In 2004, the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Chargers made a trade that would forever change the course of both franchises. Moments after the Chargers selected Eli Manning with the first pick in the NFL draft, the team traded him to the Giants for Philip Rivers.
While both teams benefited greatly, the Chargers never won the Super Bowl under general manager A.J. Smith. Despite that, Smith says trading away Manning was “the most satisfying moment for me in my career,”
Via SB Nation:
“[The trade] was the most satisfying moment for me in my career and I really mean that. I would say that if I was ever fortunate to win a Super Bowl, I’m sure it would’ve trumped that, but I don’t know that. I gotta tell you there was a lot of highs and lows in the business, but that moment was the greatest high for me as an executive for an organization.”
Smith was happy he took some of the power away from Manning and his agent, Tom Condon.
“When I heard emphatically from Tom Condon and Archie Manning ‘don’t take us,’ that hit me — call me a traditionalist — it hit me the wrong way,” Smith said. “I decided I was not going to play this game with them and I flipped it, in my view, to an unknown where they didn’t know what I’m going to do or how this is going to unfold — they really didn’t.”
Prior to that draft, Manning told the Chargers he would not play for the team if they selected him. The Chargers still took Manning, but managed to trade him almost immediately.
Not sure why he’s so thrilled about that moment.
The Chargers are still struggling to win playoff games.
Meanwhile, Eli has two very satisfying rings.
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