The New York Giants and their fan base seem to have made the transition from Eli Manning to Daniel Jones without much fanfare.
The two men are similar in many ways — laid back, respectful to the media and fans, and professional in their approach to the game.
“I think that’s why we’ve become pals and stayed in touch. I’ve never had resentment toward him in any way just because I appreciate the way he’s handled his business,” Eli said of Jones in an interview with The Athletic. “I appreciate the way he’s come in and worked hard and dealt with the controversy and dealt with the ups and downs. He’s always wanted to make improvements and get better. I appreciate his attitude and his commitment to football. I’m rooting for him and I’m a fan of him.”
These days, Manning — who played his entire 16-year NFL career with Big Blue, ending in 2019 — is more of a fan but still finds some time to mentor his former teammate, friend, and successor.
Earlier this summer, the two hung out together at Eli’s house in the Hamptons. As one can imagine, it wasn’t quite a blowout of a party.
“He was a good houseguest,” Manning said. “We had a good time, definitely had some fun. We played some golf, worked out — he worked out and threw, I just kind of was out there coaching some of the kids up. It was good to hang out with him and get to do that.”
Both men are swimming in money and fame but you’d never know it. They get up every day and go about their business. When Manning retired, he had the distinction of making the most money of any player in NFL history over their career. He is now one of the most successful sports celebrity pitchmen in the world. His newest gig is for the beer conglomerate Corona.
Jones is following his predecessor, inking a four-year extension worth $160 million. Many panned the deal, saying Jones hasn’t had enough success yet to earn such a payday. Manning disagrees.
“It can be stressful when you don’t know what your circumstances are — where you’re playing or how you’re thought of,” he said. “You’ve got coaches changing and GMs changing. I think (it’s important) for him to know this coaching staff and upper management have faith in him and have trust in him that he can go out there and earn everything that he’s gotten.”
What Jones doesn’t have yet that Manning does is a championship. Eli said Jones wants that badly and is determined not only to take the Giants to the top but to be one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
“I think he still feels like he has a lot to prove, that he wants to win a championship, be one of the best quarterbacks. That’s what he’s working toward. I think he’s worked really hard. I think he feels very comfortable in this offense and being the leader of this team and taking ownership and that responsibility. He wants to go out there and play well,” Manning said.
Manning stays close to the game these days. He’s hard to miss. He lives in New Jersey, attends Giant games frequently and is seen all over in his countless ads for a myriad of products.
It’s been four years since Eli donned the blue. He was asked what it is like for him to watch a game in 2023.
“I think just like the average fan. If I’m at the game, I’ve got my kids. I’m just sitting there and usually, I’m going to get them snacks and food. I’ve got my Corona and just enjoying the atmosphere,” Manning said. “I’m not trying to watch too much of the defense and what’s going on. I don’t know the plays coming in, I don’t know their offense and what they’re doing.
“Sometimes, if I really get to sit there and have a moment for critical plays in the game — the two-minute drives, the fourth-quarter situations — I’ll get dialed in a little bit just so if I see Daniel after the game, I can say, ‘That was good. They were playing this.’ I can talk ball with him, which not everybody can do.”
Hopefully, they’ll be talking about Super Bowls at some point.