Eli Manning, who won’t start for the Giants for the first time since 2004, was visibly emotional when address media as a backup.
Since Eli Manning took over the New York Giants starting quarterback position, three different men have been President of the United States, the New York Knicks have had nine different coaches, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe has unleashed 17 movies.
But as the old axiom goes, all good things…even future Hall of Fame things…must come to an end.
Tuesday afternoon brought a swift end to Manning’s quarterback monopoly in East Rutherford, as the Giants announced via a team statement that Geno Smith will start Sunday afternoon’s game in Oakland (4:25 PM, FOX). In the same statement, the Giants said that third-round selection Davis Webb will likely see snaps as well.
“Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give Davis an opportunity,” head coach Ben McAdoo said in the statement. “his is not the way it should be, but unfortunately, it’s where we are. Our number one priority every week is to go win a game, but we owe it to the organization to get an evaluation of everybody on the roster, and that includes at the quarterback position.”
For many Giants fans, their desires to see Manning removed from this disastrous 2-9 season have finally been fulfilled. That didn’t however, make Manning’s first public statements since the announcement any easier to bear.
Eli Manning https://t.co/VFoBZzELzQ
— The Giant Insider (@GiantInsider) November 28, 2017
“I’ll be a good teammate. I don’t like it, but it’s part of football, you handle it. I didn’t do my job,” an upset Manning said. “I don’t have to make sense of it. This is what it is and like I said, you got to deal with it.”
Manning, 36, was visibly emotional as he stood in front of his locker, as for the first time in 210 games, someone other than he will start under center for the Giants. He took over for Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner midway through the 2004 season and hasn’t looked back. While other quarterbacks have come and gone across the NFL, Manning has remained a rare constant in the league, overseeing the Giants’ two Super Bowl victories in 2008 and 2012, earning the MVP award in each for his clutch performances.
That streak, however, fell by the wayside when making the decision this week.
“I thought I was just starting and playing to keep a streak alive and I didn’t think that was the right thing,” Manning explained. ” You’re the starting quarterback, it’s your job to go out there and win the football game. When that’s not the case, you’re just going out there to play knowing you’re not going to finish the game. I just didn’t see that being the right thing.”
“I have a lot of respect for everything that Eli has done in this league and for this organization and a lot of respect for the streak,” McAdoo said of the consecutive starts. “I see what he goes through each and every week to get ready to play and how consistent he is and I don’t want to speak for Eli, but I don’t believe he would want to tarnish the record and I’ll leave it at that.”
Per the team statement, Manning was offered the opportunity to start Sunday’s visit to Oakland, but under the condition that he would be removed for either Smith or Webb at some point, likely the second half. Manning, who made it clear he wanted to oversee the remains of this lost season, instead allowed the team to turn the reigns over to his understudies.
“I just didn’t think that you start knowing that you’re going to come out of a game to keep a streak alive maybe. That’s not what it’s about,” Manning said. “It’s not a preseason game where you’re going to play the start to the half, what’s the next week? A quarter, a series, that’s not fair. That’s not fair to me, that’s not fair to Geno, that’s not how you play. You play to win. You’re named the starting quarterback, you think it’s your job to go win the football game. When you know you’re just going to play a little bit, I didn’t feel like that was the right way to play.”
Once again true to his selfless form, Manning expresses no ill will toward his replacements and will do everything he can to make them feel comfortable.
“I told Geno I’d be here for him,” Manning said of this week’s Raiders prep. “I sat down with him today and going over the script and going over plays and just make sure he’s comfortable with everything and knows how to go out there and give him a chance to be successful.”
In terms of this being the hardest day that Manning has had with the Giants, the youngest Manning brother replied: “It’s up there”. For Giants fans across the Tri-State area, this has to be a no-doubter.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490