Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been out of the NFL for a year now, and he hasn't had much choice but to be away from the game because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But one thing the two-time Super Bowl winner did find was Twitter -- and a way to show a different side of his personality. As he starts to figure out the next steps of his post-playing life, Manning sat down for a few minutes as part of a media campaign for Stella Artois' "Stella Stadium Bites" from Blue Apron to chat food and football.
Let's ask this first, what's your favorite stadium bite?
I feel like Stella did a great job of the meal kits [for its new line of stadium bites] and I got to prepare some with [former Giants receiver] Victor [Cruz] the other day -- we did the flank steak lettuce cups. They are very easy to prepare -- Victor and I did it together -- and if we can figure it out, I promise you anybody can figure out [how] to prepare these meals.
Hey New Jersey! Now THIS is a Sloppy Joe! pic.twitter.com/7u75JXVLkN— Eli Manning (@EliManning) October 17, 2020
Thanks to the Millburn Deli for introducing me to the Jersey Sloppy Joe. Carb loading for the Giants Game today. pic.twitter.com/XWpSDsZIkz— Eli Manning (@EliManning) December 6, 2020
Since we're talking about food, what was going on with the sloppy Joes on Twitter?
You know, [laughs], that was not my intention to kind of bring it up. I was kind of new to Twitter and was looking for something to tweet about and I took one picture of what I thought of a sloppy Joe.
My mom -- a meal that she had given my wife, and we had one day. People around New Jersey were like, 'That is not a sloppy Joe. This is a sloppy Joe.' And I had heard about it around north New Jersey, this other thing called a sloppy Joe. I had never had one. So I was kind of getting beaten up on Twitter about not ever having one around my buddies in New Jersey.
So I said, 'All right, I'm on a mission now. I got to try these out, see what's going on here.' So just kind of had some fun with it and people were responding. I was getting a lot of texts about, just kind of laughing about the sloppy Joe stuff, so I ran with it. I'll have to get Stella to put the sloppy Joes on their stadium bites for next year.
Who is this Eli Manning we're seeing on Twitter? For so many years you were protective of your image. Where is this coming from in retirement?
I guess when I was playing [football], and I still have that side where it's not trying to let everybody know exactly what I'm doing and what's going on, and I still -- I don't tweet a whole lot about my everyday experiences. But to see a lighter side, to see just some of the goofy things that are going on and a few things about kids' sports and activities and sloppy Joes.
I try not to get too serious. I don't want to say anything negative about anything. Just kind of a neat way to have a little voice and see if you can get some people to smile a little bit.
What do you think will be your next move professionally?
You know, I'm still figuring that out. You're a little bit limited on what you could do and what some options were, obviously, with a pandemic going on, so I just took this time to just reflect and dabble in a few things. I am going to do some things with ESPN. I filmed a couple [episodes] of "Details" the other day on [quarterbacks] Mac Jones [Alabama] and Justin Fields [Ohio State].
I'm going to join Peyton [Manning] in some of his "Peyton's Places" and do the ... kind of college version of that, college football. So some of those things will be fun, keep me involved in the game of football.
Hopefully I'll be able to do some more things with the Giants next year as well. This year, it was new, didn't know how much I wanted to be around [the team]. I think we both needed a break from each other, but hopefully I can do some more things related to the Giants.
But also I like being home with my family. I want to be able to coach my kids in their sports and be able to kind of pick and choose when I want to do some of the work and do fun, interesting jobs that will keep me intrigued and keep me entertained -- things I want to work hard on, though.