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Eli Manning, Giants quarterback and two-time Super Bowl-winner, retiring after 16 seasons

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is retiring from the NFL after 16 seasons, the team announced Wednesday. The two-time Super Bowl winner will officially announce his retirement Friday.

"For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field," Giants president and CEO John Mara said in a statement. "We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future."

Manning, 39, spent his entire pro career with the Giants after he was drafted first overall in 2004 by the then-San Diego Chargers. 

Before the draft, Manning publicly announced he would refuse to play for the Chargers, but the team drafted him anyway after agreeing to a deal with the Giants to trade him for quarterback Philip Rivers, who was selected fourth overall by the Giants, along with New York's third-round pick.

Manning became the starting quarterback for the Giants in the middle of his rookie season, taking over for Kurt Warner. Manning would go on to start 210 consecutive games at quarterback, the third-longest streak in NFL history behind only Philip Rivers and Brett Favre.

Philadelphia Eagles v New York Giants
Eli Manning leaves the field on December 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Steven Ryan / Getty

Both of Manning's Super Bowl victories came against the New England Patriots. In what is considered one of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history, Manning and the Giants defeated Tom Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl 42. Coming into the game, the Patriots had a perfect 18-0 record and were looking to become the first undefeated team since the NFL expanded the regular season to 16 games.

Manning was also part of one of the most famous plays in football history during that game. Down 14-10 and facing third down and five with 1:15 remaining in the game, Manning somehow escaped the grasp of several New England defensive players to avoid a sack and heaved the ball downfield. Wide receiver David Tyree jumped up and pinned the ball against his helmet, managing to hold on and avoid letting the ball touch the ground even as Patriots safety Rodney Harrison was draped all over him. Manning would go on to throw the game-winning touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress four plays later.

Manning was awarded Super Bowl MVP for his performance.

Super Bowl XLVI
Eli Manning poses with the Vince Lombardi Trophy on February 5, 2012, in Indianapolis. Rob Carr / Getty

Four years later, Manning and the Giants would once again upset Brady and the Patriots in Super Bowl 46, coming away with a 21-17 victory. Manning once again had to lead a game-winning come-from-behind drive in the fourth quarter, although this time the final touchdown was scored on a run by halfback Ahmad Bradshaw. Still, Manning was once again named Super Bowl MVP, having completed 30 of 40 passes for one touchdown with no interceptions or fumbles.

Manning's Giants were the only team to ever defeat Brady in the Super Bowl until the Eagles won in 2017.

Despite the two championship-winning seasons, Manning's career was always a bit rocky. While he made it to four pro-bowls, Manning also failed to make the playoffs in nine of his 16 seasons. The Giants had three losing seasons in a row from 2013-2015, and although they managed to get back to the playoffs in 2016 with an 11-6 record, they followed that up with just three wins in 2017.

Manning was officially replaced as the starter in 2019 after the Giants drafted former Duke quarterback Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick that year.

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