Tuesday signaled the official end of an era. Legendary New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was benched in favor of rookie Daniel Jones, all but ending Manning’s career with the Giants, and possibly his NFL career in general.

Whether or not Manning will continue playing beyond 2019 is anyone’s guess, but if he does, it almost certainly won’t be with the only NFL franchise he has ever known, as his contract is up this offseason, and New York is committed to Jones moving forward.

One can’t help but think back to 15 years ago, when a young, bright-eyed Manning was the Daniel Jones to Kurt Warner’s Eli, when he replaced Warner as the Giants’ starting quarterback midway through the 2004 campaign.

But Big Blue can only hope that this move brings the same type of success.

Daniel Jones, Giants

You can say whatever you want about Manning. Criticize his play over the last couple of years. Question his efficiency throughout his entire NFL tenure. But this man was big time.

Two Super Bowl appearances. Two Super Bowl wins. Two Super Bowl MVPs. Two Super Bowl wins over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Two game-winning Super Bowl drives.

Only four quarterbacks in NFL history own two Super Bowl MVPs: Brady, Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw and Manning. That’s it. The former three are all in the Hall of Fame, and one day, Eli will join them.

Try and find a player who elevated his game in the playoffs more than Manning. You won’t.

A good quarterback during the regular season, Manning was simply great in the playoffs.

During the Giants’ first Super Bowl run in 2007-08, Manning threw for 854 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception while completing 60.5 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of 95.7.

He then ended the Patriots’ bid for a 19-0 season, putting together arguably the most memorable game-winning drive in NFL history with numerous clutch throws and an impregnable will to survive.

Then, in New York’s second championship quest in 2011-12, Manning was even better, racking up 1,219 yards, nine touchdowns and only one pick, registering a completion percentage of 65 percent and a passer rating of 103.3.

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The whole “the Giants won with defense” argument is complete nonsense when you take into account that New York ranked 27th (yes, 27th) in the NFL in total defense in 2011-12, and while Big Blue did, indeed, have a top-10 defense in 2007-08, to ignore Manning’s greatness during that run is nothing short of silly.

And it’s not just the two Super Bowls.

It’s the fact that Manning has been everything you could ask from a franchise quarterback. He never missed a game outside of the one day Ben McAdoo benched him in favor of Geno Smith in 2017. He was a class act, through and through. He handled the media with grace. Criticism rolled right off his back. Eli loved New York, and New York will forever love him.

Eli Manning

If you aren’t a Giants fan, you will never be able to understand what Manning did for New York football nor the impact that he had on the tri-state area. He elevated a franchise that was already historic. He stamped his name as the best quarterback in the history of the Giants organization (sorry, Phil Simms). He won over a city that has the largest media market in the world. Manning was essentially the New York football version of Derek Jeter.

And that’s the thing that some people don’t seem to comprehend. They’ll spout off negligible advanced statistics and all of that stuff that no one playing quarterback even cares about and ignore what truly makes a franchise quarterback a franchise quarterback.

They’ll ignore the clutch moments. They’ll ignore the classy persona. They’ll ignore the fact that he always took responsibility for his team’s shortcomings and never passed the buck on to anyone else (you listening, brother Peyton?).

Manning was certainly not a perfect quarterback, but there is no such thing. He was, however, a terrific fit for the Giants and led New York to the promised land twice. What more can you ask for?

Say all you want about Philip Rivers being the better passer, but how many Super Bowls has Rivers been to? And please don’t bring up the “it’s a team game” argument, because Rivers played on some absolutely loaded Chargers teams, teams that certainly had more talent than the Giants.

So, yes; New York made the right decision on that historic draft-day trade in 2004, sending Rivers to the Bolts in exchange for Manning.

Manning’s legacy is forever set in stone. He will be a legend in New York until the end of time, and he will never be forgotten.

Here’s to you, Eli, for an incredible—and underappreciated—NFL career.