Photo: Getty/Alberto E. Rodriguez
Eli Manning may have been the first overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, but he wasn’t always such a sure thing.At times, Eli looked a bit lost out there when he began his pro career. Additionally, fans and coaches alike weren’t (and still aren’t) too fond of his penchant to make some poor decisions and throw a bunch of interceptions.
This love-hate relationship with the New York Giants starting quarterback is now squarely stationed at love, though, as he’s led them to a second Super Bowl appearance in five years.
Elisha Nelson Manning was born in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1981. His father, Archie Manning, played for the New Orleans Saints at the time.
Eli played high school football at the same place older brothers Peyton and Cooper played, Isidore Newman High in New Orleans.
After high school, he had heavy interest from schools like Virginia and Texas, but Eli chose to attend Ole Miss to play college football. As a senior he led the Rebels to a 10-3 record and Cotton Bowl victory in 2003.
His 2004 rookie season filled many Giants fans with doubt, as Eli looked out of his element much of the time. He completed less than 50 per cent of his passes and threw more INTs than TDs en route to a 1-6 record as the starter.
Despite consecutive playoff appearances in 2005 and 2006, a ton of interceptions and quick postseason exits kept the haters around.
Then in 2007 he shut them all up by leading New York to an upset of the vaunted New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. What's perhaps the signature moment of his career came on this play.
To celebrate his Super Bowl ring and MVP, he married longtime girlfriend Abby McGrew in Mexico in 2008. They've been together since college.
Super Bowl saviour and all, Eli still remained the butt of many a joke for his up and down play. Those little boy looks didn't help, either.
Settling down and starting a family didn't bode too well for Eli and the Giants, as they lost their only playoff game between 2008-2010. Manning set a new career mark by leading the league with 25 interceptions in 2010.
But Eli is all smiles now. He's (mostly) escaped Peyton's shadow and has his Giants just a win away from another NFL title.
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