The New York Giants shocked the football world on Tuesday by benching Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith for their game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
The move makes very little sense, unless the 2-9 Giants are now trying to tank.
While Manning hasn’t been great, he certainly hasn’t been bad either. With a bad supporting cast for most of the season due to injuries, Manning has thrown 14 touchdowns, seven interceptions, has completed 62.1% of his passes, and has a 84.1 passer rating. You could do much worse. Like, Geno Smith, a veteran quarterback we already know is bad (career 28 TD, 36 INT, 72.3 QB rating). If the Giants were benching Manning to get a good look at rookie third-rounder Davis Webb, that would at least be understandable. But there is no acceptable football excuse right now to choose Smith over Manning.
Oh, and Manning has won two Super Bowls with the Giants and was even the Super Bowl MVP both times. And his head coach for those championships, Tom Coughlin, was asked if he was surprised by the Manning benching. Coughlin — now the Executive VP for the Jaguars — said that “surprised is not the word,” before saying that he was “very upset” about the decision.
Tom Coughlin on @1010XL asked about Eli Manning: “Surprised is not the word. My sentiments are totally with Eli Manning. … He’s a class act, a two-time Super Bowl champ, one of the finest, most humble men in that locker room. … I was very upset about when I heard that.”
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) November 28, 2017
Many other former Giants also showed their disapproval of head coach Ben McAdoo’s decision:
Kurt Warner on benching Eli Manning: "Shame on the Giants."
— Judy Battista (@judybattista) November 28, 2017
Damn! Bench Eli? Man showed up every week for 14 years.
— Plaxico Burress (@plaxicoburress) November 28, 2017
I'm absolutely speechless. I've watched every game & have sat through this rough @Giants season & this what you do to a man who has lead this team for 210 straight games
— David Diehl (@davediehl66) November 28, 2017
Eli deserves much better than that. Much better. Class person, class player. That’s absurd
— Osi Umenyiora (@OsiUmenyiora) November 28, 2017
I am very emotional about this Eli SHIT.. The guy who gave you EVERYTHING for better or worse NEVER missing a game and THIS how it ends?? Not #10! He deserves better, He gave is all when BETTER wasn't there for him.. and this is how it ends?? I hurt for him
— Carl Banks (@CarlBanksGIII) November 28, 2017
They’ve lost their collective minds. https://t.co/4ZhSRhe4KG
— David Carr (@DCarr8) November 28, 2017
It’s hard to imagine Eli’s current teammates like the move either, and it’s likely to get criticized more when the Giants look even worse over the rest of the season with Geno Smith.