Yahoo – 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…
“[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.”
As Smith explains, the deal netted the Chargers with enough draft picks to select Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding. Both guys played big roles in the team’s success from 2004 to 2009. More importantly, though, 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.”
I hated the Chargers growing up. Hated them. Shawne Merriman was an arrogant dickhead who could dish it but couldn’t take it when the Pats did his Lights Out dance in San Diego after an upset. LaDanian Tomlinson was the greatest runningback I’ve ever seen, but all he did was complain about how “classy” the Patriots were. All while sitting on the sidelines in his Darth Vader outfit while Philip Rivers played on a torn ACL. So aside from the Peyton Manning Colts and the Rex Ryan Jets the mid 2000s Chargers were my most hated football team.
BUT, I now LOVE AJ Smith. The architect of one of the most hated teams of my youth is an A+ grudge holder and I have to respect the spite. Oh whats that Eli, you don’t want me to draft you No. 1 overall in the NFL? In fact you won’t even play for my team if I do draft you? Well fuck you because now I’m doing it.
AJ Smith wasn’t going to let some rich kid and the Manning Mafia tell him how to do his job. I bet he would have ate the draft pick and let Manning sit the year out if he didn’t get the trade offer he wanted. Just spite that whole family because you ain’t John Elway, kid.
Now obviously this trade was the rare trade that worked out swimmingly for both sides. The Chargers got Philip Rivers and a boatload of picks that turned into franchise cornerstones and the Giants got Eli and 2 Super Bowls (kill me) out of it. Big Z made the point that the Giants might actually have won more Super Bowls with Rivers under center because aside from two month long hot streaks by Eli Manning, Rivers is clearly the better player. Rivers has a better career Completion %, more TDs, 60+ less INTs, and a better QB Rating.
I’d still rather have two SB rings, but I respect the shit out of AJ Smith for deriving so much pleasure out of something so small. An early candidate for The 300s 2019 Hater of the Year.