Life is different these days for former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning. Family time and TV work dominate his days. Big Blue View had a chance to catch up with Manning this week as part of a Kings Hawaiian promotion. Below, our chat.
Ed: Let’s get into real quick why you’re available today, what you’re promoting, what you’re doing.
Eli: Kind of have a new partnership with Kings Hawaiian, which has been a natural fit just because Kings Hawaiian and their sliders and rolls and buns have been bringing family and friends together for a long time. And since retirement kind of have a new ritual called Slider Sunday, which we get together, whether it’s tailgating or out in the backyard just barbecuing or just kind of closing down a weekend where we just get together family, friends, have a bunch of Kings Hawaiian sliders. And it’s great that you can just customize ‘em in so many different ways, whether it’s a Turkey ranch or a hamburger or a sloppy Joe or short ribs or kids can just have a plain turkey. So it’s great for family, friends you’re hosting, have the Kings Hawaiian sliders and, and everybody’s happy.”
Ed: You didn’t show the different sides of your personality to the public as a player. Could you have seen where life has taken you as sort of an entertainment figure at this point?
Eli: No. That wasn’t necessarily the game plan. I don’t know if I had an exact game plan for when I retired. I think I really wanted to take some time off and just reflect and figure out what I wanted to do, how I wanted to spend my time, make sure I had enough time to be around my young kids and be around my family, which a lot of the decisions I’ve made have been based around that. And doing Monday night [the Manningcast] from my house, it keeps me from traveling around on the weekends and missing out on their sports and their activities and their games, or just being around to hang out with them and be a part of their lives.
Doing some of the content in the shows wasn’t necessarily the game plan, but I’ve enjoyed doing it. I think I’ve been able to kind of just be myself, don’t have to worry about the commentary or what other people have to say now. I think I was always concerned about that and never wanted anyone to doubt my dedication or my commitment to football because I was silly or told a joke or did something. So it’s been a good transition into this new role.
Ed: Do your kids remember you as a football player or do they think of you as the goofy dad who’s on TV all the time?
[NOTE: Manning and his wife, Abby, are parents to four children — Ava, 12, Lucy, 10, Caroline, 7, and Charlie, 4]
Eli: I think probably my oldest two, my 12-year-old and 10-year-old remember going to games and just remember they’ve been to Giants games with me or my [jersey] retirement at Ole Miss. So they understand it. I think my little guy just doesn’t quite, he is 4 years old. He kind of talked about it or figuring out we root for the Giants and he knows the teams we root for and who we don’t, and starting to get in that world, but never remembered going to a game. I think they’re [the kids] still trying to figure out what exactly I do.”
Ed: What’s the most fun thing you’ve done since you retired?
Eli: That’s tough. I think I’ve enjoyed coaching some of my kids in their sports where I feel like for so long I didn’t, [I] was around them, but necessarily wasn’t around some of their friends and didn’t know how, you never get to go to school and see how they interact with other people. But to kind of be their coach, coach them in basketball, coach them in softball, and so just to be around them a little bit, get to work with them, have, have some fun. I’m not the super strict coach. It’s more about just getting them outside, getting them playing or playing sports, you know, learning some of the life lessons that you can in sports.
Ed: I talked to Darren Waller recently and asked him to name a Giants player who could have a TV career. Surprisingly, he said Daniel Jones. Could you see that?
Eli: Well, I think they [players] probably see Daniel in a different light. I think kind of how, maybe I was at times where amongst teammates, he feels relaxed. He knows he can trust them. You can trust the environment so he can be his true self. And as a quarterback, you’ve often gotta articulate the message and you’ve gotta go explain the plays or the concepts or the signals. And so you’re in a situation where you have to form a meeting and be able to get the word across clearly. So I think he’s got a lot of practice doing that. And I’ve been around Daniel in more relaxed atmospheres and he has a different side to him that I think he just kind of feels safe with where he is right now.”
Ed: The Giants are 1-2 and much of the fan base is in panic mode. What are your thoughts on the Giants right now?
I think they kind of caught Dallas when they were hot and coming off playing really good, and their defensive line got after ‘em. I think San Francisco kind of the same story, the defensive line just didn’t give ‘em a whole lot of time. Were close in that San Francisco game had a couple drives late where they just couldn’t quite make the plays they needed to to keep it tight. Then, obviously played great in the second half of the Arizona game. So you see the potential, you know that they have the potential to move the ball, to make big plays, to get everything, all elements, working with Daniel throwing it, them running the football. So obviously losing your left tackle, losing your starting running back, don’t help the situation. But, hopefully they can get back healthy and it’s a long season, it’s gonna be a tight race. So they just gotta kind of figure out their ways, get some guys back healthy and I think they’ll be fine.
Ed: Last thing — what else is going on in Eli Manning’s world these days?
Eli: It’s football season now. So just between the Monday nights, the Giants, just my kids. You’ve got a thousand sports going on between swimming and lacrosse. I got a girl playing ice hockey. I got my son playing flag football, coaching his flag football. So it’s just kind of coming up for air. So enjoying the hustle of doing all that. And then jus try to find time to get together as a family and and enjoy each other as well.
NOTE: Eli Manning has partnered with Kings Hawaiian to show everyone why Slider Sunday is the only way to Sunday, any time of the year. Slider Sunday is a weekly ritual that’s all about bringing families and friends together to share good times and irresistible King’s Hawaiian sliders, which are the perfect meal when getting together because they are delicious, fun to make and easily customizable, so everyone will be happy.
See more at SliderSunday.com.