Eli Manning Reveals Why He Didn't Want to Be Drafted by Chargers

Eli Manning was the No. 1 player in the 2004 NFL Draft, and it looked like he was going to have a stellar career with the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers. However, after Manning was selected by the Chargers, he was shortly traded to the New York Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers. But why did Manning want out of San Diego before landing there? He explained his reason on the Season 3 premiere of the podcast 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt.

"It was my decision having talked with my agent, coaches, GMs and owners. Going through the draft process, I was just worried about the Chargers organization at the time," Manning said. "I felt it was the right decision and I had a little pull. I quietly tried to say 'hey, please don't draft me, it can be our secret,' and they didn't keep the secret part very well. 

"It wasn't my Dad. He was trying to take the heat off of me, he knew I was going to get criticized. After that, the Chargers turned it around, they got Shawne Merriman, then Drew Bress started playing great, then Philip (Rivers) started playing great, they went to AFC Championship Games, they're making playoffs and turned things around." Manning took some heat for the decision, but the move worked out for both parties. Manning went on to win two Super Bowls with the Giants and did that by beating Tom Brady in both games. Because of that and winning the Super Bowl MVP award twice, Manning will likely be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Chargers didn't win a Super Bowl with Rivers but had their share of successful seasons. Rivers ended his career with 63.440 yards and 421 touchdowns with a 95.2 passer rating. He reached the Pro Bowl nine times and was named to the Chargers' 50th Anniversary team. 


Manning also talked about the pressure of being Peyton Manning's younger brother. "When I was in high school and getting recruiting, I was probably a little nervous about trying to live up to the expectations," he said. "There's only five years difference (between he and Peyton), so he had just graduated from Tennessee and he's the No. 1 pick in the (NFL) draft and he's up for the Heisman as I'm graduating high school and people are saying 'well here comes Peyton's brother, he may be better!' I kind of struggled with it at first."