Eli Manning unceremoniously benched by Giants…for Geno Smith?!?!?!

The Giants were not supposed to be this bad. The NFC East was thought to be one of the tightest divisional races in football. However, as the NFL season rolls into the holiday season, the once thought tight race has seen the Eagles lap the competition, and the Giants — a sneaky off-season Super Bowl bet — electing to start Geno Smith in week 13.

The Giants’ season has been a Central Park sized failure. Putting your FINGERS on the main REASONS why is certain to be a time consuming exercise given the fact that nobody has been good, on or off the field. Seasons like the one the Giants are going through are a fact of life in the NFL — they happen every year, and organizations are forced to make tough decisions as a result…

A disaster since Game 1, the decision to bench Eli Manning in favour of Geno Smith (and a promised late season cameo from rookie Davis Webb) is embarrassing, incorrect, and down right shameful on the part of Ben AcAdoo and the Giants organization. Manning, for as mediocre as he’s looked (more on his numbers later, and they aren’t even that bad), is not to blame for the predicament the Giants find themselves in.

Sitting at 2-9; last in the division, rapidly heading to a top-5, possibly top-3 pick in a draft rich with talent at the quarterback position, the writing was perhaps on the wall hinting at an eventual change behind centre (although I’ve long been perplexed by the criticism towards Eli. He’s been a great QB for a LONG TIME). It turns out the writing was actually tweeting, and it all came before any form of public speaking.

A tweet…that’s all the New York Giants felt Eli Manning deserved.

Followed by an explanation from a head coach who, aside from being on borrowed time himself, convinced nobody that this decision was anything other than his attempt at disrupting before departing (YOU FLIP THAT DESK BEN!).

Let’s do a quick breakdown (and brief analysis) of what ‘Hide Yo Kids’ McAdoo had to say following the world finding out about Eli’s benching, via Twitter:

“Alright, each and every week our number one job is to win a football game.”

– A job Eli is far more prepared to handle than Geno. Don’t even TRY to argue the contrary. 

“We’re 2-9 right now. We have five left to play. We’re out of contention and our number one job is to still win football games.”

You (Ben AcAdoo) have five games left to show whoever’s watching why you deserve an NFL coaching job once this one ends in five weeks time

“But it’s my responsibility to make sure we have a complete evaluation of the roster – top to bottom. Especially at the quarterback position moving on to next season and with that, we’re going to start Geno (Smith) this week and give him an opportunity to show what he can do.”

– Are you ****ing listening to yourself Ben?!?!

It’s Geno Smith…How does he give your team a better chance to win than Eli Manning? Are you planning to put him behind a different offensive line? Give him a new cast of no-name receivers? Bring back Brandon Jacobs to inject some life into an anemic running game?

(Eli’s media scrum following the announcement)

 

Eli’s resume should’ve qualified him for a different fate. A fate decided by somebody other than a coach who’s bound to be fired come season’s end. McAdoo sticking around past this season would be nothing short of shocking, but Manning’s future was still undetermined, despite the Giants having paid all the guaranteed money owed to him for his current deal.

Any decision on Manning’s future (or lack thereof) with the Giants was meant to be made this off-season, following the dismissal of McAdoo (a necessary step in the Giants’ plan to move forward) — What sort of coach tries to sell a player of Eli Manning’s character and pedigree on the idea of playing the first-half of a game, for the sole purpose of keeping a streak of consecutive starts alive, only to have Geno Smith take over in the second-half, citing the need for a “complete roster evaluation”?

Eli has been, if there is such a thing, good despite his team’s blasphemous record. His play, amidst the struggles, has actually been one of the brighter spots for the team, even if they appear pedestrian in and of themselves. His 84.1 rating is right on his career average of 83.8 — which is somehow 1.7 points lower than Jay Cutler’s career mark, proving once and for all numbers can in fact lie —Manning has thrown twice as many touchdowns than interceptions (14 to 7) despite losing a handful’s worth of receivers to injury, and not having a capable running game to prevent defences from selling out play after play.

chart
The Giants rushing offence sits at 26th in the NFL at 91.3 yds/game  (chart via NFLsavant.com)

For the season, Manning has had, on average, 2.53 seconds to throw the ball on drop-backs — good for 34th in the league. He hasn’t had time to throw, his line isn’t forming a pocket, instead collapsing around him unable to withstand even the most basic of pass rushes. His receivers can’t get open (could you if you only had 2.53 seconds?), and his running backs are a non-factor most Sundays. Yet, it’s Eli Manning who’s going to take the fall for the collective incompetence of the NFL’s version of a ‘Trump White House’? (followed closely by the division rival Cowboys, who themselves are in the midst of a mid-season tailspin).

passer-rating-vs-league-avg_MAN473170_2017-reg-all_1511371325966
Eli’s 2017 passing chart through week 11, by area. Average in the regular season, but as dangerous as they come in the playoffs — but there will be no playoff magic in 2018 (via NFL Next Gen Stats)

This all but seals Manning’s fate in New York. Perhaps there still exists a remote possibility he remains there beyond this season, once other matters are dealt with, but the odds of that seem slim at best. The 2018 draft is loaded with quarterback talent, as mentioned above, and the upcoming free-agent class is set to feature some big names.

All that said, Eli deserves better. Now, he must sit and idly wait until season’s end to decide his next move — Just go to Jacksonville! 

His numbers have never, and will never blow anybody away. However, calling Eli Manning overrated shows a blatant disregard for a resume that surely will net him a HOF nod one day, joining his father and brother amongst the game’s best. Attaching yourself to the belief that Eli’s successes have been mere ‘flukes’ rather than epic triumphs over some of the game’s all-time greats suggests a level of ignorance the football world doesn’t need (and if your football lens mirrors your worldly one, possibly keep all your thoughts to yourself, k?).

The ‘Book of Eli’ appears closed in New York, and the ending, to put it mildly, sucked.  The Giants, for all their problems, are a positive draft result and off-season front office shuffle away from vaulting back into divisional contention (not likely, but in theory, possible as early as next season).

Yet, the sour taste of this major organizational misstep will be felt for quite some time. But don’t expect Eli to speak about it with any sort of ill-will or disdain. He’s too classy for that. As difficult a time as this is for most Giants fans (and objective football fans out there), take solace in the fact that Eli Manning will land on his feet, and in all likelihood do so in a better position than the one he’s all but left in New York. He’s showcased his magic in the Big Apple for more than a decade, winning two Super Bowls (beating Foxboro’s Dynamic Duo both times) and the thanks he gets is a benching from a pedophile doppelganger.

“I don’t have to make sense of it. This is what it is and like I said, you got to deal with it”

 

In a New York minute, everything can change…

 

***Going back to Brandon Jacobs, did you know he once interfered in a wrestling match? AND NOT JUST ANY WRESTLING MATCH! A match involving Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, and Bubba ‘Bully’ Ray Dudley…three legends. The ending is truly epic, and if only Eli could’ve done the same before walking out of McAdoo’s office)

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