Eli Manning was drafted No. 1 overall in the 2004 NFL Draft, but he never played a down for the team that picked him.
The San Diego Chargers selected Manning with their top pick that year, but the Ole Miss product publicly stated before the draft that he had no interest in playing for the Chargers. As a result, San Diego dealt Manning to the New York Giants in exchange for Philip Rivers and future picks.
The Chargers, who have since moved to Los Angeles, have had minimal postseason success with Rivers under center, while Manning has led the Giants to two Super Bowl championships. We have no way of knowing how Manning and the Chargers would have fared had he not been traded, but the four-time Pro Bowl selection is more than happy with how things tuned out.
“I want to thank (former Giants general manager) Ernie (Accorsi),” Manning told Newsday’s Bob Glauber. “If it weren’t for him, I’d be playing in a soccer stadium.”
The Chargers have a lavish new stadium that’s expected to open in 2020, but for now, the team is playing its home games at the StubHub Center, the home of the Los Angeles Galaxy. The stadium only holds 27,000 people, which pales in comparison to the stadium capacity of a typical NFL stadium.
Manning typically is as mild-mannered as they come, but the Giants quarterback didn’t hold back with this burn.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images
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