Savor Manning for final time, Giants fans

On Sunday, Eli Manning will likely play his final season opener as the Giants starting quarterback. This season most likely will be curtains. No matter how much he lasts this season, this season should be appreciating the moment Manning brought to the Giants now and in the past.

Giants starting quarterback Eli Manning enters his 16th season in the NFL, and this is going to be his 15th season opener as a starter on Sunday when the Giants play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.

Who knows if he reaches his 17th season and 16th season as a starter in the NFL? My money is on this being his last season as a member of the New York Football Giants unless he wins the Super Bowl.

Yes, we shouldn’t go on absolutes, but the Giants also did not draft Duke quarterback Daniel Jones as the team’s first round pick just to hold the clipboard forever. It’s only a matter of time before he starts, not if he ever will. 

It could be after October, November or December, but it’s coming. This isn’t Davis Webb we are talking in Jones. Manning knows the deal.

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The impatient, spoiled and unappreciative Giants fans want this to end as soon as possible. They are excited to see their new toy in Jones, even though these same people booed the pick few months ago.

No one knows what Jones can do unless he plays in a regular season game. Preseason games explain nothing about him. While Giants fans anoint him as the next Phil Simms already, he may end up as Dave Brown for all we know.

It would be the team’s best interest to let Jones learn by watching than doing for this season. It would not hurt the team if Manning finish his Giant career by leading them to the playoffs and winning a playoff game.

If the Giants make the playoffs this season, it’s going to be because Manning has one more good season in him. It’s not going to happen with Jones, so stop being delusional, Giants fans.

Count me in when it comes to rooting for Manning. He deserves a happy ending for what he has meant to this franchise. His critics are right to point out about his interceptions and the Giants missing the playoffs under him along with being awful in recent years, but remember something: He won two Super Bowls, and he was always durable and dependable. He always conducted himself well by being accountable to the media after losses. He never embarrassed the organization like Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey, Josh Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. did.

Hard to say if he is a Hall of Famer or not, but he is one of the best players to ever wear a Giants uniform. He took the Giants out of the abyss of mediocrity, and he made them a valuable franchise again. He made it cool to like the Giants again. Does anyone realize how hard it is to play in New York with so much pressure and expectations? Most can’t handle it, but Manning did, and that should count for something.

Sentimentality turns out to be a thing of the past in what-have-you-done-for-me-lately society with sports fans, but it doesn’t have to be and it shouldn’t be. Not with a player like Manning.

It would be cool to see Manning throw four touchdowns in a Giants victory at Jerry World. Monday’s tabloids would look so nice seeing him be victorious in the front page and back page. Listening to sports radio on Monday in a positive light would be good for the soul.

In a perfect world, it would happen this entire season. The Giants would love to see it mainly because they would prefer to see Jones not start this season and have Manning finished in a season that everyone can be proud of.

Who knows how this all ends up? That’s the beauty of this Giants season. For all the clamoring of Jones, Manning still becomes the central figure of this team in a sense that this is his last shot to show he still has it. He gets this chance because of what he has meant for this franchise, but he knows and he understands he is fortunate to keep his job and that it won’t last forever.

This season should be a season everyone enjoys Manning whether it’s good or bad. It should be about appreciating what he has meant to the Giants on and off the field.

There’s no question Manning will appreciate each and every snap under center as long as he can. 

Opening Day won’t just be another Opening Day for this unflappable quarterback. He does not even have to say it. Just notice how he has prepared and be ready to go since training camp to know what this Opening Day is going to mean to him. His actions speak more than his soundbites.

It’s a credit to him that he hasn’t talked about about what starting his likely last Giants season opener since he does not want to make this about him. It’s about team with him, and that has always been that way.

For Giants fans, this may not mean a lot since sports fans only care about  results.

This should mean something before Manning becomes history.

 

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2 Comments
  1. Chad Forbes says

    An appropriate summation of Eli’s career. Leslie nails this article. Look forward to his football analysis this fall.

    1. Leslie Monteiro says

      Thanks, Chad.

      Thanks for reading and responding.

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