Just yesterday, the New York Giants announced that rookie quarterback Daniel Jones would take Manning’s place as starter. This had to be extremely frustrating. It happened to Alex Smith while he was on the Chiefs, and it also happened to Joe Flacco when he was with the Ravens. We are starting to see a new shift out of the Forever Era quarterbacks, like Eli, and starting to see a new rise of young quarterbacks (The Ringer).
I don’t quite understand Eli was benched, especially since why this will probably be one of his last seasons in the league. He has about as much experience as anyone in the whole league. Just last game, he became the first player to ever play sixteen seasons on the New York Giants. That was a major milestone.
Eli Manning has been one of the most significant parts of the Giants’ franchise. We are talking about the guy who won two Super Bowl MVPs (In 2007 and 2011), and also won the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2016. I don’t know of any other player in the league that’s done all of that and still got benched.
At the press conference in which Daniel Jones was named the starter, the Giants’ head coach, Pat Shurmur, addressed that he had already given the news to Manning:
“Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games.”
Eli has always had strong bonds with his coaches in the past, particularly Tom Coughlin, but ever since Pat Shurmur joined the Giants, their relationship has been shaky. Not only that, but he also played better when Coughlin was his coach. It might not seem like it, but the support of a head coach on a quarterback is pivotal in a quarterback’s success. Just like when Dan Reeves was the coach of the Broncos when John Elway was playing. It was hard for Elway to perform at a good level when the coach did not support him all of the way. I don’t think that in this situation, the level of tension is that extreme, but it still is evident.
Perhaps the worst part about benching Manning now is that the Giants are currently 0-2. It’s not even Eli’s fault. He started out the first game with great stats: 30-44 passes completed for 306 yards and one touchdown (Pro Football Reference). Then he did not play as well in the second game as his stats showed: 26-45, 250 yards, and one touchdown with two interceptions. It’s never fair for a coach to think that one game sums up a quarterback’s career. I do get that they might be desperate to start winning, but this will not help at all. All this does is add more drama to the locker room, which will in turn mess with the players as teammates. Players will feel that they have to either back Eli or Daniel and that could get really weird. The quarterback is supposed to be the leader of the team and as Oscar Martinez put it in the office:
“Look, it doesn’t take a genius to know that every organization thrives when it has two leaders. Go ahead, name a country that doesn’t have two presidents. A boat that sets sail without two captains. Where would Catholicism be without the popes?”
That is the problem with the atmosphere created by making a decision like this. The Giants players won’t know who to listen to or who they should deem more credible. Don’t get me wrong, Daniel Jones is a terrific quarterback, but I just think that the Giants are betting on him too soon.
I think that Pat Shurmur is so desperate right now that he is experimenting with whatever he can, which sometimes works, but is a very dangerous game to play…
Photo Credit:Di Erik Drost – Cleveland Browns vs. New York Giants, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61965370