IT’S a sad day in football, a day that we all knew was coming. It arrived sooner than some expected thanks to the New York Giants abysmal 2-9 season so far, but the end of Eli in NYC is upon us. After starting 210 consecutive games for the Giants and twice leading them to SuperBowl victories, the Book of Eli is writing it’s final chapter in New York.
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JAKE Plummer, Peyton Manning, Eli Manning, Mark Sanchez, Joe Flacco. Some familiar names, some not so much. All of those quarterbacks all boast wins against Tom Brady and the Patriots in the playoffs on their resumes. But only one of them has beaten Tommy Terrific in the SuperBowl. Twice.
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LET’S rewind a bit. Eli Manning comes from a family of football royalty (see dad and older brother). Taken first overall in 2004, the New York Giants made a draft day trade to secure Manning as the future of the franchise. After Kurt Warner’s final start for the Giants in Week 9 of Manning’s rookie year, a change was made at quarterback with New York throwing him under center. He nearly lost the starting job very early one after he was benched against the Ravens with a passer rating of 0.0, but the Giants kept their faith.
FROM November 21st, 2004 when Manning made his first professional start he has reeled off 210 consecutive games taking the first snap at quarterback, only trailing Brett Farve’s 297 straight starts. To put that into perspective 188 different quarterbacks have started an NFL game since then, with the Giants division rivals all starting 10+ play-callers each. To say that Eli has been consistent over the last dozen plus seasons is an understatement.
AT the age of 36 and in his 14th season the writing was on the wall, we knew the days of Eli Manning were numbered. But the Giants have sped up the process after failing miserably in 2017. The finger can be pointed to injuries, sure, with the loss of receivers and a lack of talent at running back resulting in New York scoring the second-fewest points a game (15.6). The defense has been the biggest issue though falling from one of the best defensive units last season to a very mediocre squad this year.
SO with an ageing QB, a losing team and an injury report longer than the Bible, the Giants have benched Eli and instead will turn to 5th year pro Geno Smith against the Raiders this weekend. The same Geno Smith that has more career interceptions than touchdowns and a career completion percentage lower than Sir Blake Bortles. Not exactly future franchise quarterback numbers.
DAVIS Webb was taken in the third round last year and the rookie may see some action under center before the season is done. Considering he hasn’t even attempted an NFL pass in his career yet, this isn’t an ideal situation to see what he is capable of though with no receiving talent and very little chance of success. The future of New York’s franchise is likely playing college right now and benching Eli could lead to the Giants losses piling up resulting in a higher pick come draft night.
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I feel embarrassed and hurt for Manning that this is how his Giants career seems destined to end. The likelihood of him remaining on their team next year seems unlikely and New York’s struggles this year are far from his fault. This isn’t how one of the greatest players in franchise history should be treated.
HOWEVER, at the end of the day, the NFL is a business and the Giants agenda right now is getting a pick as high as possible in next years draft. While this part of his career might be coming to a close, don’t be surprised if there is another team that comes calling for Eli (cough-please-cough-Jacksonville-cough) as he makes one last run at a chip. Still, Manning’s exit from the Giants seems destined to end on our a sour note. After so many terrific highs, he deserved better.
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