing effort by running backs Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Two weeks later, the Giants faced the Redskins at Washington in their second encounter in the season. Manning threw his first 300 yard game of the season going 21/34 with an INT and a 40 yard touchdown pass to Amani Toomer. The Giants beat the Redskins 23–7.
In November, Manning was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month. For the month, Manning threw for 1,036 yards and 10 touchdowns, and compiled a 94.9 passer rating while leading the Giants to a perfect 5–0 record.
In week 15 Eli Manning and the Giants visited Texas Stadium, where Tony Romo battled through a lower back contusion and connected with nine different receivers, finishing 20-of-30 for 244 yards and two touchdowns leading the Dallas Cowboys to a 20-8 victory.
In week 16 against the Carolina Panthers with NFC homefield advantage on the line, Manning had a passing day of 17 of 27 for 181 yards and no interceptions. Manning led the Giants back from deficits of 21–10 and 28–20 to tie the game with just over three minutes left, including a bullet pass to Domenik Hixon for a key two-point conversion to tie the game at 28. The game was played in freezing conditions.
After becoming the No. 1 seed in the NFC, the Giants had a first playoff round bye week and home field advantage through the rest of the playoffs. In the divisional round, they faced their arch rival, Philadelphia Eagles in Giants stadium with its signature windy conditions. Philadelphia went on to win the game 23–11. Manning completed 15 out of 29 passes for 169 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Manning and the Giants opened the 2009 season with a win over their division rivals the Washington Redskins, 23-16.  Manning played well completing 20 of 29 passing attempts for 256, 1 touchdown and 1 interception. Manning and the Giants traveled to Dallas to play the Cowboys in the opening of their new Cowboys Stadium on Sunday Night Football. Manning played outstanding completing 25 of 38 passing attempts for 330 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions which resulted in a 33-31 win for the Giants on a last second field goal. In week 3 Manning and the Giants played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he completed 14 of 24 passes for 161 yards, 2 touchdowns and no interceptions and as the Giants had a big lead he was taken from the game at the start of the second quarter, the Giants ended up winning 24-0.
In week 4, the Giants played the Kansas City Chiefs. Manning was playing well up until the start of the fourth quarter when on a play action fake Manning injured his heel while passing downfield to Steve Smith. He stayed in for the next play completing a 54 yard touchdown to Hakeem Nicks. It was discovered that Manning had Plantar Fasciitis and there was speculation he wouldn’t play against the Raiders in week 5. In week 5 Manning played well, completing 8 of 10 passes for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns with the Giants winning 44-7. This was the first time in his career that Manning had a posted a perfect QBpasser rating.
After this five game winning streak, the Giants fell to a four game losing streak, losing to the New Orleans Saints, the Arizona Cardinals, the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Diego Chargers before winning again after a bye week on week 11 when they played the Atlanta Falcons, winning 34-31 in overtime. Against the Falcons, Manning posted a career high 384 passing yards with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.
On Thanksgiving the Giants traveled to Denver to play the Denver Broncos where they lost 26-6. Manning completed 24 of 40 passes for 230 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception. In week 14 they played their divisional rivals, the Eagles, and lost 45-38, where it was a close game from the start. Manning passed for a career high 391 yards, 3 touchdowns and no interceptions but was not able to win the game. Next week, on Monday Night Football, Manning and the Giants dominated the Redskins, winning the game 45-12.
The next week, in the final game in Giants Stadium, Manning and the Giants embarrassed themselves, losing 41-9 against the Carolina Panthers and repeated that feat the next week on the road against the Minnesota Vikings in the final regular season game, losing 44-7 while down 38 points in the 4th quarter. After the games Manning apologized to the fans for their performance.
Manning ended the 2009 season with a career highs including 4,021 passing yards, 27 touchdowns, a 62.3 completion percentage rating and a passer rating of 93.1.
Awards and accolades
- 2001: Conerly Trophy – Best College Football Player in Mississippi
- 2001: Davey O’Brien Award (finalist) – Awarded to the Nation’s Top Quarterback
- 2001: Honorable Mention All-America – The Football News
- 2002: Second Team All-America – The Associated Press
- 2003: Maxwell Award – Nation’s Top Player
- 2003: Conerly Trophy – Best College Football Player in Mississippi 
- 2003: SEC Most Valuable Back – Birmingham Monday Morning Quarterback Club
- 2003: Sports Person of the Year in Mississippi – The Clarion-Ledger 
- 2003: Mississippi Amateur Athlete of the Year – Jackson Touchdown Club
- 2003: National Scholar-Athlete Class – Division I-A QB
- 2003: Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award – Awarded to the Nation’s Top Quarterback
- 2003: SEC Offensive Player of the Year – The Associated Press and the SEC Coaches
- 2004: SBC Cotton Bowl Classic Offensive Player of the Game
- Colonel Earl (Red) Blaik Leadership Award – All-America Football Foundation
- USA Today Player of the Year in Louisiana
- First Team All-America – The All-America Foundation
- Southeastern Conference Player of the Year
- SEC Player of the Year – The Commercial Appeal and the SEC Coaches
- First Team All-SEC – The Associated Press
- SouthEast’s Top Offensive Back – Touchdown Club of Atlanta Wally Butts Award
- 2008: Super Bowl XLII Most Valuable Player
- 2008: November NFC Offensive Player of the Month
- 2009: 1× Pro Bowl Selection
Manning in popular culture
- Eli, his brothers Peyton and Cooper, and their parents Archie and Olivia all appeared in an ESPN This is SportsCenter ad from 2006.
- In a 2006 commercial for NFL Sunday Ticket, he and Peyton came home to find Archie giving tips to Matt Leinart, confessing that he “always wanted a lefty”.
- Eli’s meteoric rise from rookie quarterback to Super Bowl MVP was chronicled in the 2008 book Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback, written by Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News and published by Skyhorse Publishing
- He has also co-starred with Peyton for NFLShop.com and Oreo.
- Eli has begun appearing solo in his own commercials, and is a spokesman for Citizen Watch Co., Toyota of New Jersey and Reebok. He reportedly received several more endorsement offers after reaching Super Bowl XLII.
- Manning appeared on stage with Conan O’Brien at Radio City Music Hall for the former Tonight Show host’s Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour on June 2, 2010.
In 2007, Manning proposed to Abby McGrew of Nashville, Tennessee while they were coming back from seeing the movie “B-Mac”. McGrew studies fashion in New York City. and has been with Manning since their days at Ole Miss. Manning and McGrew married in a private ceremony held in San José del Cabo, Mexico on April 19, 2008. They reside in Hoboken, New Jersey, in the same building as former Giants’ quarterback Jesse Palmer. (While he was Governor of New Jersey, Jon Corzine lived in the same building for a time, but later moved elsewhere in Hoboken.)
Eli and Peyton Manning volunteered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The Mannings assisted in the delivery of 30,000 pounds of water, Gatorade, baby formula, diapers, and pillows to the people of New Orleans. After touring the University of Mississippi Medical Center‘s Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children, Manning undertook a 5-year campaign in 2007 to raise $2.5 million for the construction of “The Eli Manning Children’s Clinics” at the children’s hospital. Manning said in 2007, “I am humbled by the work they do and am honored to make this five-year commitment to help raise funds to build this state-of-the-art clinic that will serve Mississippi families for years to come.” Eli Manning’s father, Archie, also has worked to raise funds for Katrina relief efforts.
In 2009, Eli, Peyton, and Archie co-authored a children’s book entitled Family Huddle, which describes in simple text and pictures how the three Manning brothers played football as young boys (Scholastic Press; illustrations by Jim Madsen).