It was in April 2019 when the Giants shocked the world by drafting quarterback Daniel Jones at No. 6 overall.
It was during that summer when he was booed while being shown on the Yankee Stadium jumbotron.
It was 2020-21 when he struggled mightily and further proved his proneness to injury.
And it was the 2022 offseason when everyone was trying to write him off, saying he wasn’t capable of being the long-term face of the franchise.
But it was on Sunday when the rocky road of Jones’ Giants tenure seemed far in the rearview. In a must-win game to clinch a playoff berth, the fourth-year quarterback completed 19-of-24 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for 91 yards and another two scores. The Giants routed the Colts 38-10.
It was the type of performance the Giants needed from Jones to reach the playoffs. It was the type of performance of a No. 6 overall pick. It was the type of performance of a franchise quarterback.
And thanks to said performance, Jones has gone from the draft bust that couldn’t stay on the field to gaining the respect of the fanbase along with the higher-ups of the organization.
Giants co-owner John Mara told Ian O’Connor of The Post after Big Blue’s win, “to draft him as high as we drafted him, we got a lot of criticism. He took a lot of criticism. To see him come into his own is very gratifying.”
The fans are gratified, too, having chanted his name as he was replaced by backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor in the fourth quarter.
Even with a rookie head coach, battered offensive line, and question marks all season long at receiver, Jones has delivered, solidifying his tremendous 2022 campaign with Sunday’s dominant performance. He’s proven to be something of incredible value to a team that hadn’t sniffed the postseason in six years, and as a result, has become beloved in East Rutherford.
The potential contract? The Giants still might not be willing to give Jones the franchise tag, which is projected at $32.5 million. But a reasonable contract extension has been a possibility for weeks now, and Jones greatly improved his chances of earning one Sunday.
In various situations this season, with certain games on the line and even the season on the line Sunday, Jones has seemed more confident and poised than ever before. He’s delivered even with a supporting cast lacking talent, has kept this team in multiple games, has limited the turnovers, and is using his legs better than he did his first three seasons.
All in all, he’s proven to be a legitimate fit in Daboll and Mike Kafka’s offense — the pair of coaches have gotten more out of him than previous Giants coaches Pat Shurmur, Joe Judge, and Jason Garrett did.
While the financial values of the potential contract aren’t clear, what is clear is the Giants’ current perception of their starting quarterback. They believe in him and should continue to do so for years to come.
Follow ESNY on Twitter @elitesportsny