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He comes from football royalty.

His brother Peyton has won two Super Bowls, his father Archie played for the New Orleans Saints for 10 seasons, and his eldest brother Cooper was poised to be the most talented football player in the family but was diagnosed with a spinal disease that permanently took him off the field. He’s Eli Manning; the New York Giants quarterback who has been at the helm of Big Blue since 2004. But things are changing. Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner, has officially retired from the NFL and passed the reigns to Daniel Jones. But you can’t spell elite without “Eli,” so CASSIUS rounded up some of the most elite moment from New York’s biggest Giant.


Refusing to play for  the Chargers

Eli never played a single snap for the team that actually drafted him and we can probably blame his dad Archie for that. Just days before the draft, Manning agent Tom Condon told the San Diego Chargers that he pretty much didn’t want to play for them. And if the Chargers did draft him, he’d sit out the entire 2004 season. That’s clout for you.

“[Condon] told me that Archie wishes that we do not select Eli and that they think he would be a good fit in New York (with the Giants).” We understand his position and certainly understand his interest in New York, but we will do what we think is the best for the franchise,” Chargers’ GM told  the San Diego Union Tribune in 2004. Archie later admitted that it was Eli who decided to pull the trigger on the decision and that he didn’t  orchestrate it.

Breakout game in 2004

A fresh-faced Eli was going up against a young Ben Roethlisberger who was only playing because of Tommy Maddox’s elbow injury. But nonetheless, it was a matchup between two future NFL Hall of Famers before their prime— and Eli took full advantage.  Roethlisberger may have won 10 straight but Manning put up a fight. It was his breakout game where he showed his potential and a powerful Jeremy Shockey (and Imani Toomer) was in tow. The Steelers eventually won but the constant deep drives and two touchdowns by Manning made sure it wasn’t a blow out. Kurt Warner’s era was over.

Perfect Passer Rating

The elusive perfect passer rating is attained by only a few, one of which is Eli Manning. It was October 11, 2009 and Manning put together the best game of his career. According to the New York Post, Manning was dealing with a painful foot injury just the week prior. “Get in there, score quickly, score a lot, get a big lead and be able to rest it and make sure you don’t put more strain on it where make it where it’s real sore tomorrow,” Manning said and that’s exactly what he did. He went 8 of 10 for 173 yards and was leading the dismal Oakland Raiders 28-7 by the end of the first half. Call it earning the $97.5 million contract extension he signed the summer prior.

That first Super Bowl Win

David Tyree’s helmet catch? It was thrown by Eli Manning. It became one of the most memorable plays in Super Bowl history, when Tyree wasn’t even a go to receiver— he was just a back up guy. Manning and the Giants were down 14-10 against the undefeated New England Patriots with 1:15 left in regulation, on third down and on their own 44. In clips you can see that Manning was nearly sacked and somehow spun out, regained composure and still threw an accurate —though desperate—pass to Tyree which he someone pinned to his helmet.

And the second one, too

And here they are again. For the second time in less than five years Eli Manning is going up against Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. While there was no Tyree-level catch this time around, Mario Manningham came through in the clutch. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s notorious “Make them throw it to Manningham” line proved to be the wrong call. In a drive that started on the Giants’ own 12, Manning threw a pass that came flying down the sideline that Manningham jumped for and held on to with two defenders out for blood. The go-ahead touchdown came soon after and the Giants shall have bragging rights to all Pats fans for forever.

5 of Eli Manning’s Most Elite Moments  was originally published on