Sources: Eli Manning to retire after 16 seasons

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is retiring after 16 seasons and two Super Bowl MVPs, sources tell ESPN.

Manning will hold a news conference on Friday to officially announce the news, the sources said.

Manning, 39, steps away holding almost every passing record in team history and a pair of Super Bowl rings. His victories over the New England Patriots after the 2007 and ’11 seasons are the most iconic moments from a legendary career. They will put him in the conversation for the Hall of Fame in five years, when he’s eligible.

Manning is one of just five players in NFL history with at least two Super Bowl MVPs. He’s in an elite club with Joe Montana, Bart Starr, Tom Brady and Terry Bradshaw.

His decision to call it a career comes after a season in which Manning spent most of his time as the backup to rookie Daniel Jones. Manning made it clear after the season that being a backup wasn’t much fun and there wasn’t an interest in returning in a similar role, even if Giants owner John Mara left the door open for it to happen. Mara also said it was possible Manning could return to the organization in another role if he decided to retire.

The Giants turned to Jones after Week 2 this season, and Manning started a total of three games, the lowest total since his rookie season. He won his final start as a Giant against the Miami Dolphins and given a proper sendoff as he jogged off the field and into the arms of his wife and four children at MetLife Stadium.

Manning was set to become a free agent this offseason. He has made more than $250 million from his football contracts, the most in NFL history. 

His father, Archie, had long said he never thought Eli would play for another team. He will not, despite taking several weeks following the conclusion of the season to make his final decision.

Manning was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2004 NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers. But he didn’t want to play in San Diego and was quickly traded to the Giants. The Chargers ended up with Philip Rivers and the Pittsburgh Steelers landed Ben Roethlisberger in the legendary ’04 QB class.

Manning is the first of the three to call it a career. He does so while sitting seventh all-time with 57,023 passing yards, 366 touchdown passes and 4,895 completions. He finished with a 117-117 record as a starter in the regular season.

And then there were those two magical playoff runs that led to the two Super Bowl victories and MVPs. Those are part of the indelible mark Manning left on the game. He was the architect of two of the biggest upsets in Super Bowl history. 

Manning went 8-4 in his playoff career, with five of those wins coming on the road. He also beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in his two Super Bowl appearances, which included ruining their undefeated season in 2007.

That Super Bowl run in his fourth season included classic victories on the road in Dallas and Green Bay. Temperatures in that NFC Championship game win over the Packers were below zero and Manning threw for 251 yards with no turnovers in the contest.

He later threw the game-winning touchdown to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining in Super Bowl XLII against the Patriots.

Manning took a vicious beating while beating the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game during the 2011 season. He entered the “elite” conversation while throwing for 296 yards and a touchdown in Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots.

Manning went 69-50 as the starter in his first eight seasons. It went downhill from there. The Giants went 48-67 with Manning as the starter over his final eight seasons.

But that won’t put a stain on one of the most unique careers in history. An iron man, Manning never missed a game because of injury and started 210 consecutive games from 2004-2017. He was a four-time Pro Bowl selection but never an All Pro. He was never seriously in the running for an MVP.

Yet he retires as perhaps the best quarterback in franchise history and with two incredible playoff runs during 16 memorable seasons.

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