The New York Giants were a first-class organization. Until they weren’t.
Ben McAdoo electing to start Geno Smith over Eli Manning this weekend shows the absolute disregard to what has unfolded on the football field, not only this year, but over the last decade. You can’t sit here and tell me that a quarterback who has thrown twice as many touchdowns as interceptions in 2017 (14 to 7) is the glaring issue of a 2-9 football team that is in serious danger of posting its worst season since 1983.
For years, the Giants have built a legacy of success. Using long-term players like Y.A. Tittle, Phil Simms, and Lawrence Taylor, Big Blue used these centerpieces to create units built to win championships. And win they did.
Since the beginning of the new century, the cornerstone of the Giants franchise has undoubtedly been Eli Manning. And how could he not be? Since filling in for Kurt Warner on November 11, 2004, Manning has not missed a single start. In the 222 Giants games since then, he’s been under center for every single one of them. That’s insane. Only Brett Favre, who made 321 consecutive starts between 1992 and 2010, has managed to carry a longer streak.
It’s a run that speaks not only to the durability of Manning, but his talent as well. Manning has won two Super Bowls, both over the New England Patriots. Manning has built a career resume on clutch play. By coming through when it counts. When you combine the regular-season records of those two Super Bowl teams, the Giants check in at 19-13, a winning percentage of just .594. But it didn’t matter what occurred over the first 16. Manning found ways to win on the road (seven of his eight playoff wins came away from the Meadowlands) and more often than not, he formulated awe-inspiring drives with the clock ticking down. There’s more to Manning than what he’s done in the fourth quarter. He ranks in the top 10 all-time in pass completions, total passing yards, and passing touchdowns.
I don’t see Eli Manning as a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Honestly, without the Super Bowls and the Manning family name, he probably doesn’t get in at all. But I do see him as a later-ballot Canton arrivee who is more than deserving of the accolades he is due to receive. Apparently, those accolades do not include getting to finish what he started in New York.
Jerry Reese is in his eleventh season as Giants general manager. How does he not see right through McAdoo’s ridiculous ploy to “salvage” the season? Let me tell you, the Giants are not salvaging anything by putting in a quarterback who stunk it up with the Jets, the Giants’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants. Some will tell you that the Giants are simply racing to 2-14 to challenge the Browns for the top pick in a quarterback-heavy draft class in 2018, although if you ask me, the Giants are at least four years away from truly needing a new signal-caller.
But this comes down to more than just talent. This ultimately comes down to respect. Imagine if the Packers had benched Brett Favre in 2005 for rookie Aaron Rodgers. OK, bad example. Rodgers has become a first-ballot Hall of Famer. But the Packers were 4-12 that season, and could have easily pulled Favre to try something else. But the Packers are better than that. It’s too bad McAdoo, Reese and Co. had to stoop to their own sad level.
This wasn’t how this was supposed to end. Eli Manning has done too much for this team to be shown the door now. Hell, he should’ve had every right to decide, for himself, when he wanted to see that door.
A lot of my New York-area friends are quitting on the 2017 squad, and I can’t blame them. Who wants to root for a team that encourages something like this?