Greason: Eli Manning is what the Giants need right now
Elizabeth Greason | Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Believe what you want about the Giants, but if Eli Manning had started Sunday’s matchup against the Raiders, Ben McAdoo would not be searching the classifieds for a job today.
As my colleague Ben Padanilam wrote in his column last week, McAdoo and the Giants absolutely botched the handling of Manning’s benching — and now that McAdoo has gotten the boot, the Giants’ future finally has the chance to improve.
As Giants owner John Mara said in his press conference Monday, this season was “the perfect storm,” as four of the team’s star receivers went down with injuries, including Odell Beckham Jr., who was expected to be one of the league’s leaders. But benching Eli — who had previously started 210 consecutive games for the Giants, the second-most of anyone in the NFL — was the straw that broke the camel’s back, it seems.
McAdoo was objectively bad at his job. He lost games, he lost players’ respect — quickly — and he made one of the worst decisions I have ever seen in benching Manning in favor of Geno Smith. He deserved to be fired. And Mara did just that, cleaning house Monday and sending general manager Jerry Reese packing as well.
However, the most important result of Monday’s turmoil for the Giants is the revelation that Manning’s one-week hiatus from his starting job is over. While there are no guarantees at the moment, Manning said in a WFAN radio interview that he spoke with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who will take over the interim head coaching role, and told him he wanted to start Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, that he wants to lead the team to victory in its final four games.
And Manning should start Sunday. With Manning under center, McAdoo and Reese gone and Spagnuolo as the interim head coach, the Giants have the chance to turn over a new leaf. And while they may not win out or even win at all to finish the season, Eli Manning is what the Giants need right now.
Eli Manning can remind fans and the Giants where the team came from — he is the heart and soul of the franchise. There’s a reason benching him blew up in McAdoo’s face so badly: It’s because there are few players so beloved as Eli Manning. There’s a reason a group of former players are planning on standing on the sidelines this week wearing Manning’s No. 10 jersey in solidarity with last week’s mishandling. If you want to get fans back on board with a 2-10 season, starting Manning is the way to do it.
Manning has been the face of the franchise for over a decade. He’s led the team to two Super Bowls, over arguably one of the most menacing and most talented teams in league history in Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. And he hadn’t missed a start since his rookie season. Until Ben McAdoo got involved.
Manning is the stalwart the Giants need in the time of turmoil. While the injury-ridden squad may not have the talent to take down the Cowboys this weekend even with Eli back at the helm, it needs the calm, cool and collected Manning to lead them through the mess management has made of this season.
At nearly 37 years old, Manning is still the future of the New York Giants. They need to write last week’s starting fiasco off as another in the long list of McAdoo errors and make it an unfortunate blip on the radar of Manning’s long, successful career. So, Giants fans, as long as we’ve got Eli, everything is going to be OK.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.