BERGEN COUNTY, N.J.- New York Giants’ head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese have been canned following a roster move heard-round-the-world. McAdoo benched Eli Manning, two-time Super Bowl winning Giants QB, Super Bowl MVP, and longest tenured Giants player in history after stating that “Geno Smith gives us the best chance to win”. Win, they did not. The Raiders, at home, defeated the Giants 24-17. McAdoo traveled on the team’s plane home to New Jersey and was promptly fired (along with GM Reese) by Giants’ ownership first-thing Monday morning.
Even the most casual football fan’s indignation was never about second-string quarterback Smith or rookie quarterback Davis Webb. Everybody’s qualm was how the Giants’ brass failed to communicate with the quintessential New York Giant: Eli Manning. Owner John Mara was not even in the building on the day McAdoo informed Manning of its decision on his playing time in Oakland. Even Los Angeles Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, two men who, theoretically, should not be in his corner, expressed their support for the heartbroken and teary-eyed Manning. Rivers offered a harsh criticism: “I honestly thought it was pathetic, really. The guy, he’s been out there 210 straight games with no telling how many bumps and bruises and injuries for his team. Won two Super Bowls, MVPs, the respect he’s had in the locker room over the years, really the respect he’s gained throughout the league…. I just thought it was too bad the way it was handled and then certainly Eli, we’re not close buddies, but as a friend, as a fellow quarterback, it was tough to watch him yesterday. You can only imagine how he felt.” Brady dubbed it: “a pretty unfortunate situation”.
Manning told WFAN radio host Mike Francesa at 5pm today that had he been approached by Giants’ brass differently, and had the situation played out differently, he probably would have gone along with the plan for him to play the first half, then allow Smith to play the second.
With the dust clearing, what is next for Manning? He turns 37 in January and has salary cap hits of more than $22 million in each of the next two seasons. Manning has three options.
- He has repeatedly shot down public speculation by his father, former NFL quarterback Archie Manning, who told NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport “Eli might say, ‘I’ve had enough”. Retirement is not an option following this season.
- Manning is the Giants’ undisputed number one quarterback again next year for a new coach and a new GM (behind a revamped offensive line). He continues to mentor and groom the young quarterbacks behind him in the rotation for a timely graceful exit.
- Manning asks for a trade to another team. The Jacksonville Jaguars are a perfect fit. Manning would be an instant upgrade over current Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles. Something that has been absent from the Giants offense, the Jaguars have a complete, smash-mouth running game lead by rookie Leonard Fournette. Currently, the Jaguars’ rushing offense is the best in the league. The Giants’ is 27th. How about comparing defenses? The Jaguars have the best total defense (YPG) in the league. The Giants have the worst. Finally, Manning would be rejoining his former head coach Tom Coughlin, with whom he shared two Super Bowl victories.
As they say: time heals all wounds. The Mara and Tisch families are hoping the remaining five weeks of the 2017 season are enough to remedy heartbroken Manning and Giants fans everywhere.
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