Eli Manning Says Watching His Daughter Cheerlead at Middle-School Football Games Is a 'Win-Win'

The former New York Giants quarterback has returned to the game of football, but this time as a father in the stands

Former Ole' Miss and New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, poses with family members before the college football game between the LSU Tigers and the Ole Miss Rebels on October 23, 2021, at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, MS.
Photo: Kevin Langley/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Eli Manning is still getting his football fix.

It's no surprise that athleticism runs in the two-time Super Bowl champ's family, which is why the dad of four was proud to share with PEOPLE all about the sports his kids are getting into these days.

"I do have one that is cheerleading," Manning tells PEOPLE exclusively of one of his daughters. The athlete is dad to daughters Ava, 11, Lucy, 9, Caroline, 7, and son Charlie, 3, who he shares with his wife, Abbey McGrew.

As a father of three girls, the retired New York Giant quarterback has still found his way back to the gridiron. "I've actually gotten to go watch a couple sixth grade, seventh grade football games this year because she's cheering at them," he happily shares.

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Eli Manning of the New York Giants with his family and the two Super Bowl trophies after his ring of honor induction ceremony during halftime of the game between the New York Giants and the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium on September 26, 2021 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Eli Manning with his family. Photo by Al Bello/Getty

Despite the absence of pads, plays and pigskins for his daughter specifically, Manning, 41, describes his dad duty as a "win-win" because he gets the best of both worlds when watching.

However, cheerleading isn't the only sport his daughters are involved in. "My girls are playing a couple of them," reveals the former QB. "They're into swimming and lacrosse is big. I got one playing hockey."

Brought up in family of professional football players, Manning is a big promoter of athletics and sees its value beyond the notion of simply winning or losing a game. "I encourage sports," says the NFL star, who spoke to PEOPLE as part of his partnership with Quaker to help fight hunger.

Eli Manning's daughter hockey
Marcus Ingram/Getty; Eli Manning/Twitter

"I think athletics are great tools for learning life lessons and hard work and dedication... dealing with the ups and downs that happen throughout life," Manning adds.

As for Manning's son Charlie, the former athlete shared that the little one is involved in a few sports himself, like basketball and, to no surprise, football.

"We're doing a little knee football, or I'm on my knees and he's, you know, running," the proud dad says with a smile. "Trying to teach him ball security, those important things," he jokes.

While naturally the 16-year NFL veteran would "love him to play" the sport he knows best, Manning made sure to note he would "never force it upon him.

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