January 24, 2020 marked the end of an era for the New York Giants. For the first time since April 24, 2004, Eli Manning would not be a Giant, and the team entered the post-Eli world.
Eli’s retirement speech in January of last year was an emotional affair, as Eli ended his speech with the proclamation that he will always be a Giant. The day started with remarks form John Mara as well, thanking Eli for everything he’s done for the franchise, as well as making the promise that Eli would be the last Giant to ever wear Eli’s number.
Mara said, “And finally, Eli, what more can I say, thank you for everything you’ve done for the New York Giants for the last 16 years, for being such a role model for our players, for our fans and for everything you’ve done in the community.
We have this game ball to present to you, which attempts to list all of your accomplishments, I’m not sure we got them all in there, but you will always be the ultimate Giant, and we would be honored to induct you into our Ring of Honor next season. And please know this, no Giant will ever wear No. 10 again.”
Today the Giants made good on that promise and Eli’s No. 10 jersey was raised into the rafters.
Eli was received with a standing ovation as he walked out to the stage set out on the field. His banner in the Giants’ ring of honor was unveiled, suitably right next to Justin Tuck’s, with whom he won a pair of Super Bowls.
As he did when he announced his retirement, Eli’s words summed the moment up perfectly. “Once a Giant, always a Giant,” Eli said. “I’m glad I’m only a Giant.”