With Giants head coach Ben McAdoo and Giants general manager Jerry Reese being fired this week, Eli Manning got his starting quarterback job back as a result of the changes. It was the benching of the popular Giants quarterback that got both men fired after public outcry by Giants fans, local media, Giants greats and peers around the league.
It was the right move to make. It was the ideal move for the Giants to do as they play three of their last four games at MetLife Stadium, giving the Giants fans a chance to give their two-time Super Bowl MVP winner a sendoff to remember.
Manning’s father did not raise Eli to be a fool. He knows the Giants will go to a new direction this offseason when they hire a general manager and a head coach, who are going to want a young quarterback to develop and win with. His father went through it as a Saints quarterback, and his brother Peyton went through it with the Colts. He knows the deal, so he will make the most of his last home games.
The Giants and Manning need to move on. The Giants need to build around a new quarterback, and Manning is better off playing for a team that he can win now such as the Jacksonville Jaguars. Once the Giants benched him last week, there is no reason to keep the charade going next season. Playing him this month is okay since he deserves that much after leading the Giants to two Super Bowl championships and conducting himself like a professional in his time with the Giants.
Manning will have fun. Sure he is going to be sentimental since he’s only human, but he also knows the game is not supposed to be a funeral. These next four games will be a celebration of his 13-year career with the Giants, which started on Nov. 28, 2004 in what was a forgettable debut in the Giants’ 27-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. In that game, he was 6-of-21 for 148 yards, and Eagles fans enjoyed heckling him.
Maybe by playing loose, he can perform well. Face it. These last two seasons have been substandard quarterback play for him. There was a reason why McAdoo grew disenchanted with him. He is not the player he was 10 years ago. Not many quarterbacks can be like Tom Brady and be effective in their late-thirties.
It does not mean Manning is washed up. He can perform efficiently. There is a reason teams like the Jaguars will take a chance on him next season to help them go over the top. With Manning playing behind a competent offensive line and a running back in Leonard Fournette, he can be put in a position to succeed.
If Manning had his way, he would play for the Giants next year and beyond. Life does not work that way for professional athletes. There’s never happy endings in pro sports. Not many people can go out on top with one team only like John Elway, Derek Jeter, David Robinson, Mariano Rivera and Peyton Manning. Most often, pro athletes leave on a bad note such as Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Tom Glavine, Phil Simms, Pedro Martinez and several others.
Don’t cry for the longtime Giants quarterback. He doesn’t want to hear it. He understands the NFL is a business, which shows right there he gets it. If anything, the Giants are doing him a favor giving him a new lease on life by going elsewhere rather than stay on and be part of this mess. Getting away from the petulant Odell Beckham Jr. can only be a good thing for him.
Giants fans will celebrate his career as a way of giving thanks for bringing two Super Bowl championships during his tenure, which included beating the New England Patriots twice in those two championships. He brought them stability, credibility and respect. Look for the Giants to honor him in what should be his last home game this season.
There will be more celebrations to come once he is retired. He is a lock to join the Giants Ring of Honor. He will likely be in the Hall of Fame, and the Giants will honor him for that if that materializes. There is always going to be Super Bowl championship reunions that he will be part of for the rest of his life.
First things first. Manning’s job is to win this Sunday against the hated Dallas Cowboys. He wants to end the Giants’ two-game losing streak. That’s the only thing that’s on his mind publicly. He is about team first instead of him. He will let the fans celebrate for the time being while he is accomplishing the task at hand.
If nothing else, Manning starting has made the Giants season a bit interesting. It gives Giants fans a reason to watch this trainwreck of a season. This also gives Giants fans a reflection on Manning, and Manning gets to reflect on his time with the Giants.
It’s why starting Manning was the only thing to do this month.