Eli Manning, the New York Giants quarterback who played 16 often-ordinary seasons in the NFL but elevated his game to win two Super Bowls in upsets, is retiring. "He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability," one of the Giants' owners said in a statement Wednesday, the Washington Post reports. "It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us." Manning, younger brother of longtime star quarterback Peyton Manning, lost his starting job this season. He retires with 57,023 passing yards, 366 passing touchdowns and 244 interceptions. Manning, 39, spent his entire NFL career with the Giants, who said he'll make his own announcement on Friday.
"Eli's legacy will always be championships and leadership," said Ernie Accorsi, who made the trade that turned Manning into a Giant on draft day in 2004. As a starter in the regular season, he was only 117-117, per the New York Times. But in the two games that mattered most—the Super Bowls capping the 2007 and 2011 seasons—Manning led the Giants' last-minute comebacks to defeat the New England Patriots. The Giants had so-so regular seasons both times, but Manning outshone his counterparts in the playoffs. "In the most pressure-filled, intensely competitive situations," said Tom Coughlin, the Giants' head coach for those seasons, "that’s when you knew you could count on Eli—and boy, he would never let you down." (Read more Eli Manning stories.)