Eli Manning hung up his pads nearly two years ago, and at the time, it looked like he was getting a break—retiring from the NFL and its hectic schedule. Then the pandemic hit, and whatever plans he had for his post-NFL life mostly went out the window.
“I basically became a substitute teacher,” he tells Men’s Journal.
Like many parents across the country, Manning had to step in to help his kids with remote learning, and that meant brushing up on his math skills: “Teaching about rhombuses and trapezoids and quadrilaterals,” he says.
Although moving from NFL star to grade school math teacher was a big adjustment, Manning has been enjoying spending more time with his family. Last year he was able to coach all three of his girls’ basketball teams, and he’s been using retirement as an opportunity to do new things with his kids, from fishing to skiing and beyond.
“We had some great moments,” he says, looking back on his first two years post-NFL.
More family time is a welcome change from his football days, when the rigors of an NFL schedule kept him away from home and focused on his duties as a quarterback. Tom Brady recently opened up about how hard it is to play pro football and also be an active father and husband, a sentiment that Manning shares. Now that he’s spending more time at home, it’s become very clear just how much he missed before.
“I knew I missed a lot playing, but you kinda realize now how you miss, how much went into those weekends,” Manning says.
Of course, Manning hasn’t totally left football behind. He’s still an NFL fan, and with the Super Bowl coming up, we had to get his take on what teams have the best shot at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy this year. Manning has his eye on two teams: The Green Bay Packers and the Tennessee Titans.
“I think Green Bay’s going to be tough to beat,” he says, noting that their opponent will have to play them in a chilly Lambeau Field filled with raucous fans. “Someone’s gonna have to go there and win in the cold.”
As for the Titans, he loves their underdog spirit.
“They’re kind of the underdog, even though they’re the top seed,” he says. “No one’s really giving them a chance, and I think that’s the way they like it. They just surprise you and beat you.”
Check out our full conversation with Eli Manning above.
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