Category Archives: Giants

To the Remaining Eli Supporters, I Ask, “What Would It Take…?”

Hello, all.  It has been nearly two full months since I last wrote a post, and I know there has been a huge void in your lives.  TMZ has been all over me, trying to find scandalous reasons why I have not been posting.  No, nobody punted my dog Rex off a bridge.  The truth is much less exciting than that.  My wife and I moved into a house at the end of August, and it turns out that moving into a house while starting the school year (as a teacher) means that I have not had too much spare time.

Now that we have put that item to bed, I figured what better way to return to this blog than with my favorite topic: “Eli Manning”?  If you recall, I wrote two Eli posts last year – one in which I suggested that his time was running out and one in which I discussed what I considered to be the negative overreaction to his benching.  Of course, I was tempted to write a third about how I thought it was unfair that the Giants ultimately threw Ben McAdoo under the bus for the matter (although I generally did not like McAdoo’s coaching for other reasons).  I ultimately decided not to write the third post, as I would have come across as crazy writing three “Eli” posts during one season.  However, if I write a post this season, I would be sitting at 1.5 “Eli” posts per season over last year and this year.  That does not make me crazy, right?

Allow me to proceed…As we sit here today, the Giants sport a 1-7 record.  Given that I strongly wanted the Giants to draft a quarterback this past April; if you had told April-me that the Giants would pass on drafting a QB and would be 1-7 halfway through the 2018 NFL season, April-me would have assumed that November-me would be livid.  Fortunately, that is not the case.  Granted, it stinks being 1-7, but at least I was able to practice this situation last year.  (Not to mention, the 2012-2014 seasons gave me pretty good practice as well, even if those seasons were not quite “1-7 start”-level bad”)

No, the surprise to April-me would be that I am not mad that the Giants did not draft a quarterback.  Saquon Barkley is clearly one of the best running backs in the game, and none of the quarterbacks drafted are setting the world on fire.  Do not get me wrong – It is likely that at least one of the quarterbacks will develop into a great quarterback, but that has not happened yet.  If Sam Darnold were playing like rookie-year Andrew Luck, I would be beside myself on a daily basis….but he is not doing that.

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Image via USA Today

Therefore, the Giants now have the chance to set things right. They can either draft a quarterback with their high 2019 draft pick, or they can use the pick to build their core (hopefully using the pick on an offensive lineman) while picking up a veteran quarterback for next season.  I thought that the Giants should have signed Teddy Bridgewater last offseason.  He would have been a low-risk, high-reward player who would have pushed Eli.  However, the Giants astoundingly decided that, because they had benched Eli in December, it made sense to provide him with the least competition of any of the 32 starting NFL quarterbacks.  (Alex Tanney, Kyle Lauletta, and the since-released Davis Webb comprised Eli’s “competition”.)  Well, the Giants can right that wrong this coming offseason, whether with Bridgewater or someone else of that level.

The nice thing for me to see is that, after a second-straight deplorable season (OK, half-season in this case), many more fans are coming around on the idea that it is time from Eli.  That is comforting.  At the same time though, there are still fans out there who think Eli is not a problem.  The majority of these fans blame everything on the Giants’ offensive line, and that leads me to the main idea of this post.  To these fans, I ask, “What would it take for you to think that Eli is done?”

Honestly, what would it take?  Sure, the Giants’ offensive line is bad, but Eli supporters make it seem like Eli’s offensive line is a million times worse than any other offensive line in the league.  Eli’s supporters say that, because Eli is an immobile quarterback, it is imperative that the Giants drastically improve their line.  Well, the line this year is slightly better than it was last year.  Nate Solder has disappointed, and Will Hernandez is a work in progress, but the line is a little better than last year than when Ereck Flowers was prominently involved.  How much improvement does the offensive line need, in order for Eli to become even a mediocre quarterback, at this point?

When Eli’s supporters argue about him being an immobile quarterback, they have the argument backwards.  Every quarterback in the league other than Tom Brady is more mobile than Eli.  Therefore, it is Eli’s lack of mobility that is the big problem to address.  While the venerable Rob Sartori would know more about the Seahawks’ O-Line than I do, I am pretty sure that the group is nothing amazing.  At the same time, Russell Wilson’s mobility makes it such that the line is less of a detriment than it would be with Eli behind it.  Russell Wilson is generally considered a mobile quarterback.  However, even quarterbacks who we do not think of as mobile – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Philip Rivers, Big Ben (in his advanced age), to name a few – still show a bit more mobility than Eli does.  At a minimum, those QBs can take the necessary step or two after the snap to dance out of pressure.  That is all a quarterback needs to be able to do to keep the offensive line from being a complete liability.

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Image via NY Post

Unfortunately, Eli cannot do that.  For every legitimate case of Eli being sacked immediately after the snap (thus of no fault of his own), there is also a case of Eli either stepping into a circle of defenders (and being sacked) or holding the ball for too long while he gets sacked deep behind the line of scrimmage.  Eli’s defenders say that these last two scenarios are not his fault because Eli is so shell-shocked at this point.  Well, whether it is his fault or not, the fact that remains that Eli is one of the two least-mobile quarterbacks (with Tom Brady) in the league, and he is the most shell-shocked.  Therefore, if you were to take the backup quarterback on any non-Giants team in the league and have him start on the Giants, one would likely see a more mobile and less shell-shocked QB.  Thus, one would likely see a more productive Giants QB.

It seems a heck of a lot easier to replace the Giants’ quarterback than it is to replace the entire infrastructure around Eli.  Saying that the line is the problem and that Eli is not is akin to saying that the problem with having a flip phone is that there are not computers with Internet capability 10 feet apart across the whole planet.  “If only there were computers everywhere, my lack of a smart phone would not be a problem anymore!”  That is the logic I hear from Eli’s supporters.  In a league in which every quarterback drafted nowadays has at least a modicum of mobility, maybe it is a bad idea that the Giants hold on to such an immobile quarterback.

Additionally, I hear people say that, when Eli has time to throw a good ball, he can still throw as well as anyone.  Stop it.  Even in Eli’s prime, he was never the most accurate passer.  Yes, he threw the most clutch/accurate pass in NFL history when he threw the bomb to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI, but most of his career has seen plenty of wounded ducks and plenty of passes behind big receivers like Plaxico Burress and Hakeem Nicks that the receivers were able to reel in.

I also hear people talk about Eli’s great game against Philly last December, his strong game in Houston in September, and his great finish in Carolina this October.  Some use these games as proof that he can still be great, but I see this as the ultimate case of confirmation bias.  Any quarterback this side of Nathan Peterman can have a few great games in the modern NFL; the league is set up for QBs to dominate.  Therefore, a quarterback is judged on how few bad games he has, more so than on how many good games he has.  Josh McCown had probably 5 or 6 very good games last year, and he has been on the bench this whole season.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has a few very good games seemingly every year but can never hold a starting job.  Those two career backups are held down because we have seen too many bad games out of them, yet Eli’s supporters refuse to hold the same standard to Eli.

Thus I ask again to our Eli supporters, “What would it take for you to say it’s over?”  Do you need to see three-consecutive seasons of three or fewer wins?  Do you need to see Eli be sacked 100 times in a season?  Do the Giants need to trade for Andrew Luck?  Do you need to see the Giants put nine players on the offensive line to block, so that Eli finally has enough time?  What would it take?

Lastly, for copyright purposes, I should come clean that I first heard this “What would it take?” premise when used by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.  He is a Republican who was using this question to criticize Republicans who refused to condemn then-presidential-candidate Donald Trump for anything.  Thus, since I am citing a Republican who is criticizing other Republicans, hopefully those two components cancel each other out…and you – Republican or Democrat – are ok with me using the line.

Giants Fans Ruined Their Chances of Moving On From Eli Manning

The Giants have started this year worse than anticipated, and their dreadful past two seasons were highly unexpected. I remember at the beginning of the 2017 campaign, they were placed at #2 overall in Bleacher Report’s NFL Power Rankings. Later that same year, they had the #2 overall pick in the draft.

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Most of it can be blamed on Ben McAdoo, who was a dumpster fire of a football coach. I could probably have thrown my mom out there on the sidelines and she could’ve won 4 or 5 games. And she still asks me every year when the Seahawks are going to be in the Super Bowl. They’re not Mom, let it go and let’s move on.

The other percentage of failure can be blamed on injuries, the offensive line, defensive inefficiencies, and of course, Eli Manning.

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Image via Radio.com

I have really never seen anybody personify the quote “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain” more than Eli Manning. I mean, this guy was a king. He was the face of the NY Giants. Manning beat the greatest quarterback of all-time TWICE in the Superbowl in miraculous, comeback fashion. He had an MVP caliber season in 2015 and was/is on his way to being a Hall of Famer.

But in Week 13 of 2017, McAdoo benched the Giants’ legend, and it caused an uproar throughout the league…especially in New York. Fans were absolutely outraged and horrified that anybody could blame Manning for the Giants atrocity of a season.

One year later though, it looks like McAdoo was just ahead of the curve.

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Sorry for all The Dark Knight references

He had the guts to bench a guy that was underperforming and didn’t work for his offense, much like Shumur did with Erik Flowers earlier this year. Problem was, nobody gives two shits about Flowers. But people care about Eli Manning, and McAdoo’s choice got him fired (and so did being a really bad football coach, don’t forget that). Giants fans defended Eli, got him his job back, and preached that he was capable of leading them to the Promised Land one more time with the right pieces. The front office listened to them.

Now here they are one year later, sitting at 1-7 with Saquon Barkley in the backfield instead of having Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, or Josh Rosen under center. Giants fans are screaming at the organization and at Eli for screwing their season up, but I think they have to put some of the blame on themselves. I find it wild that Giants fans were in agony at the fact that Eli was benched last year, and those same fans are calling for him to be benched this year. Yes, there are some different situations now, but what has really changed about Eli?

You have to imagine that the front office is confused. When the season was ending last year, the fanbase was saying “How could you do that to Eli? He still has talent, this isn’t his fault. He’s our guy”. Then they’re like “Okay, sure, let’s take Barkley then”. Then the Giant fans are like “Wooaahhh, wait, Eli’s not good anymore. We need a quarterback for the future”.

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It’s like when a girl says she’s fine. She’s not fine, and she wants a franchise quarterback. Don’t listen to her.

To all those people who wanted the quarterback of the future, I say that you had your chance to move on. But when that Week 13 benching came, everyone was stuck in the past and didn’t want to accept the fact that maybe their hero had overstayed his welcome.

It is time for a new quarterback in New York. Manning isn’t the right guy anymore, but I’d be extremely shocked if you saw somebody else under center this year. The Giants are losing a lot right now, but one thing they can’t afford to lose is their loyal fans who still want to see Eli ride off into the sunset like so many other New York legends have done.

 

Anyone Else Nervous for the Giants’ Pick Tomorrow Night?

The day us Giants fans have been anticipating basically since the Week 4 loss to the Bucs that dropped them to 0-4 is almost upon us. The NFL Draft’s first round is tomorrow night, and the G-Men hold the #2 overall pick. This is the first time since 1981 that the Giants have picked second, when they took legendary linebacker Lawrence Taylor. They haven’t even picked in the top five since 2004 when they took Philip Rivers, who they ultimately traded to the Chargers for a quarterback by the name of Eli Manning. Now, after a 3-13 season in which we saw the Giants fire their coach, bench Manning for a game, and lose star receiver Odell Beckham for the season to a fractured ankle, this draft pick determines the direction of their franchise. Do they take one of the draft’s top quarterbacks and begin to prepare for life after Eli? Or do they take an offensive weapon like Saquon Barkley and give it one last shot with Eli? Let’s weigh the options.

Draft a Quarterback

The four top QB names that are being thrown around in mock drafts are Wyoming’s Josh Allen, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold, and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Three of these four will be on the board when the Giants pick, but it is unclear which three, as the Browns have been linked to all of them besides Rosen. Darnold is considered the most polished of the four, though he had an underwhelming final season at USC. Allen is more of a project, but his 6’5 frame and rocket arm are the physical skill set teams dream about. Rosen had an impressive college career, but is considered by many (including myself) to be a bit too outspoken to play in New York. Give me an Eli Manning type, a guy who will do his job in silence. A quiet competitor, a real warrior that will get up from the hardest hits. Rosen’s Cali kid vibe won’t fly in New York, especially if he struggles. Despite what I just said about wanting an Eli Manning type, I also love Mayfield. Sure, he’s quite outspoken too, but in a more fiery, “I’m going to do whatever it takes to bury my opponent” kind of way. If you didn’t enjoy watching Mayfield play, you don’t like fun. He gets a lot of Johnny Manziel comparisons, which can obviously be taken the wrong way. But I think his height and his past mistakes are played up too much, and he has real NFL potential. Realistically, I think the Giants take Rosen or Darnold, if he’s available. But man, I would love to see Baker in blue.

Draft Saquon Barkley

My brain tells me to take a quarterback, or trade down and get a huge package of picks. My heart tells me take Saquon Barkley. I’ve been posting #SuckForSaquon for months now. This guy is absolutely electric to watch play, and with the recent success of rookie running backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette, it’s not inconceivable that he can be an instant boost for the entire offense. Yes, the Giants offensive line is still weak, but they’ve already started to make improvements with the signing of Nate Solder. The Barkley connection can’t be denied, with many mock drafts linking him to the G-Men. It would be a risky pick, but I would love to keep the Jersey kid at home.

Draft Bradley Chubb

Another option is to draft on the defensive side of the ball. After trading Jason Pierre-Paul this offseason, the G-Men could opt to take the draft’s best pass-rusher. Chubb broke Mario Williams’ sack record at NC State, and his draft stock has been rising steadily over the past few weeks. It wouldn’t be nearly as flashy of a move as taking Barkley or a quarterback, but an elite pass rusher is one of the NFL’s most coveted assets.

Trade Down

If the Giants decide to trade down, there will surely be a large number of suitors. This is a quarterback-heavy draft, and many teams such as the Bills or Cardinals could be looking to trade up and grab either Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, or Allen. Preferably, the Giants trade to a spot they can take Notre Dame OL Quenton Nelson, but that may be a long shot. Although trading down is easily the least sexy option of the bunch, it needs to at least be considered given the package it would command.

 

Last season was not fun for Giants fans. This pick could very well determine the direction of the franchise for the next five years. In Gettleman we trust.

Pros and Cons of Rooting for Either Team in Super Bowl LII as a Giants fan

Well that couldn’t have gone any worse, could it? In the AFC championship game, the Jaguars almost did what America so desperately wanted and knocked off the Patriots. Unfortunately, almost is they key word in that sentence, and Tom Brady & company came back from a ten point fourth quarter deficit to secure their eighth AFC Championship in the Brady & Belichick era. I wanted more than anything for this guy to be in the Super Bowl,

but the Football Gods decided Brady would represent the AFC for the third time in the last four years. This tweet I came across last night is also absolutely insane

I mean, that’s unreal. For a league that prides itself on parity and having everyone be relatively competitive, having only four quarterbacks represent an entire conference over a 15-year span is bananas. Regardless, if you had said at any point in the last year that Brady would be an AFC champ again, no one would blame you.

So as a Giants fan, or really any team, obviously the Patriots winning was not what you wanted. Rooting against the Patriots is like hitting on a girl that’s out of your league. You know how it’s gonna end the whole time, but then they give you a little glimmer of hope that maybe it’ll be different this time, only for it to end exactly how you originally thought. Moral of the story? The Patriots will always win and I will always get curved by girls but that is neither here nor there.

In the NFC game, you had the Vikings coming off one of the craziest finishes to a game probably ever, against the Eagles who have been thriving in the underdog role ever since MVP hopeful Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Although many people counted them out from that moment, “Big Dick” Nick Foles has more than risen to the challenge and has now put the Birds in the Super Bowl. I feel like I was pretty much in the same boat as most people thinking it would be a close game. The Vikings had momentum (and maybe a bit better of a team) on their side, the Eagles had home-field advantage. Well, that’s not what happened at all, and the Eagles handed the Vikings what my housemate and resident BTB hockey blogger Philly Phil would call a “Bully Beatdown.”

So us Giants fans are stuck in a pickle here. Super Bowl LII, Pats vs. Birds. Who do we root for? Let’s weigh our options.

The Case to Root For the Patriots

1. We’re Conditioned to Block Out Their Wins at This Point

Obviously no one likes it when the Patriots win. But you just know it’s coming at this point. If Brady wins another Super Bowl in two weeks, does it really matter anymore? The guy already has five. Not trying to take anything away from him because obviously every Super Bowl is an outstanding accomplishment, but you could tell me Brady’s gonna win twelve Super Bowls at this point and I’d believe you. Realizing the Patriots are probably gonna win the Super Bowl is the same as knowing the Knicks will be garbage every year. At a certain point it happens so often you just become numb to it.

2. Eli Would Still be the Only QB to Ever Beat Brady on the Big Stage

I’ve let it be known before that every sports highlight is better with Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On set to it, and this video is no exception. Brady scoffing at the notion that the Giants defense could hold the Pats’ offense in check at the beginning is also a great touch. But every Giants fan obviously knows how incredible it was to win those games (XLII especially, not to say XLVI wasn’t awesome but ruining their perfect season was the cherry on top of that game), and it’s something only Giants fans can say. Eli Manning is the only one to have beaten the Greatest QB of All-Time in the Super Bowl, and he did it twice. I’m no mathematician, but I know that if Brady is considered the GOAT, and Eli beat him in the championship game twice, then Eli must actually be the GOAT. No, I’m just kidding, but every Giants fan knows the pride that comes with saying your team is the only one to beat Brady on Super Bowl Sunday, and it’s the one thing that somewhat softens the blow whenever you see Brady get up on that podium and hoist the Lombardi.

3. The Eagles are Our Bigger Rivals

Sure, the G-Men have played the Pats twice in the Super Bowl. But we won both times. They’re in the AFC, we’re in the NFC, therefore we only play once every four years. It’s the same reason I don’t really consider the Jets our rivals. Well, that, and the fact that they are one of the saddest excuses for a franchise in North American sports (see also: Browns, Mets, Marlins.)

But we play the Eagles twice a year. They’re our division rivals. They’ve given us some heartbreaking defeats lately. Remember this one from when we actually still believed we could be a functioning football team in 2017?

Stayed with the Celine Dion there, don’t really know why. But that was a BRUTAL moment for us Giants fans. And who could forget this?

To this day, you can say “Fuck Matt Dodge” at any Giants tailgate/game and surely get a bunch of fans agreeing with you. So given everything I just said, how could you root for the Eagles?

1. It’s Still the Fucking Patriots

There’s still no shot anyone with a brain wants to see the Patriots win the Super Bowl. These are the same guys that got caught with Spygate and Deflategate. Their fans are insufferable. They win literally every year. The last thing anyone wants to see is them win another Super Bowl, regardless of who they’re playing.

2. I Hate Boston Sports Much More Than Philly Fans

I’m a baseball guy first. More specifically, a Yankees guy first. You know who our main rival is? The Boston Red Sox. In fact, that’s perhaps the best rivalry in professional sports. You know who else Red Sox fans root for? The Patriots. Any success for Boston sports makes me sick. Pictures like this showing how much recent success they have make me want to vomit.

The Patriots win every year. The Red Sox have won three since ending the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. The Celtics may be the best team in the East this year. And the Bruins sit near the top of the NHL standings. Seeing these fans get to enjoy yet another parade doesn’t get any easier, even if seeing Brady hold the Lombardi does.

3. What if it Never Ends?

I stand behind what I said that I’m pretty much immune to the Patriots themselves winning Super Bowls. I’ve seen them win five, what’s six or seven or even twelve gonna change? But what if it’s even more than that? What if Brady plays until he’s 80? Super Bowl 100 rolls around and they’re just still winning every single year? Call me crazy but that’s the way it’s looking at this point, and if an Eagles win could do one thing it would at least slow them down for now.

Conclusion: I came into this blog thinking I was gonna root for the Eagles. As started writing, however, the Patriots started to make more sense. However, I’ve come to a conclusion that I think every Giants fan can get on board with: drink a lot of beer on Super Bowl Sunday, hope your box pool numbers hit, and watch Saquon Barkley highlights on your phone in hopes that he’ll be a Giant in a few months. I can definitely get behind that plan.

What I Want to See in Sports in 2018

When you look back on 2017, not just what happened in sports but as a whole, I think I speak for everyone when I say the only logical reaction is “what the actual fuck just happened?” Definitely a year to remember, but one you wish you could forget. In terms of sports it was certainly an eventful year for my teams. The Yankees were supposed to miss the playoffs and came up one win short of the World Series, the Giants were supposed to contend for a Super Bowl and ended up with the #2 pick in the draft, the Knicks almost let Phil Jackson trade Porzingis only to fire him a week later, and Rutgers tried. On a day when everyone is making “New Year’s Resolutions,” I made a New Year’s wish list for sports because it’s more fun to ask for things out of your control to happen (no one gives a shit that you swear you’re gonna start going to the gym again Brad, get off Twitter.) Obviously it would be easy/unrealistic to say I want all my teams to win championships, so I got a little more creative with it. Here’s what I hope 2018 has in store in the world of sports.

The Patriots Lose in the Super Bowl

No, I don’t just want the Patriots to not win the Super Bowl. I want them to make it there, and then lose. Why? Because love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the big game is always better when the Pats are in it. Was it horrible to see them win last year in the best comeback/worst collapse in Super Bowl history? Obviously, but you can’t deny that it was an amazing game. Every Super Bowl Tom Brady and company have been in has been extremely entertaining (especially 42 & 46 in my opinion.) Give me Brady throwing a game-ending pick six in overtime or something. Fun for the whole family!

Duke Loses in the Final Four

The same logic applies here as my Patriots argument. I would love to see nothing more than Grayson Allen’s Ted Cruz-looking ass get embarrassed by 40 by North Carolina on national TV. March Madness is the best sporting event there is (don’t @ me), and seeing Duke lose just makes it that much sweeter.

The Mets Pitching Staff Stays Healthy

Hear me out on this one. I’m a Yankee fan, but I would love to see this happen for two reasons. First of all, as a baseball fan, I would love to see what a healthy staff of Syndergaard, DeGrom, Matz, Harvey, Wheeler staff could do in a full season. And second, if they Yankees could still beat the crap out of those guys, it would shut up every annoying Mets fan I know.

The Giants Pick a Franchise-Altering Player

I’m torn on who I want them to take at number two. I love the idea of Saquon Barkley in the backfield, but if you legitimately think Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield could be your next franchise quarterback, how do you pass that up? Knowing the Giants, they could also trade back and take a lineman later on, but they would need to get a substantial return to do that. All I know is that this is hopefully the last time they get a draft pick this high for a long time, so they need to choose wisely.

Rutgers Upsets a Big Ten Team at Home

I’ve wanted to storm the field since I got to Rutgers. Unfortunately, the football team has not exactly done a great job at beating their Big Ten opponents recently, or even losing by a reasonable margin for that matter. But after storming the court after the basketball team beat Seton Hall a few weeks ago, all I know is I need to experience that at High Point Solutions Stadium before I graduate. (The fact that 2018 will be my last go-around of tailgates is like the Sunday Scaries times a million, by the way.)

The Yankees Win the World Series

All right sue me, we came within a game of getting there last year and we just traded for Giancarlo freaking Stanton. You’re damn right I want a World Series this year.

Let’s hope 2018 is a year to remember for the right reasons. All of us here at Below the Belt are ecstatic to bring you another year of average blogs.

I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills Here!!!

When news broke on Tuesday, that Eli Manning would no longer be the Giants’ starting quarterback, I planned not to write a post about the matter.  I figured that my lengthy Eli post from two weeks ago allowed me to say what I need to say (John Mayer).  However, after the past four days, I need to make another post.

I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!!!  Nearly every person I know or have heard is ready to tar and feather the Mara family, Jerry Reese, and Ben McAdoo for what has gone down this week with Eli.  I, however, am fine with what the Giants have done.  Hard-core football fans, casual football fans, Giants fans, Jets fans, Patriots fans, adults, children, Mike Francesa, Michael Kay, Don LaGreca, Bill Simmons, Bill Barnwell, friends of mine, family members of mine, current Giants, former Giants, and lastly Michael Rapaport are all mortified by the Giants’ handling this week of Eli Manning.  Like when I told the world that I enjoyed Dumb and Dumber To, I am a man on an island, and that is ok with me.

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Business Insider Photo of Eli Manning press conference after the Giants announced his benching

That said, I am writing this post to express my shock at the level of outrage over the Giants’ decision.  I had hoped for several weeks that the Giants would eventually move to see what they have in their other quarterbacks, but I did not think they would have the courage to do it.  Eli Manning is likely the best human being in the NFL, and it takes a lot of courage to tell such a wonderful person that he has to ride the pine.  I figured that, if McAdoo/Reese/Mara could find the courage to make the decision, most people would react similarly to my view of “I feel terrible for Eli.  He has played his heart out as a Giant and has never missed a start.  The team around him this year was bad.  However, this is the right move for the future of the team.”  Wow was I wrong!

Obviously, all Giants fans will forever look fondly upon Eli’s work in leading the Giants to two Super Bowl Championships.  Much less obviously, apparently 99% of the world seems to look back fondly on his 32-43 regular-season record over the past five seasons and his 2-9 record this season.

Here are some common refrains I have heard this week and my rebuttals:

  • “How can you tarnish a man’s legacy like this?” I am sorry, but the 2-9 season and 4-of-5 seasons below .500 are tarnishing the legacy, not the benching.  QBs who go 2-9 and 32-43 tend to get benched.
  • “Joe Montana, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly, etc. (fill in the blank with any great QB here) never got treated like this.” Again, those quarterbacks never went had years this bad or five-year stretches this bad.
  • “But the team around Eli is terrible!!!” This is true, but Eli has made a bad situation worse, not better.
  • “But the Giants will be even worse without Eli at QB!” They are 2-9.  Mathematically speaking, it is tough to get worse.
  • “How could they ask him to play just one half? That makes a mockery of the game.”  Oh yeah, I am sure you would feel sooooooo much better if the Giants had just flat-out benched him without at least giving him this option.
  • “How could they go to Geno, not Webb?” True story, there were multiple games this season when I texted people that “Giants would be better using Geno right now”.  I said this because a quarterback with at least some mobility would fare much better than Eli behind a porous offensive O-Line.
  • “But we saw Geno with the Jets, and he was terrible and a bad leader. He even got punched in the face, and nobody came to his defense.”  First of all, he did have some great games as a Jet, including wins over the Patriots and Falcons.  He was a second-round pick who has plenty of talent.  Yes, he was immature…very immature.  However, people can mature.  Is it possible that getting clocked in the face and then spending three years backing up class acts like Eli and Ryan Fitzpatrick can make him a better person, leader, and player?    I am not saying it is likely, but it could happen.
  • “If the Giants were gonna do this, how could they not have Webb ready?” This setup works just fine.  If Geno does well, the Giants can roll with him.  If he does badly, they can go to Webb.  If either one of them ends up looking awesome, the Giants will feel less compelled to draft a quarterback in the first round.  Drafting Saquon Barkley or an offensive lineman would not be a bad thing.
  • “If the Giants released him today, he would hardly last a second on the open market.” I disagree.

 

Anyway, among the many who have condemned the Giants this week, Bill Barnwell of ESPN is the only person who has an idea that would have made sense.  He says the Giants should have announced that next week’s home game against Dallas would be Eli’s last start.  That way, the Giants fans could have bid him farewell in a more respectable manner.  I like the idea, but I would have done that in the Chiefs game, so that the Giants could have gotten 6 games to look at their young quarterbacks.  However, I am not losing sleep that the Giants did not do this.  The Giants will give Eli his due when they put him in the Ring of Honor as soon as his career ends.

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Washington Post Photo

Lastly, I have not generally been a big fan of Ben McAdoo.  Some of that is because I did not love his play-calling as offensive coordinator.  (Whereas I was one of the few who was fine with Kevin Gilbride)  Some of that is because, when I look at his face, I cannot help but think of PC Principal.  That said, McAdoo has shown me something positive this week.  While everyone else is dumping on him, I praise him (and Reese and the Maras) for making a courageous decision.

 

I should add that I am not writing this post because I hate Eli.  I simply have been down this block before.  I have said goodbye to Martin Brodeur, Scott Stevens, and Mike Piazza.  I am stuck in what seems to be a 4-year-long goodbye to David Wright.  These things happen; it is inevitable.  Eli, you have been a delight to watch on the field.  Your humanitarian work is second to none.  As Bill Simmons often discusses, I would love to have you marry my hypothetical daughter or hypothetical sister.  In an era with many NFL scandals, you represent everything that is right with football.  However, Giants fans, it is time to look to the future.

Giants’ Season Reaches New Low, Eli Manning Benched for Geno Smith

Obviously, the news that the Giants will be starting Geno Smith in place of long-time starter and 2-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning took the sports world by storm yesterday. I’m utterly stunned by this move. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been actively rooting against the Giants in every game for the last few weeks because there’s nothing worse in the NFL than being mediocre. What’s the point in going 6-10 when you can go 3-13 and potentially draft a franchise-changing player, aka Saquon Barkley? But while I’m all in on the tank, not at this cost. Not if it means disrespecting the best quarterback in franchise history, and a guy who gave us Giants fans the most unforgettable Super Bowl runs we could ask for. I mean, look at this guy.

 

Just sickening to not let him go out there and do his job. He’s currently working with one of the worst offensive lines in the league and a group of receivers where what was supposed to be his 4th/5th target in Roger Lewis is now his number one, and he’s still going out there week after week trying to win games. Don’t get me wrong, Eli is no Derek Jeter in terms of his consistency or his New York sports legacy. Yeah, the Giants haven’t exactly been a perennial playoff team and he’s more than capable of throwing an untimely interception. But you could always count on Eli to get up from every brutal hit he took, and give the G-Men a chance to win every damn week. And we bench him for this?

I mean I guess they wanna ensure the tank, but this is crazy. Also, props to Eli for not taking the pity “start” just to keep his streak alive. Shows you that the guy is way more concerned with the team’s performance than personal records. Just LOOK at this stat.

What a weird season and what a weird way to go about it. Fire McAdoo, fire Reese, fire freaking everyone. Eli Manning will always be my quarterback, and there’s no two ways about it.