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An Open Letter to Our Beautiful Boy, Eli Manning

Dan Fogelman, the creator of ‘This Is Us’ and a lifelong New York Giants fan, pens a message to his favorite, unceremoniously benched quarterback

A photo collage of Eli Manning images in the shape of a heart Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Dear Eli,

It is 11 p.m. on Tuesday night and I’m supposed to go to sleep now, but I can’t. I can’t because I’ve had two vodkas and just announced to my wife that “I’m going to write something to Eli Manning.”

She begged me not to. She’s not exactly sure who you are. Also our dogs had to poop and she wasn’t really listening to me. But I’m writing you anyway.

So with that context out of the way, let me start again …

Dear Eli,

First of all, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry you’ve been completely and shamefully shafted by my favorite team. It’s unforgivable, and if New York Giants fans don’t rise en masse and chant your name throughout the ENTIRE next home game, I’ll be stunned and disappointed.

But more importantly, I want to say thank you.

Eli Manning: you adorable, frustrating, talented, badass manboy—you have provided for myself, and for my friends, some of the BEST moments of our entire lives. Now, in truth, our lives haven’t been all that exciting. But still.

It’s not just the Tyree catch.

It’s not just the Manningham catch.

It’s not just the Super Bowl wins.

It’s not just the fact that you brought down the Death Star New England Patriots, not once, but twice.

OK, realistically it is that (and God how we love how that infuriates them). But still, Eli: You are, and forever will be, OUR quarterback. Sure, people love your brother. And we get it. He was good. He was funny on SNL. He got that giant red mark across his forehead whenever he took off his helmet. But you, Eli: You have been the New York Giants for the past decade. And this terrible ending won’t take the memories away …

2008. I’m at my best friend’s house. We’ve been best friends since childhood. Since Simms. Since LT. You complete the pass to Tyree. Then to Plaxico. Somewhere in Van Nuys, California, a bunch of fat 35-year-olds literally fall on top of one another in a pile in front of horrified small children.

2012. For luck, we return to the same house. The children are older. The adults are fatter. We pile on one another. Again.

Some years we make the playoffs. Some years we don't. And through it all there is one constant: Eli. Sometimes the haircut is bad. Sometimes it’s surprisingly cool. You look best with a certain amount of stubble. When we talk about it, we feel weird. We just love you however we get you. We love when you close your eyes, and twist backward, and throw blind passes that someone, somewhere, may or may not catch. We wouldn’t trade you for anyone. Not even Brady. Whom you beat twice (and God how we love how that infuriates them).

You should have been allowed to finish on your own terms. You are all of us right now—slighted by a boss, by a corporation. Wronged by someone in charge. But that makes sense in a way, because you were OUR quarterback.

So to the New York Giants organization, we write you on behalf of ALL (literally ALL) Giants fans who have bought your tickets, your merchandise, your TV packages: Make this right. Eli starts Sunday. Apologize for a bad decision, and for not reading the room (and the city) correctly. And once they do that? Eli, we promise we won’t be offended: Tell them to blow it out their ass and go win a Super Bowl for the Jacksonville Jaguars. As long as you beat Tom Brady again, we’ll be happy.

With love and gratitude, always,

The New York Giants Fans

Dan Fogelman is a writer, director, and showrunner living in Los Angeles. He created the NBC drama This Is Us.