FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots shakes hands with Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants after their game at Gillette Stadium on October 10, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The New England Patriots defeated the New York Giants with a score of 35 to 14.
(Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning provides his thoughts on Tom Brady’s decision in a recent interview.

Tom Brady‘s decision has been the biggest story of the NFL offseason thus far. After 20 seasons, the six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback left the New England Patriots for a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this month. It’s a scenario that shocked many, as fans felt the Brady-New England relationship would last until his retirement.

One of the individuals who certainly didn’t expect this is retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who defeated Brady twice in Super Bowls 42 and 46. In a recent interview with Steve Serby of the New York Post, the longtime Giant provided his thoughts on the ultimate end to the Brady-Bill Belichick era.

“I was surprised, how it all worked out,” he said. “I just did not imagine him leaving, them letting him go and him going somewhere else, just from my experience. But for him to have had all the success, do everything he’d done in New England and did it with one organization, I guess you just kind of wonder what was the reasoning? I don’t know if he felt unappreciated, or just wanted to try something different, but was surprised that this went down.”

Many believe there was a falling out between Brady and Belichick that lasted over the course of a few years. Reports suggested that Belichick wanted to move off Brady and continue the dynasty with Jimmy Garoppolo, who they traded to San Francisco in 2017.

But according to Eli, Brady’s exit won’t be the end of the success in Foxborough.

“No, I don’t necessarily think [this is the end of the Patriots’ dynasty],” he said. “I think they still have a very good team, a great defense, great coaches. Obviously Tom was a very important part on their success over the years, but I think they have kind of a way and they have a system that Belichick has implemented there that I think will continue to find ways to have success, but it will be different. If they go out and get a new quarterback, or stay with the guys they have, it might not be as it’s been in the past.”

Is Eli ultimately hinting that the reason for New England’s success was more Belichick than it was Brady? Sure seems that way. But regardless of what the main strength of the dynasty was, not much winning came to fruition on the biggest stage in both February 2008 and February 2012.

After 16 seasons in New York, Manning decided to call it quits in January. This past season, he only played in four games, as the organization began the process with rookie Daniel Jones. In those matchups, Eli combined for 1,042 yards, six touchdowns, and five picks on a 61.9% completion rate.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.