Eli Manning is overrated, but the Giants completely botched their QB situation
Eli isn't as great as you think ... and New York still absolutely embarrassed itself in handling him
The fallout from NFL players, both past and present, -- and surely the most infamous -- decision by coach Ben McAdoo in a 2017 season that's spiraled to unforeseen depths for the Big Apple.has been swift and severe as countless
Much of the consensus support for Manning, whose historic streak of consecutive starts will come to an end thanks to McAdoo's desire to "take a look" at backup and New York Jets castoff Geno Smith (read that again and tell me this season isn't the death sentence for the current Giants regime), is warranted. It's no easy feat to start 210 straight games, let alone the 11 New York has played in 2017 behind a creaky offensive line, and then, you know, there's also the fact that Manning won two Super Bowls.
Lost in that support, of course, is the fact that Manning is -- or was -- probably thethis season, not to mention a long-overdue realization that his last name and those two Lombardi Trophies, shiny as they may be, carried a lot more weight than his production or consistency ever did. Friendly reminder: Manning has never thrown less than 10 interceptions as a full-time starter, he's thrown at least 14 for eight straight seasons and he's hit 20, including an NFL-high 27 in 2013, three times. In other words, he's always been a turnover machine, and while his penchant for clutch-time acrobatics will never be forgotten, neither will his streaks of mediocrity.
Here's the bigger picture, though: Manning being overrated and the Giants turning their quarterback situation into a downright tragedy aren't mutually exclusive. Both things can be true. The opinion here, in fact, is that both things are true: For all he's accomplished, Eli just plain stinks way more than a "franchise" quarterback should ... and yet, still, his one and only NFL team has completely botched what now looks a whole lot like the finale of his Giants career.
McAdoo, however, has created such a mess that the stench of mismanagement has ruined the ability to argue that Manning isn't even that great to begin with. Those who agree that Eli is just so-so as a quarterback are now all but forced to defend him because of the Giants' egregious way of ushering him out of the starting lineup. The list of fallacies regarding the whole ordeal aren't quitesimply because of the time frame, but they are resounding nonetheless.
Firstly, why, oh why, is Geno Smith the reason that Eli Manning is finally heading to the bench? Either McAdoo was completely convinced by a recent New York Daily News piece talking up Smith's "insane untapped potential" as a perpetual victim of league-wide "misevaluation," or he simply failed to develop third-round draft pick and potential Manning successor Davis Webb, who was active in zero -- repeat: zero -- of the team's many blowout losses this fall. Or he just realizes his team, 2-10 since his star players before a 2016 playoff loss, is completely lost, as is his job security, and therefore he wants to go out in wilder fashion than Chip Kelly did across the division.
In all seriousness, if this is about the future, why is Webb not the immediate beneficiary of Manning's unofficial ticket out of New York? Naming him the heir apparent as of Week 13 might've lessened the blow of Eli jerseys heading for discount, or at least convinced some people that McAdoo and his staff made a semblance of progress in bringing Webb up to NFL speed. Instead, in an ironic similarity to Peyton Manning once taking a seat for Brock Osweiler, we're left to witness the Giants discard a franchise icon, muddled as his current impact may have been, for Geno Smith?
Is this about winning now? Or tanking for Manning's real replacement (you know, the one McAdoo assuredly will not be choosing)? The Giants themselves probably couldn't answer these questions.
To be fair, the Giants did, as McAdoo tells it, approach Manning about starting Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders, but they did so admitting that both Smith and Webb would ultimately take over later in the same game. Intentionally or not, however, they forced Manning into a corner by doing so, "railroading" him, as Sporting News put it, into giving up his job. To think about the amount of organizational dysfunction that must exist for the Giants to allow such a touchy situation to unfold as it has, with team owner John Mara nowhere to be found at the time of McAdoo's unceremonious Manning dump, is to acknowledge New York is far worse internally than its on-field record of 2-9 suggests.
Even if you set aside everything about Manning's career, from the time he all but demanded to land in New York upon being drafted by the Chargers to the glory days of his improbable Super Bowl runs, the Giants' ineptitude in carrying out his benching has been glaringly apparent. Much to the dismay of New York fans, it's also unsurprising considering what's happened team-wide since Tom Coughlin, one of many to defend Manning in the wake of McAdoo's turn to Geno Smith, departed. From the boat trip and Odell Beckham Jr. antics to waves of player suspensions and conflicting reports on McAdoo's locker-room leadership, the Manning debacle has almost exemplified Eli's very career -- a roller coaster.
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