And on Thursday, when discussing new acquisition Brandon Marshall, he made sure to reminisce about the days of Plaxico Burress.
"I think Plaxico was kind of the last one similar to that size," Manning told The New York Post. "They can be open when they're not really open. You don't want to get into a habit, it's not a jump-ball but you can throw him open. He's been in lots of offenses and he gets open a lot of different ways, very disciplined in his route-running and understanding concepts. I think he'll be good for that receiver room and in our locker room, having that veteran presence."
Manning and Burress were one of the NFL's great quarterback-receiver odd couples before Burress' career and life changed in 2008. Their relationship, seen most poetically through the back-shoulder fade, changed the Giants' offense and brought them a Super Bowl win in 2007. The Giants filtered through a few replacement options in the years to come but Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Odell Beckham were the only ones who seemed to stick.
Marshall represents the Giants' most aggressive dive into the free agency/trade market since signing Burress in 2005.
"I was excited when we made that acquisition," Manning said. "He's obviously a big target and smart, asks a lot of questions, he's going to pick up the offense quickly. And he's excited. He's excited about coming to this offense and staying in New York and having a No. 1 receiver on the opposite side of him."
This is the kind of move that seems perfect in theory until it isn't. Should the Giants re-sign Johnathan Hankins at some point this offseason, they could make the case for one of the best free agency periods in football given the below-market deal Marshall agreed to with Big Blue. They will return a team in full that beat the Dallas Cowboys twice and made the playoffs. Can Marshall be the one piece to get them over the edge?