The job of a quarterback is to be the general on the field. He is the man, the leader and the one that gets the blame when his team fails. From this aspect of the position, Eli Manning has been the model quarterback.
Through 14 seasons as a Giant, with 210 consecutive starts, two Super Bowls and two Super Bowl MVP’s, Manning has been the face of the New York Giants, and has done so with the utmost class and respect.
With the Giants having arguably their most disappointing season in franchise history, currently holding a 2-9 record, there has been a lot of blame thrown around. The offensive line has certainly struggled, the defense has had some awful games, and head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese have received a lot of criticism for their control of the team.
However, despite Reese and McAdoo failing to address the Giants’ weaknesses in the offseason, it is Manning who will face the consequences this week, with the Giants announcing on Nov. 28 that he will not start the Dec. 3 game against the Raiders.
“This is what’s best for the team,” McAdoo said to media Tuesday, announcing the decision to start Geno Smith instead.
Is it really what is best? Is it the best decision to take away the only consistent part of the organization when the rest of it is in complete disarray? Is it best to bench the quarterback, who, despite being without his three best receivers, is still somehow putting up decent numbers?
It also does not make sense to “evaluate” a quarterback who already started and failed with the Jets while there is a rookie in Davis Webb on the bench who can actually be evaluated. It just does not make sense to bench the best quarterback in the franchise’s history, who has done nothing but been a model captain.
Manning is the New York Giants and has been for the past 14 years. When one is a player like that, in a season like this, one gets to end it on their own conditions. If this is the end of the Manning era in New York, then he deserves a much better ending than this.
Yes, Manning was asked if he wanted to start to keep his streak alive, knowing that Smith would eventually come in. However, if that is what McAdoo considers respect, then it is no wonder how he lost his team.
McAdoo and Reese should not be able to take the rest of this season away from Manning. Without the two rings Manning led the Giants to, Reese would be long gone. Without Manning vouching for McAdoo to be head coach after Tom Coughlin was fired, he very well may not be head coach right now.
Right away, the NFL media was buzzing with disapproval for this decision by the Giants. Several former Giants and teammates of Manning have expressed their discontent with the decision as well, speaking in part for Manning’s outstanding character. Former teammates Justin Tuck and David Diehl took to Twitter to show their disdain for the decision, as well as former player and radio personality Carl Banks. Even former coach Coughlin stated his shock of the news, saying, “I was very upset when I heard that.”
The disrespect the New York Giants have shown the face of their franchise is a tarnish in their record of nearly 100 years of class. The blame spreads from top to bottom in the organization.
As a Giants fan, all I can do is thank Eli. Through the criticism and up and down seasons, he has not changed from the classy person he is. He put everything on the line for his teammates, coaches, and organization. Unfortunately, the Giants did not pay him the same respect back on Tuesday.
It is not clear what Manning’s future is with the franchise, or where he may end up next. But one thing is for sure – he is, and always will be, a New York Giant.
Keith Egan is a visual and sound media and journalism major from Tinton Falls, N.J. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Keith_egan10.