So, a league-leading 210 consecutive starts, 2 Super Bowls, 334 TDs-222 INTs. Those are the basic stats that sum up Elisha Nelson Manning. Here are a few more, Eli is the only QB in history with multiple conference championship starts to throw no INTs in those games, Eli has the most road-wins in a single regular and post season with 10 (2011) and Eli has the Giants record for most completions in a season with 387 (2015). In short, Eli has been God to the Giants fan base for over a decade. Yes, he can infuriate at times with ill-judged interceptions, but he also has the most 4th quarter come-back wins in Giants history. For every negative there is a positive, most teams in the NFL would kill to be able to maintain one legitimate starter at QB for 13 years. In Elis tenure with the G-men the Jets have started 13 different QBs, for a total of 98 wins, the Jags have started 10 for 89 the Browns have had 24 for the measly sum of 61 wins. Eli and the Giants have won 115 regular season games plus those two Super Bowls. Eli’s Giants have 6 playoff appearances, in that time the Jags have 2, the Jets have 4 and the Browns…well, they’re the Browns.
The QBs to win Super Bowls during Eli’s reign reads like this…
That’s some great company old Eli is keeping there wouldn’t you say?
When the news came through that Eli was being benched in favour of Geno Smith (yes, Geno “useless Jets reject” Smith) I was quarter of an hour into recording the latest Bill Belichicks world podcast (if you’re not listening-you’re missing out). I know this because people have told me “great reaction at the fifteen-minute mark” and “fifteen minutes in and the Eli reaction is priceless”. Its fair to say I didn’t handle the news with much grace or tact. I F-Bombed my way through the next 5 minutes of the show in utter amazement at what I was hearing. As a Patriots fan I harbour no love for Manning, but as an enthusiast of all things NFL I couldn’t believe a legend could be treated so badly. Its not the decision to bench Eli that wrangles me, more the decision to bench him for Geno Smith (Yes, Geno “punched in the mouth by my own team-mate” Smith). That is unthinkable and unforgivable. I’ve challenged Ben McAdoos coaching all year long, now I question his mental state. Tell me, how exactly does this help the awful Giants to improve? Smells to me like a guy attempting to justify a terrible season of coaching (and some bad luck) by pinning the blame all on Eli. Shame on you McAdoo.
Ah! I thought to myself, maybe this is the Giants way of ensuring they tank (been a lot of that going on in New York recently) and secure a top 3 position in the draft for 2018 with the possibility of Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield or whichever other talented youngster they may covert being available. Well, that sort of makes sense, but doesn’t Eli deserve to choose how he goes out? He has led a team decimated by injuries and beset with rumblings of team discontent with a true air of class, he’s stood there and taken a pummelling behind a poorly-constructed O-line without flinching, he’s worked really well with rookie T.E Evan Engram, operated without a hint of a run-game and on top of that he’s dealt impeccably with the New York press during these trying times. Truly he could do no more. Then bright spark Ben decides…”im done with the one decent thing we have going for us right now, give me Geno”. That’s Geno “28 TDs to 36 picks” Smith in case you hadn’t noticed. I’d have been more accepting of Davis Webb getting a shot if the Giants thought he had the chance of being the new Eli, but not Smith. That’s a-kin to replacing a coaching legend (Coughlin) with a coaching wannabe (McAdoo), and look how that’s turned out.
Earlier this year we at BBW mentioned potential landing spots for Eli should the possibility of a trade occur, and the most logical place at the time was the Jags who have Coughlin as Exec V.P of Football operations. Well, that landing spot still makes sense to me and if the Giants are so determined and happy to move on sans Eli then maybe the decent thing to do is release him, so he can be picked up by the Jags in time for a playoff run. Yes, he turns the ball over almost as much as Bortles but he’s also proven his crunch-time ability over and over which is more than can be said for BB. Its possible of course that this is the last we’ll see of Eli in the league, he can walk away a proud man who’s achieved all there is in his field, but I remember the last Manning who was dumped by his team, facing adversity and fuelled by the need to prove his doubters wrong, he did some OK things in his second coming…
So, what of the immediate future for the Giants? Well, have I mentioned Geno? That’s right Geno “not as good as Ryan Fitzpatrick” Smith. Geno has a .400 record for winning games, a worse completion percentage than Eli (57-59.8), zero post-season experience and zero leadership credentials. The futures bright, the future is a flaming inferno of faecal matter spread over a ton of trash. By the end of the year McAdoo (and GM Jerry Reese) will probably both be gone and the rudderless search for the new Eli will be in full swing. It seems to be too late to reverse course as the damage is already done and a valiant leader has been slain. At least Janoris Jenkins is coming into form, that might keep the fans happy for now…wait…what…oh. Sorry.