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Elisha Nelson "Eli" Manning (born January 3, 1981) is an American football quarterback for the New York Giants of the National Football League (NFL) and is the active iron man for consecutive starts by a quarterback. He is the son of former NFL quarterback Archie Manning and the younger brother of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. Manning 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 and immediately traded to the New York Giants, who in return gave up a package highlighted by fourth overall selection Philip Rivers.
Manning has been named Most Valuable Player for two Super Bowls (Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI) and is one of five quarterbacks to have been given this honor twice.
2004 NFL Draft
The San Diego Chargers originally held the rights to the overall first pick in the 2004 NFL Draft due to their 4-12 record in 2003. With Manning being the most coveted player in the draft, it appeared that the Chargers' intentions were to draft him first overall. However, Manning (echoed by his father) stated publicly that he would refuse 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, whereby the Giants would draft and then trade Philip Rivers and draft picks (used to select Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding) to the Chargers for Manning.
Quarterback class of 2004
Manning was one of four quarterbacks taken in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft along with Ben Roethlisberger, Philip Rivers, and J.P. Losman. Manning, Roethlisberger, and Rivers have all been voted to the Pro Bowl since becoming starters. Roethlisberger and Manning have not produced a season with a losing record (although each has had an 8-8 season), and Roethlisberger and Manning have each won two Super Bowls. They have been compared favorably to the Quarterback class of 1983, which included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Dan Marino, John Elway, and Jim Kelly.
Manning made his first career regular season start against the Atlanta Falcons at Giants Stadium on November 21, 2004. In his fourth start, against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on December 12, 2004, he ended the day with a 0.0 passer rating and was benched in the second half in favor of Kurt Warner, but remained the Giants starter through the end of the season.
Following 2004, Warner left the Giants, 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.
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