EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The best quarterback in Giants history has signed on for another four years with the team.
Eli Manning today affixed his signature to a new contract, two days before the Giants begin their 2015 season in Dallas. Manning is entering his 12th NFL season, all with the Giants, who acquired him in a draft-day trade in 2004.
"I'm obviously excited knowing I'll be a Giant for a long time," Manning said. "This is where I got started and where I want to finish. I still have the same mentality. My goal is to earn this contract and do my best and keep trying to win championships for the Giants."
The Giants are just as happy as Manning that the negotiations reached a fruitful conclusion.
"I'm glad we were able to get this done, so we all can focus on winning football games," general manager Jerry Reese said.
"I think that there would be no doubt for all of us to have that behind us," coach Tom Coughlin said, "particularly Eli and his family, to have that behind them and no longer have questions about that every day or every time he appears. I think that's a good thing."
Manning was customarily reticent this summer when asked about the contract. It was virtually a foregone conclusion he would re-sign with the team. The talks between the Giants and his agent, Tom Condon, continued through training camp. But Manning kept his focus on the field.
"It wasn't something that I worried about getting done," he said. "In the last couple of weeks, when it was close to getting done, there were a few little things that held it up a little bit. It's not a distraction, but it's something that has to be dealt with. I'm excited that I can start thinking about football completely. The mindset has been, I have a job to do, getting ready for Dallas, and doing my job."
Manning conceded his preference was to conclude negotiations and sign his contract before the beginning of the regular season.
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"Once the talks got going and we were very close, I definitely wanted to try to get it done before the season, so I could just think about football," he said. "Even though I tried not to make it a distraction, it's still
around. You have to talk to your agent, and you're getting updates and you're dealing with the media. So it's good to have that over with, so I can work on playing football and winning football games."
Manning is beginning his 12th season as the Giants' starting quarterback. He led the Giants to victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, and was selected the most valuable player in both games. Manning is also a three-time Pro Bowl selection, most recently in 2012.
Manning is the Giants' career leader in pass attempts (5,609), completions (2,929), passing yards (39,755), touchdown passes (259) and interceptions (185). His 63.1 completion percentage in 2014 raised his career percentage to 58.98, lifting him over Kerry Collins (58.51) and into first place on the Giants' all-time list among quarterbacks with at least 1,000 attempts.
Manning is the first Giants quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in 10 consecutive seasons, the first to have three 4,000-yard seasons (2009-11) and the first to throw at least 20 touchdown passes eight years in a row (2005-12).
He has started 167 consecutive regular-season games, the third-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, and the longest active streak among all NFL players, regardless of position.
Only Brett Favre (297) and Peyton Manning (208) are the quarterbacks with more consecutive starts than Manning. San Diego's Philip Rivers, the player for whom Manning was traded during the 2004 NFL Draft, enters the 2015 season with the second-longest streak among active quarterbacks with 144 consecutive starts.
Manning's record as a starter is 91-76 (.545) in the regular season and 8-3 (.727) in the postseason. The 91 victories are the second-most by a quarterback in Giants history; Phil Simms won 95 games from 1979-93.
"I've said it many times, and I'll say it again: He's our quarterback, he's the guy that's our leader," Coughlin said. "He's been an MVP of two Super Bowls. He's a great player, and we are excited to have this accomplished and looking forward to being on the field."
The first overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft (by San Diego), Manning has spent his entire career in Giants blue. It is a circumstance he does not take for granted.
"Not many people come to a team and play there for an extended period of time or, hopefully, their whole careers," he said. "I feel obviously blessed to be part of the Giants family and to have played my career here, with the fans, the ownership and everything the Giants represent. It's been a great 11 years going into 12, and hopefully we can continue to have some great years, and there are a lot of fond memories ahead of us."
As Eli Manning enters his 12th season with the Giants, we look back at this career.