Elisha Nelson "Eli" Manning was born January 3, 1981. Manning is the son of New Orleans Saints great Archie Manning, and the younger brother of Denver Broncos star Peyton Manning.
While Peyton is arguably a Top 3 greatest quarterback ever to play the game, his brother is no slouch when it comes to his career.
While at the University of Mississippi, Manning threw for over 10,000 career yards and 84 touchdowns, and set or tied 45 season or career marks at the school.
In 2004, the San Diego Chargers selected Manning with the No. 1 overall pick. Manning and his father had publicly said they wouldn't play for the Chargers and the team traded him to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers and draft picks (used to select Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding). That draft class not only saw Rivers in it, but Ben Roethlisberger was picked as well.
Eli's rookie season was rough. He got benched in favor of Kurt Warner after a game against the Baltimore Ravens that saw Manning finish with a 0.0 QB rating. The 2005 season, however, would be different. Warner left and Manning was the starter. Manning finished among the top five quarterbacks in both passing yards and touchdown passes that year and led the Giants, 11-5, to the NFC East title.
In 2007, Manning was a Super Bowl champion after defeating the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. Trailing 14-10, Manning lead the team on a game-winning touchdown drive of 83 yards. The key play, and one of the greatest plays in NFL history, was on third-and-5 from their own 44-yard line, when Manning somehow escaped several defenders in what looked like he'd be sacked for sure, twirled out of it and heaved the ball in the air where receiver David Tyree pinned the ball to his helmet as he fell to the ground. An unforgettable play on an unforgettable day that saw Manning named Super Bowl MVP.
Manning would go on to one-up his brother, Peyton, by winning a second Super Bowl in 2011. The New York Giants would again defeat the New England Patriots in dramatic fashion to win Super Bowl XLVI 21-17. Manning would make key throws to lead the team to another game-winning touchdown and earn himself a second MVP award. Manning also became the first quarterback to throw for 4,900+ yards and win a Super Bowl in the same season.
In his career with the Giants, all Manning has done is throw for over 35,000 yards and 229 touchdowns. While he may not get the publicity his brother does, Eli has proven to be an elite QB and a champion. Here's to you Eli Manning, happy birthday to you.