Eli Manning: I can’t remember why I didn’t want to be a Charger

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In the 2004 NFL draft, the Chargers selected Eli Manning first overall. Manning was a Charger for an awkward half-hour during which he reiterated what he had said before the draft — that he wouldn’t play for the Chargers — before San Diego traded him to the Giants. Now Manning is preparing to play the Chargers and the quarterback he was traded for, Philip Rivers, but Manning would prefer not to talk about the past.

Asked by reporters today why he didn’t want to play for the Chargers, Manning answered, “I forgot, I think.”

Pressed to go into detail, Manning refused.

“I just can’t remember, it’s been 10 years. It slipped my mind,” Manning said, via Conor Orr of the Star-Ledger. “Ten years ago, I don’t know. I can’t remember.”

Manning did say he likes visiting the city of San Diego.

“I have nothing against San Diego as a city,” Manning said. “We had our rookie symposium there and besides that, we’ve had a few other things, I know it’s a beautiful city and great weather. There’s a lot of great things to it.”

Manning just didn’t want to play there. And he won’t get a warm welcome there on Sunday.

85 responses to “Eli Manning: I can’t remember why I didn’t want to be a Charger

  1. I can… cause daddy didn’t want you playin for owners of the SD Chargers. Something about a “poorly run organization”, if memory serves me right. And i’m not a NYG or SD Charger fan.
    So i would bet one of those teams fans will remember more clearly than me.

  2. The San Diego weather is better than Newport Beach, Malibu or Santa Barbara it’s just the largest southern California metropolis located right on the ocean. And no, Los Angeles, contrary to belief is NOT located on the ocean. Suburbs, yes, city no.
    However, the people make San Diego the Birmingham of the 1960s with their backwards, shallow minded thinking and acts.

  3. Regardless if he deserved them or not, or if the Gmen deserved to win or not, he is a 2 time Super Bowl MVP so I think he made the right choice.

  4. Same thing my kids say when I ask them about a past occurrence when they were being bratty.

  5. If they had to do it over, as a fan I would want the teams to make the same decisions and make the trade. Manning does have 2 rings but Rivers seems to have more passion for the game than monotone, straight faced Eli. I know passion doesn’t bring rings but one can only hope one day.

  6. 1) Your dad didnt want you to be a in the same conference as your brother
    2) The Chargers were in complete reubuilding mode and you didnt want to have anything to do with that,

    The way he handled that was disgustingly immature, like a spoiled baby. For that reason, I dont care if you win 7 more superbowls, I will never have even a fraction of the respect for Eli that I have for his brother.

  7. Maybe because the Chargers treat all there players like crap?!

    LT, Drew Brees, Jerome Bettis, Junior Seau just to rattle off a few…

    Playing for a proud franchise and winning Two Super Bowls sounds better than being a San Diego-an with Ron Burgundy and Veronica Corningstone.

  8. If I may, I believe I remember the reason why you didn’t want to come to San Diego…

    – Stadium is a dump

    – Uni’s are awful (remember, this is 2003 when the Chargers decided to go with that ugly all navy blue look)

    – The guy who was GM had no idea how to build a championship team

    – The “fans” are very fair weather

    Yeah who wouldn’t want to be a Charger? LOL

  9. I remember he was from NFL royalty and he was allowed to make his own rules. I bet that’s why he cares not to remember. It doesn’t make him look so good when you think about it. What if every top NFL Draft pick acted like this Manning. I bet the rules would be changed again very quickly. You better believe it. The Mannings seem like OK guys but I’d take Brady any day all things considered, in fact right now I would rather have Philip Rivers, and I bet the Chargers would too and they do. I wonder why so many fans like Peyton Manning but not so much Tom Brady? Being honest now if you couldn’t remember who you hated or not and you could be one of the Mannings, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Tom Brady who would you be? Don’t even bother trying to lie, we all know the answer. My cake and eat it too, what more can you ask for?

  10. logicalvoicesays says:
    Dec 4, 2013 4:41 PM
    Top 5 QBs in Professional Football – Griffin III, Rodgers, Stafford, Dalton and Brees. In that order.


    Eli has two skins on the wall and a SB MVP

    RG3nout has no Super Bowl wins and a team that has turned on him

    Not even close logical


    Hail To Tony Romo

  11. Eli just needs to look at some tape. Daddy told him he didn’t want to play in San Diego, so he didn’t. It wasn’t the most egregious thing in the world, as the SD draftee was going to have to sit behind Drew Brees, and they had Marty Schottenheimer and Norv Turner for head coaches. It was just that the Mannings came across as smarmy, entitled little brats – and that includes Archie – that made the whole thing smell so bad.

  12. Still hard to believe you can manipulate selections like that. What’s the point of the draft? His stunt was right up there with the Colts’ blatant “Suck for Luck” campaign.

  13. The correct answer is, “AJ Smith treated everyone from the ball boys to the head coach like a baby treats a diaper.”

  14. M hint O hint hint N hint hint hint E hint hint hint Y…Money .now do you remember?? yore daddy didn’t think they would pay you what you wanted.. Archie said the Chargers had a rep for low balling draft choices creating holdouts etc…..

  15. mrcosio says:
    Dec 4, 2013 4:50 PM
    If I may, I believe I remember the reason why you didn’t want to come to San Diego…

    – Stadium is a dump

    – Uni’s are awful (remember, this is 2003 when the Chargers decided to go with that ugly all navy blue look)

    – The guy who was GM had no idea how to build a championship team

    – The “fans” are very fair weather

    Yeah who wouldn’t want to be a Charger? LOL

    Perhaps someone with a shred of humility. Being humble counts for nothing anymore? I for one would be greatful to be on an NFL team and be the #1 pick, and would look forward to doing anything I could to help turn the franchise i was drafted by in the one direction by being a leader.

    You know, like a QB does, and act like a man.

  16. Let’s see:

    Bright lights, big city, NFL flagship, tons of history, Lawrence Taylor, Wellington Mara, championships, commercials, city money, prime time games, playing the Cowboys 2x per year, limitless post-NFL earning potential OR

    Wearing powder blue unis in front of half empty stadium and playing in absolute obscurity.

    Yeah….shocker he forced his way to the Giants.

  17. Say what you want…he made the right decision. The Bolts are a poorly run organization. It starts at the top. My Chargers squander away talent on a consistent basis. Wasting the primes of so many great players while letting others walk away without compensation. I used to hate him with such passion and I still don’t like the guy or his family(especially daddy), but ultimately it was a smart choice.

  18. Eli has to be the flukiest SB winner ever. He’s just a terrible qb. I’m still trying to figure out how he has 2 SB mvp’s. mind boggling.

  19. Your grandfather was a big Giants fan, Eli. Saw that in a recent documentary about the Mannings. Pretty good. You should watch it.

  20. Doesn’t matter to me, I’m to busy polishing the replica Super Bowl rings the New York Giants of Football send to all their fans. Maaaan alive that would be sweeeet.

  21. Eli Manning is bigger than the NFL and it’s draft. He unlike tens of thousands of others who went where they were drafted because that is how the league works was above the rules. Just cuz. Trust me, we didn’t want him then or now and will be happy to boo him come Sunday. We have played him twice since then and are 2-0.

  22. Probably because it’s fun to win Superbowls … and you’re not getting that in San Diego.

  23. I’m a fan of Eli, but I have to say that this has made me lose a fair bit of respect for him. It’s been almost ten years. There aren’t any more feathers to ruffle. Just either tell the truth, or say you aren’t going to answer the question.

    For him to expect us to believe that he doesn’t remember why he made the most important decision of his life, up to that point, is ridiculous and insulting.

  24. Eli Manning is the most overrated player in NFL history, 2nd place is Terry Bradshaw. Folks, just because you have the best TEAM to win it all, doesn’t mean you crown the QB. If so, Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson are way better than Dan Marino. lol

  25. It was a business decision. His father and agent told him he’d max out his lifetime earnings one hell of a lot easier in New York than he would San Diego.

  26. It was because San Diego’s organization was a train wreck at the time and Manning didn’t want to play there.

    If his father had some say in the decision – what’s wrong with that? If I were in that position (pause to laugh out loud!) I would certainly want my father there with me for advice.

    Keep in mind that ALL pro sports drafts are inherently unfair, and are legal only by fiat from the Congress. If you graduated #1 from Harvard Law School (pause for laugh out loud #2!) wouldn’t you want to be able to choose whom to work for instead of the other way around?

  27. It’s fascinating to me how Peyton Manning has managed to stay out of this story. Since he was the one with first hand knowledge of Ryan Leaf and his experience with the Chargers before his younger brother came into the draft.

  28. Peyton whispered in his ear and said don’t go to SD because we’d have to play against each other too often.

  29. He looked so miserable and awkward holding that Chargers jersey, wearing that San Diego cap. His career would have been a train wreck if the trade didn’t happen.

  30. I highly doubt he would have 2 rings now if he had played in San Diego. I didn’t like the way he went about draft day and the refusal, but in the end it worked out. Chargers are no worse off with Rivers. They really should be more concerend with letting Brees go when they did.

  31. I just don’t like the answer Eli gave. He darn well knows why he didn’t want to go to SD (all the reasons have been commented on). Just tell it like it is, Eli. You ducked that question far more effectively than you’ve ducked oncoming linebackers this year.

  32. I believe the trade Eli for Rivers was a great trade for AJ, for SD draft picks and football personnel acquired with them. Then AJ and Norv had to go ahead and screw it up, and the window has long closed on confidence of Super Bowl runs for the Chargers.

    As I recall, at the draft when they called Eli as numero uno they put the camera on Archie’s mug and he looked angry. Eli looked exasperated, and some rubes in the stands with loud piercing evangelistic voices chanted “Wear the hat!!” over and over. Eli did not wear the hat, to my remembrance. In the long run, NY Giants got the better deal, obviously, 2 SB to none.

  33. This is the same as when John Elway told the Colts that he would rather play baseball then play for their franchise. The Colts drafted him with the intention that they could talk him into playing for the team though.

    When the Chargers drafted Eli, they knew full-well that he had no intention of playing there. They were smart and traded him for players to be named including: Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding.

    At the end of the day though, Eli Manning has two Super Bowls, the Chargers none. Put all your feelings aside and just think about that, Giants won the deal.

  34. The reason was because Peyton was with the Colts (AFC) and Archie wanted Eli to be in the NFC so that both of them had the best possibility to go to a Super Bowl. They are still looking for that brother vs brother SB.

  35. Because Marty Schottdenheimer was there, three yards and a cloud of dust. Defense, defense, dewfense was Marty’s forte. Ofcourse A.J. Smith Mr. Personality probably didn’t help either!

  36. Best part of the original article:

    There was a mystery that day, like some people said you wouldn’t even put the Chargers hat on when you were drafted. (Video here shows Manning awkwardly tucking it underneath the San Diego jersey)

    “Did I put the hat on? No? I didn’t put the hat on?”


    “I just, my hair was feeling good that day. I didn’t want to mess it up.”

  37. If my son was making a decision regarding the best option for his career, any father would do exactly what Archie did for his Eli. And everybody bashing Archie on this board would do the exact same for their son,regardless of the profession.

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