Hard to believe the Giants would bench Eli Manning, but they actually did on Tuesday afternoon. Get this: They are actually going to bench him for a loser in Geno Smith. Apparently, Giants head coach Ben McAdoo has been dying to use anyone but Eli to run his whatever-it-is offense.
The overmatched Giants head coach should have heed to be careful what he wishes for, he might just get it. There’s no doubt his Giants coaching legacy will be remembered for coaching ineptness, alienating players and benching Manning.
Blaming McAdoo for orchestrating this decision is shortsighted. There’s more to this decision when it comes to benching Manning. This would require ownership’s approval. This isn’t just a player the Giants are benching. This is about benching a two-time Super Bowl MVP winner who has meant so much to this Giants franchise, so it’s a safe bet Giants owner John Mara was kept abreast of the situation. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
This is on Mara. He is the one that okayed this, so the blame game starts and ends with him. He could have told McAdoo no, but he didn’t. He deserves 20 times more criticism than the Giants head coach. At some point, he has to be held accountable, right?
Everyone had an opinion on Manning being benched from the moment the news was announced — you, me, Giants greats, Eli Manning’s peers, sportswriters, Mike Francesa, your local bartender, your neighborhood barber and your plumber. People have been tweeting about this decision in the wee hours of the morning. This is the respect he has earned for his service for the Giants. He has represented the organization with dignity by winning games, playing 210 straight regular-season games and conducting himself as a professional.
Apparently, that meant nothing to Mara and McAdoo. For the second-year Giants head coach, it was about winning games. No one knew what Mara had to say since he did not have the courage to be with his head coach when the decision was announced as he was in hiding being the coward he was. We won’t mention Giants general manager Jerry Reese since he obviously had no say about this one.
Shame on Mara for not being there when this was announced on Tuesday. He is the one that should have given the answers that Giants fans need since the buck stops with him with everything going through him. For him to not be there, he is not holding himself accountable. Manning at least talked to the media, and understandably, he was in tears about this decision. If he had his way, he would be playing.
Manning is something Mara is not. A winner, a guy that is accountable and a Giant who does not hide when the going gets tough. This is why he has more credibility than the Giants owner.
The bottom line is the son of the late Wellington Mara is no better than Jeff Wilpon, James Dolan and Woody Johnson. They are trust-fund babies that have rode on their dad’s coattails rather than knowing how to run a business of their own.
It’s past time Mara received criticism the way Dolan, Wilpon and Johnson generally receive in town. The Giants have not won a playoff game since they last won the Super Bowl in the 2011-2012 season, and there is dysfunction in the organization. This is on him, and no one else. He has let this fester by keeping Reese past his expiration date as Giants general manager, and for some reason, he hired McAdoo as coach when he was not qualified to be a head coach in the nation’s biggest media market.
He now bungled what could have been a seamless transition from Manning to Davis Webb. This should have happened in a meeting with him, McAdoo, Reese and Manning. For all we know, the Giants owner was clearly blindsided that McAdoo would make a decision. Why else would he approve this? Even then, he should have said no. Not when what Manning has meant to the Giants franchise.
Look, it’s not a crime for the Giants to move on from Manning. It has to happen after this season when they have to draft a quarterback such as Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen. To bench him now does not make sense since Smith is not the panacea to the Giants’ woes, and Webb is not ready to handle a snap in the NFL just yet. It’s counterproductive for everyone involved since Webb and Smith are not worthy to play while Manning is.
The least Manning should have gotten is play his final home game as a Giant this year. This would give a chance for Giants fans to give him a happy send-off for him to enjoy. He deserved that much. That should have been on Mara’s mind first and foremost.
For Mara to botch this up, that’s a bad job out of him. For him not to be present for the press conference is even worse. It’s easy to wonder if he really knows what he is doing as a Giants owner.
Firing Reese and McAdoo will be easy, but does anyone trust Mara to get it right with the next general manager and the next head coach? He already got it wrong in replacing Tom Coughlin. He has enabled Odell Beckham Jr.’s stupidity rather than holding him accountable. For whatever reason, he decided to have the Giants sign Josh Brown to a contract despite being involved in a domestic violence dispute with his ex-wife. He has now handled the transition of a new quarterback badly.
At one time, the Giants were known to do everything the right way. Now, it seems everything they do is wrong. It’s easy to blame McAdoo and Reese, but at the end, Mara is the problem.
Wellington Mara has to be ashamed of his son if he is looking at a distance from his grave.
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