Eli Manning threw his last NFL pass nearly three years ago. But the two-time Super Bowl MVP is keeping quite busy in retirement. Not long after leaving the field, he joined the front office of his former team, the New York Giants, assuming a role in business organization and fan engagement. Throughout the football season he hosts his own weekly show on the Giants YouTube channel, as well as Manningcast—an alternative Monday Night Football telecast with brother, Peyton.
He’s also been traveling a bit (he just returned home from London, where he watched his Giants beat the Green Bay Packers). While on the road he’s doing his best to learn about the local food and beverage—which most recently entailed bangers, mash and cask ale.
This week he’s teamed up with Quaker and Feeding America in an effort to help tackle food insecurity. On Friday they’ll launch the Quaker Hunger Clock, which prompts fans to donate to the charitable organization as the site counts down to the kickoff of Super Bowl LVII. Manning is hoping to reach a goal of $500,000 by then, as Quaker has pledged to match what is raised, up to $250,000.
In a Zoom interview with Forbes, the future Hall of Fame quarterback tells us more about the partnership. He also shares some thoughts on the celebrity booze trend and provides exclusive intel on whether or not he’ll be following his brother into the space.
Read on below…
You just got back from London. Did you get into the vibrant pub scene that characterizes the city…And maybe have some of those warm, flat cask ales that they enjoy there?
Eli Manning: Definitely yes. Had a few beers at the pub. I felt like, hey, I’m in London…So I got into it with a little pilsener. [We were drinking] at a bar called the Horse and Guardsman. [My former teammate] Shaun O’Hara kept calling it the Guard and Horseman, probably because he was an offensive lineman. But it all worked out.
Is there any inclination to open up a bar like that back in your adoptive home of Hoboken, New Jersey?
EM: I think Hoboken has enough bars right now. I don’t think they need a new one.
There are so many celebrities in the beer, wine and spirits space these days. I feel like every guest on your show is promoting one. So if Eli Manning is starting his own adult beverage brand, what’s it going to be?
EM: That’s a tough one. I think there’s too many out there and I like to try them all. So I’m still in my quest to find the perfect beer, liquor or wine that’s going to suit me.
Well you’re originally from New Orleans and there’s an incredible drinking culture there. So hopefully you’ve had some time to reflect on this.
EM: Yes, but I still need more practice.
Tell us about how the Quaker Countdown Clock works.
EM: I’m excited to partner with Quaker and what they’re doing. We both believe that the circumstances of life should never be a barrier to good nutrition. With Feeding America we’re hoping to raise $500,000 which is equivalent to funding 5 million meals—and that’s by Super Bowl LVII. And so there’ll be a clock that’s counting down to the game and counting up the number of meals from donations to keep track of how this is going. It starts this weekend.
And what will you be doing to help get that number as high as you can?
EM: Raising awareness; talking about this, going on different shows and getting the word out that there’s this fundraiser happening. We want people that are going through a tough time, to make sure that they’re getting food, but also healthy, nutritious food. So I’m happy to be a part of this initiative.
Well now you’re on the clock, so that’s some added pressure. But you seemed to handle it pretty well while on the field. What’s your advice to everyday folks in terms of how to tune out all those distractions and get the job done?
EM: It comes down to your preparation and your training. For me, I felt pressure when I was unprepared for something and didn’t know what might be happening. But very rarely—never got that in a game because I always felt that I had studied; I had prepared. I knew what I thought we would see and then you react to what’s going on. Knowing our plays and our system and our players and whatever they did we would have an answer for. So I think it’s just trusting your training and doing what you’ve practiced and prepared for and the best will come out.
Most football fans remember your famous Super Bowl XLII throw—that was caught against David Tyree’s helmet—as your greatest single play. But your throw to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI was even better, was it not?
EM: Hmm…[pauses]. I agree that that was a better throw than the throw to Tyree’s helmet, yes.
Miles Teller did a pretty fantastic impersonation of your brother on the season premiere of SNL. Did you watch that?
EM: Yes, I thought Miles did an incredible job. He hit Peyton dead-on. We might have to get him on [Manningcast]. Maybe he’ll replace Peyton for a quarter and we’ll see if anybody would even notice.
Who has been the most challenging guest to interview?
EM: I don’t think we’ve had a challenging interview. I just worry about the person that tells the really long story. And there’s been like three good plays and we started this question and the team was on their own 30. Now they’re on the 10 year line, about to score and you’re still answering the same question—I want to get this back on football! How do I cut you off and get this story to end? So, we gotta do a better job of not asking questions that lead to a super long story. Let’s keep with some quick-hitting questions and answers here.
Of course. It’s all about that clock management.
EM: Yes. And we’re on the clock as of this weekend. So many people want to help others in need and obviously hunger is a huge issue. Quaker is doing a great job—Feeding America is a great organization. I know we’ll hit our goal.
There’s this adage that if you win a championship—or two—in New York that you’ll never have to buy yourself another drink in town, ever again. Has that been your experience?
EM: Every once in a while someone will buy a round—at least the first round. So it’s working out okay for me.
Ending off with a thought about your hometown of New Orleans…What is the quintessential food or drink that defines the city?
EM: Oh, man. It’s so tough. For the drink I think it’s the Hurricane, right? It’s okay to have one. You have two, be careful. You have three…Goodnight. You’re going to make a bad decision immediately after that one. For the food, I love the oysters and the étouffée and jambalaya [pronounced: jam-bull-lye-ya] and the gumbo; turtle soup. A shrimp po-boy dressed from Domilise’s…Give it to me everyday.