With all their success as a family, the Mannings have dealt with disappointment as well: Peyton Manning being released by the Colts in 2012; Cooper learning spinal stenosis meant he couldn't play football. And this week, Eli being pulled as the Giants' starting quarterback.

The patriarch of football's first family gauged the emotions of his youngest son, who gave way to Geno Smith at the request of the team brass.

"It just flat broke his heart," Archie Manning told NFL.com on Thursday. Today, with Eli Manning not starting for the first time in 210 games, the focus isn't just on the field. Perhaps the biggest question is what happens to Manning after 2017? According to Archie Manning, one possibility is Eli hanging up his cleats rather than play in 2018 at 37 years old.

"There's no sense speculating," Archie said. "If he's still there, we don't know what their future plans are, if other people are there. And you have no idea what other teams will think of a 37-year-old quarterback. You don't have any idea.

"Eli might say, 'I've had enough. I'm feeling good, I've got a beautiful wife, three little girls, I'm healthy. And that's it.' So there's no sense speculating."

Yes, retirement is one option. So is playing for another team, Peyton-style, with hopes of a title run -- Tom Coughlin's Jaguars will be a source of speculation. And so is returning to the Giants, even if they draft a quarterback early.