Sunday afternoon, Eli Manning stepped into the starting lineup for the second consecutive week in place of an injured Daniel Jones. The two-time Super Bowl MVP had been benched earlier in the year in favor of the rookie, but he was back on the field to face off with the Miami Dolphins. Manning led his team to victory in what may have been his final home game with the New York Giants.
Following the win, Manning ran off the field while those in attendance at MetLife Stadium gave him a standing ovation. The 16-year veteran has struggled with success in recent years, but the fans will never forget the two Super Bowl victories over the New England Patriots.
With this victory serving as the potential final home start for the longtime veteran, the Giants opted to celebrate Manning with a tribute on Twitter. This featured a video of the standing ovation, as well as a multitude of blue hearts to represent the love the franchise has for the veteran QB.
In response, the fans poured their support into the comments section. Some reminisced about the winning season and playoff appearances while others simply said that Manning was underrated.
(Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty)
Love seeing this. He deserves it. Class of ‘04 🐐— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) December 15, 2019
If there was ever any doubt about Eli Manning's impact on the league, tight end Benjamin Watson put that discussion to rest. Technically, the first-round pick from the 2004 NFL Draft isn't a Giants fan, but Watson has incredible respect for Manning. The two entered the league the same year, and they could be walking away at the same time as well.
Interestingly enough, Watson was on the losing end of one Super Bowl. As a member of the Patriots in 2007, he was part of the undefeated team that was in search of a perfect 19-0 record. However, Manning led the Giants to victory and completed a massive upset.
Well deserved! Thank you Eli 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 pic.twitter.com/UNfl2eqPIr— shannon ferguson (@eepdllc) December 15, 2019
Despite the recent losing seasons, the New York Giants will forever be indebted to Eli Manning for the success on the field. Playoff appearances are difficult to achieve, and winning the Lombardi Trophy is impossible for some teams. And yet, Manning helped his team achieve both during his 16-year tenure.
For the fans of the Giants, their unhappiness in recent years will not taint their opinion of Manning. He is still a beloved figure among the New York faithful and will continue to be so if he retires at the end of the year.
Retire his jersey right now— Scuba Steve (@kaydadon15) December 15, 2019
When a prominent figure in the NFL retires, the team waits a few years before bestowing honors upon them. Induction into the team's Ring of Honor is a certainty for some of the biggest stars. Others see their jerseys retired and hung in the rafters.
For the fans of the New York Giants, they don't think there should be a waiting period. They want Manning to be honored immediately. Retire the jersey and stick him in the Ring of Honor. They also want this to happen before he even decides about his football future.
Thank you Eli. Remember Giants fans you don't know what you've got till it's gone. ELI MANNING the greatest Giants QB of all time.— Andrew (@ndevilsj3) December 15, 2019
As the old saying goes: "absence makes the heart grow fonder." The Giants fans are familiar and are using this quote to put Eli Manning's potential retirement in perspective. If he leaves, they believe that many fans will only begin to pine for the former first-round draft pick, especially if Daniel Jones struggles.
To combat this, the New York fanbase wants everyone to stop and think about the happy moments that Manning delivered throughout his career. There are many that have a fondness for Phil Simms and Kerry Collins, but do they compare to Manning?
Going to miss this guy... thank you for everything Eli... first ballot hall of famer... legend.... 🐐 🐐 🐐— Trevor Skillman (@silkyskilly52) December 15, 2019
If Eli Manning walks away from the league following the season, there will be inevitable questions about where he fits in NFL history. He delivered two Super Bowl victories during his 16-year career, but is he worthy of enshrinement in the Hall of Fame? This is a debate that has raged in recent years, but it will only increase in intensity if he retires.
For the fans of the New York Giants, there is no doubt in their minds that Manning will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame after the mandatory five-year waiting period. In fact, they believe that he will be given this honor in his first year of eligibility.
Class all the way. Not a single misstep in 16yrs. Always said the right thing, always stood tall, played the right way. 2 Super Bowl’s, 2 Super Bowl MVP’s, thank you Eli! #10 #EliManning— Ryan Morrissey (@ryandmorrissey) December 15, 2019
While Eli Manning may have earned thousands of fans with his play on the field, there were many more that appreciated how he conducted himself off of it. He was someone that never got into trouble with performance-enhancing substances, and he never created controversy. Even after getting benched twice by two separate coaches, Manning still dedicated himself to helping out the other quarterbacks on the roster.
In the modern era of players drawing attention for their actions on social media, the Giants fans knew that Manning would be the one avoiding controversy and keeping everything professional. They appreciated that aspect of his personality and did not take it for granted.
As much as I’ve slandered him the last couple of years he’s still the guy that brought home two rings, is my favorite ny athlete ever and a great quarterback and role model. Love you#10💙💙💙👀👀👀— Michael G (@DANNYDIMES26) December 15, 2019
As many Giants fans will admit, some of the years with Eli Manning under center were not as joyous as Sunday's victory. There were certainly struggles that resulted in more losses than wins, and the Giants only made the playoffs six times during Manning's tenure.
These struggles led to many Giants fans calling for Manning to be benched, but they were not prepared for the move to actually be made. Multiple supporters of Big Blue were actually saddened when Manning was sent to the bench. Although they did get a chance at redemption with his return to the starting lineup against Miami.
I was there. It was a great afternoon. Fans got a chance to show well deserved appreciation for Eli.— Robert Godosky (@reggodgen) December 16, 2019
When a starting quarterback walks away from his team to pursue other aspects of life, there are often mixed reactions. The Indianapolis Colts fans booed Andrew Luck when news surfaced that he was retiring prior to the 2019 season. The Giants fans, however, gave Manning a standing ovation.
Granted, Manning's future has not been decided, but the belief is that he could ultimately walk away from the league following the 2019 season. If so, the New York fanbase can rest assured that they gave him a fitting exit.