Eli Manning and Philip Rivers are forever linked
Eli Manning doesn’t feel comfortable talking about why he and
his family didn’t want him to play in San Diego in 2004.
The New York Giants quarterback gets a sheepish look and says he
really doesn’t remember why he spurned a city known for its mild
climates and beaches.
It’s in the past, and he’ll keep it there.
The only reason it was resurrected Wednesday is that the Giants
(5-7) are getting ready to play Rivers and the Chargers (5-7) in
San Diego on Sunday.
It leaves many to wonder what would have happened had Manning
played for the Chargers. Would they have won two Super Bowls with
Manning in charge or would Rivers have been the guy who led New
York to two titles and won two Super Bowl MVPs?
We’ll never know.
The bottom line was the Mannings told the Chargers that Eli
didn’t want to play in southern California and it forced their hand
on draft day in 2004. The Chargers took Manning with the No. 1
overall pick and traded him to the Giants for Philip Rivers – the
No. 4 selection – and three other picks, including the Giants’ No.
1 in 2005.
The deal took 45 minutes to broker and Manning spent the time
doing interviews at the theatre at Madison Square Garden, where the
draft was held.
”It wasn’t an ideal situation,” Manning recalled. ”We were
prepared to go through with it and wait it out.”
In the end, then-Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi pulled off
the deal that got New York its quarterback of the future. Manning
then did a second round of interviews.
”I know I had more smiles the second time around,” Manning
Rivers had an interesting take on the trade a decade later.
Speaking on a conference call, he said he doubted the Giants would
have drafted him unless the deal with the Chargers was ironed out,
saying New York didn’t have much interest in him leading up to the
Many believe the Giants intended to draft Ben Roethlisberger had
they not been able to make the trade for Manning.
”When the Giants drafted me, I thought something must be going
on with San Diego,” Rivers recalled. “So I don’t think about it as
much (what if) because I really don’t think it was as much of a
possibility as it seemed.”
Giants coach Tom Coughlin recalled Accorsi’s conviction.
”I remember Ernie Accorsi making that deal, of being 100
percent in belief that this was the right thing to do for our
franchise,” Coughlin said, later adding he believes the deal
helped both teams.
Manning and Rivers have kept an eye on each other’s careers,
along with that of Roethlisberger, who has led the Steelers to two
Super Bowl titles.
”I definitely have kept up with all of those guys and got to
know them some and got to talk to them, but you’re kind of proud of
your own class,” Manning said. ”You kind of hope your class will
go down as a good class of quarterbacks and players.”
Rivers obviously hopes to win a Super Bowl, too. But he doesn’t
want to win just to get a ring.
”I want to experience it for our team and teammates and the
guys we’ve played with for so long to experience getting to the top
with one another,” Rivers said. ”So you look back over the whole
journey getting there, that’s what is most motivating,, to stand at
the top and say we did it, not that it got you in this category or
This will be only the third time Manning has faced the Chargers
in his career. He has never beaten them, losing 45-23 in 2005 when
Drew Brees was the Chargers’ starter. Rivers took over the
following year and led them to a 21-20 win over the Giants in 2009,
guiding a late winning drive.
Manning remembers both games, although that first one in San
Diego was very loud and the crowd showed Manning a lot of
”I don’t know if love was the right word,” Manning said.
”We’ll see what it’s like this year.”
`Manning insists he has nothing against the city.
”We had our rookie symposium there, but besides that, I have
been to San Diego for a few other things,” Manning said. ”I know
it’s a beautiful city and great weather and has a lot of great
things to it.”
When asked what was wrong a decade ago, he hesitated.
”I just can’t remember it,” he said. ”It’s been 10 years. It
slipped my mind.”
NOTES: DE Justin Tuck was chosen NFC defensive player of the
week for his four-sack performance against Washington. … DE Jason
Pierre-Paul still hopes to play this season despite a shoulder
injury that forced him to sit out last weekend. … LB Jon Beason,
who had 17 tackles last weekend, reiterated he wants to play for
the Giants in 2014. … CB Terrell Thomas is finally going to get a
chance to play in his native Southern California after six seasons
in the NFL. He had 67 tickets for the game and the count is going
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