New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady paid New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning the ultimate compliment Friday ahead of Eli's retirement press conference.
Brady took to Twitter to congratulate Manning on a great career while also lamenting the fact that Manning and the Giants beat him twice in the Super Bowl:
Per Albert Breer of The MMQB, Manning responded by saying: "We joke about it a little bit, but it's not real funny to him."
New York's first win over New England came in Super Bowl XLII to conclude the 2007 campaign. The Patriots were looking to cap a perfect season, but Manning and the G-Men pulled off a massive upset thanks largely to Eli's miraculous pass to little-used wide receiver David Tyree, who completed the famous helmet catch.
Four years later, the Giants beat the Patriots again in the Super Bowl, which essentially cemented Manning's place in NFL history and likely ensured that he will one day be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Manning was named MVP in both of those Super Bowl wins, and he will go down as the one quarterback who truly had the number of Brady and the Patriots in big-game situations.
The 39-year-old retires with 57,023 passing yards and 366 passing touchdowns, both of which rank seventh on the NFL's all-time list.
While the losses were disappointing for Brady at the time, he turned out just fine with six Super Bowl rings.
A changing of the guard seems to be happening at the quarterback position in the NFL. Manning is retiring, while Brady, Philip Rivers and Drew Brees are all set to hit free agency, which means they could all conceivably be playing for different teams next season or perhaps follow Eli into retirement.
Manning earned a great deal of respect over the course of his career, and the fact that arguably the greatest quarterback of all time is showing his gratitude speaks to the mark that Eli left.