The 39-year-old Manning went first overall out of Ole Miss in the 2004 NFL Draft. On the April day that he segued from amateur to pro, his draft rights were actually held by the Chargers, though Manning had stated publicly he wouldn't play for San Diego. He was traded to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers and a bunch of draft picks, and then spent all 16 years of his NFL career in the Big Apple.
During his career, the four-time Pro-Bowler threw for 57,023 yards and 366 touchdowns, both of which are good for seventh all-time. He had a lifetime record of 117-117 as a regular season starter, though he went 8-4 as a postseason QB and (most memorably) bested the Tom Brady-led New England Patriots twice in the Super Bowl. In those title games he also won the Super Bowl MVP Award, which puts him in elite company with Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Brady and Terry Bradshaw, as the only players to ever get that honor twice.
Manning hangs up his pads a season after mainly backing up rookie Daniel Jones. After the year ended, Manning made it obvious that he had zero interest in being a backup for another campaign, even if it was an option. Giants owner John Mara also said that Manning could potentially return to the organization in a different role if he chose to retire.
Manning started just four games this past year, which represents his lowest total ever. His final career start came on December 15 against the Dolphins, which is a great draw as far as final opponents go. The Giants won that game 36-20.
News of Eli's exit quickly spread, mercifully knocking Mr. Peanut's death from the spot on Twitter's trending topics. Notable higher-ups, past and present, within the Giants organization offered kind words for the team's longtime signal caller. These higher-ups include his former coach, Tom Coughlin, and co-owners Mara and Steve Tisch:
Outside of those statements the response was a little more mixed and snarky:
Time really flies, yeesh.