Head coach Ben McAdoo has made a slicked-back, gelled mess of questionable decisions since taking the helm of the New York Giants almost two seasons ago, but this one might be the questionablest: McAdoo is benching two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning for famed punch victim Geno Smith.
“Geno will start this week,” McAdoo said on Tuesday. “Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give [rookie Davis Webb] an opportunity.”
When confronted by reporters after the news broke, Manning struggled to fight back tears.
“It’s hard. It’s been a hard day to handle this, but I’ll hang in there and figure it out,” Manning said, noting that Tuesday’s “up there” as one of his worst days as a Giant.
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) November 28, 2017
This means Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts—the second-longest in the history of the league—will come to an end.
The team gave him the option to maintain his streak then give way to the other quarterbacks, but the two-time Super Bowl MVP declined.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”
Former Giants agreed the move is ludicrous.
They’ve lost their collective minds. https://t.co/4ZhSRhe4KG
— David Carr (@DCarr8) November 28, 2017
Eli deserves much better than that. Much better. Class person, class player. That’s absurd
— Osi Umenyiora (@OsiUmenyiora) November 28, 2017
Eli Manning you’re always gonna be my QB. 2X Super Bowl MVP you can’t make that shit up bro.
— Brandon Jacobs (@gatorboyrb) November 28, 2017
Manning’s an odd scapegoat for the team’s 2-9 campaign. He’s clearly not having his best season, but this year he’s posted a career-best interception rate (1.8 percent) and has 14 touchdown passes to his seven interceptions, while completing 62.5 percent of his attempts with a depleted receiving corps and without the benefit of a running game.
Then again, McAdoo can’t bench himself, can he.