Eli Manning made his 233rd start as the Giants quarterback on Monday night.
He passed for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the Giants’ 23-17 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Most of it came in the first half since he threw for just 24 yards in the second half while the Giants blew a 14-point lead in that half.
At least in the first half, he made Giants fans forget the misery of this season by putting a vintage performance. But bad is bad. Manning is not the player he used to be anymore for him to sustain it, and the Giants defense could not stop a nosebleed. They got exposed in the second half, and that explains why the Giants are 2-11, and why they will miss the playoffs for the third straight year and seventh time in eight seasons.
Despite all that, the longtime Giants quarterback earned the right to start in the final three games of the season for what he has done for the franchise. Winning two Super Bowls and starting 210 consecutive games give him that privilege. He conducted himself like a professional in his time with the Giants starting from his first rookie camp. Rather than feeling sorry for himself and blaming anyone for his shortcomings in recent years, he took the brunt of the blame like an adult and a quarterback.
On Sunday when the Giants play the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium, he should be starting based on fans appreciating him for what he has meant to that franchise. He also should start the final game of the season against the Eagles at home just for fans and him to say good-bye to each other once in for all.
These three games present a chance for him to leave as a winner and have the Giants finish off on a winning note.
Besides who exactly wants to see Daniel Jones play this season? He has been underwhelming as a quarterback, and he only won two games and got worse after two starts. He fumbled the ball 12 times, and he threw 11 interceptions. He has a passer rating of 84.0.
The bottom line is Jones hasn’t earned the right to start any more games this season. Quite frankly, the Giants should sign a veteran NFL quarterback this offseason to push him to win the starting job next season rather than hand the job to him.
Jones failed to earn the benefit of the doubt with his play. Questions should persist whether he is smart enough to even be an NFL quarterback.
Give me Manning over Jones for the final three games of the season. At least, the quarterback of the past offers the Giants a better chance to win than the quarterback of the future. Plus, he would give a reason to watch the Giants.
The longtime Giant gave the Giants a chance to beat the Eagles. He played better than anyone thought he would be. He showed smarts and savvy in playing the position. He outplayed Carson Wentz in this game.
He offered appreciation of what it used to be with the Giants. He brought winning to the team. He gave the Giants competent performance often until he became washed up. He emanated integrity and class that lacks from the entire Giants roster. A throwback like performance on Monday night suited everything for a troubled Giants fan’s soul.
Once he is gone, the Giants will be even worse. This is a franchise that is troubled in so many ways. Their general manager can’t find talent. Their ownership is incompetent. Their head coach will be fired, and who knows if the next coach is any better?
Manning masked the franchise’s incompetence for a long time, but he can only be a miracle worker for so long.
Manning’s final three games should get emotions out of us ranging from melancholy to sentimental to happiness. It’s why he should start. It’s a chance for Giants fans to say good-bye as much as him saying good-bye to Giants fans. It’s an opportunity for opponents to pay respect to him once the game is over.
It appears he will be starting against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Jones’ ankle has not been healed yet for him to play. He is useless if he can’t run, which seems to be only his strength.
It makes sense for the Giants to start Manning for football reasons and public relations.
It’s the only thing to do.