The New York Giants have been an abomination this year.
The team came into the season with playoff hopes, but have sunk to 2-9.
Now the franchise has sunk even lower after an unbelievable decision.
The Giants have chosen to shut down two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Eli Manning for the rest of the season.
The move itself isn’t illogical, but it was executed with the surgical precision of a lumberjack.
The Giants blindsided Eli with the news, and asked him if he wanted to make token starts just to keep his active game streak alive.
Eli predictably said no.
From The Sporting News:
Crucify Ben McAdoo.
Lambaste Jerry Reese.
The Giants’ head coach and general manager — for now, anyway — deserve the criticism.
But the most venom for the Eli Manning debacle should be spewed at the guy who writes all of their paychecks: Giants co-owner John Mara.
He’s the one whose franchise has crumbled while overseeing football operations as team president and chief operating officer.
He’s the one who signed off on the shameful treatment of a Giants icon.
He’s the one who should have known better.
What transpired Tuesday was even more embarrassing than New York’s 2-9 record for a team considered a legitimate Super Bowl contender entering the season. The Giants railroaded Manning into ceding his starting job when telling him backup Geno Smith would play in the second half of Sunday’s game at Oakland no matter how things unfolded in the first two quarters. New York knew someone as prideful as Manning wouldn’t accept such a cockamamie plan just to keep alive his string of 222 consecutive starts (including the postseason).
Manning bowed out as gracefully as he could under the circumstances and shifted to a second-string role.
Don’t be fooled by McAdoo’s gaga about this move being made because the Giants want “a complete evaluation of the roster top to bottom, especially at the quarterback position, moving on to next season.”
This was all about putting New York in better position to lose its final five games with Smith and rookie Davis Webb under center and thus secure the highest draft pick possible to select a quarterback.
I can’t blame them. Manning turns 37 on Jan. 3. By the time New York fixes the flawed roster Reese assembled, Manning’s best days likely would be over. Some would argue they already are.
With a high 2018 pick in the offing, starting fresh at quarterback makes sense during the pending rebuild. And insuring that Manning stays healthy to net draft picks during an offseason trade rather than run the risk of injury playing behind a decrepit offensive line would accelerate that process.
As he has done for 14 seasons through good and bad times, Manning stood in front of his locker at team headquarters to take questions after the news surfaced. Although demotions and business decisions are a way of life in the NFL, one couldn’t help but cringe when listening to a heartbroken Manning fight back tears while answering questions.
Asked whether he had spoken to Mara, Manning responded, “He hadn’t been in today, but he knows what’s going on. I’ll probably try to speak with him tomorrow at some time.”
That’s far too late.
The damage for this fiasco will linger long after Manning is playing elsewhere or even retiring if so inclined.
If the Giants can treat Manning — the face of the franchise, the two-time Super Bowl MVP, the guy who was universally respected by past and present teammates for his work ethic and leadership — like a nobody, why should any player believe the “family” narrative New York, like every NFL club, tries to spout in team-building?
After seeing this, why should Beckham have a good-faith understanding that a new contract is forthcoming from Giants brass and get back on the practice field in 2018 until that deal is actually signed?
And most damning of all: Why should anyone believe the Giants under Mara’s watch have what it takes internally to start winning again even if McAdoo and Reese are given the Manning treatment at season’s end?
The Giants’ disaster has been a long time in the making.
General manager Jerry Reese has overseen some lackluster drafts, and head coach (for now) Ben McAdoo has completely lost control of the locker room, in part because he refused to rein in star wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
Several players have slammed the coach anonymously, and cornerback Eli Apple allegedly stormed out of a film session because of criticism he received.
Even Giants legend and current color commentator Carl Banks got into a spat with defensive lineman Damon Harrison:
Young brother I don’t play anymore.. my job isn’t to “approach” those that I think quit.that for the leaders.. I’ve been there, done it and rings to show for it.. I encourage and root for all Giants..
If it weren’t for the winless Cleveland Browns, the Giants might be the biggest catastrophe of the NFL season.