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Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was drafted by the San Diego Chargers.
Manning famously forced the Chargers to trade him after the draft.
Manning said he might have just played for the Chargers if he'd known about the New York media.
Eli Manning was sacked 411 times during his 14-year career with the New York Giants, and didn't miss a single game to injury. But the hits that got to him may have actually been the hit pieces by New York City sports writers.
The two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback was originally set to play on the west coast, as the No. 1 overall pick by the San Diego Chargers in 2004. But Manning refused to play for San Diego, and forced the team to trade him to the Giants just hours after taking him with the first pick.
In hindsight, Manning admitted he may have just agreed to play for the Chargers if he knew what the New York media had in store for him over the next 14 years, during an interview with Trey Wingo of Fox Sports.
"I didn't realize that the New York media was what it was at the time, I might have thought a little bit differently," Manning said. "If I knew about the New York media and how brutal it can be, I might have just said 'you know what, San Diego is the right spot for me.'"
In 2006, before Manning established himself as a franchise icon, New York Times NFL blogger Toni Minkovic published a piece titled "The Eli Manning Mistake."
It dissected the trade the Giants made to acquire Manning, and why the organization would have been better off keeping Phillip Rivers, whom they selected with the fourth pick in 2004 and then traded to San Diego, along with three draft picks, for Manning.
Manning wasn't even safe from his own former teammates in the media. Former Giants running back Tiki Barber, who retired after the 2006 season to join NBC as an NFL analyst, criticized Manning's leadership skills and decision-making on his Sirius X.M. radio show "The Barber Shop" ahead of the 2007 season.
Manning answered his critics that year, leading the Giants to a historic Super Bowl XLII victory over the 18-0 New England Patriots, and repeated that run four years later in Super Bowl XLVI.
But winning championships and breaking franchise records for passing yards, touchdowns, and wins wasn't enough to stop the media's scathing treatments of Manning at his lower moments.
The New York Post printed a story criticizing Manning after a Week-1 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, featuring a back-page graphic of his helmet reformatted as a dunce cap, and a headline that refered to him as a "dope."
Ahead of Manning's final season in 2019, New York Daily News Giants beat writer Pat Leonard published a column advocating for the Giants to cut the veteran quarterback, who was 38 at the time and in the final year of his contract.
In contrast to the harshness of the constant New York sports media superstorm, San Diego would have given Manning a much more laid back atmosphere for his career. Still, he has no real regrets about his decision, citing concerns over the Chargers' organizational culture at the time.
"I just didn't know if there was a total commitment to football and I heard a lot of rumblings around the organization, so I just felt that in that position, if I had my choice, I'd rather not go there." Manning said. "I could have sat out a year and then went into the draft again the following year but that's not something I really wanted to pursue and wanted to go through, but that was my bluff I had to throw out there.
"I have been to San Diego since, it's a beautiful beautiful city."
Read the original article on Insider