An illustrious football career spanning four award-winning collegiate seasons and 16 years in the NFL has officially come to an end.
Ole Miss and New York Giants legend Eli Manning will announce his retirement from football on Friday, according to ESPN.
The 39-year-old quarterback was selected with the first overall pick by the San Diego Chargers in the 2004 NFL Draft, but immediately forced his way to the Giants, where he eventually became the undisputed leader of one of the most storied franchises in professional sports with two Super Bowl MVP awards to show.
Manning burst onto the scene in Oxford in 2001 with 2,948 passing yards to go with 31 touchdowns and only 9 interceptions, earning a Conerly Trophy Award and a nod on the Davey O’Brien Award finalist list.
The New Orleans native improved upon that with 3,401 yards in 2002 and 3,600 in 2003, proving he was the best college quarterback in the nation.
By the time he graduated from Ole Miss, Manning had a Maxwell Award, SEC Most Valuable Player Award, First-Team All-American nod and a Cotton Bowl win, just to name a few accolades.
Eli’s heroics as a Rebel combined with the name on the back of his jersey puts him into a different stratosphere in of Ole Miss folklore, which is why many Ole Miss fans followed him all the way up to New York when he started his professional career.
Even as the arm talent faded and the streak of 210 regular season starts was snapped during the 2017 season when Manning was benched for Geno Smith, football fans will remember Manning as he was in his runs to Super Bowls XLII and XLVI.
Manning pulled out some of the gutsiest playoff performances of all time, escaping the Patriots defense and completing the helmet catch on the way to a go-ahead score to win his first title and defeating the Tom Brady again with a late drive in 2011.
Manning’s performances on the biggest stage in those clutch situations puts him in the Hall of Fame conversation and he’ll certainly be considered when he’s eligible in 2025, despite his struggles toward the end of his career.
Whether Eli continues his work in football on the sidelines coaching, in the booth commentating or relaxing on the beach, his work on the field will be remembered for years to come.