As a Giants fan I’ll do the honourable thing; the following article may at stages be drenched with a particular biased attitude towards Eli Manning and his career with the New York Football Giants. And for that I apologise to absolutely no one.
Let me begin….
I’ve always been a strong believer that Eli has never been the problem. But as time endeavoured to catch up with him, whilst the Giants burned and buried themselves under the tenure of Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo, it has now become apparent only two games into the current NFL season, he can now no longer be the answer. The fixes, the solutions brought in by new management; all in vain, a platform constructed for the next man up. Daniel Jones.
By the time a front office led by the return of GM Dave Gettleman had provided him with a run game and an O-line that could finally keep him upright, Eli’s time had passed. His arm has now grown weak and father time has come to say hello.
And despite the laughter and the public’s collective exhale of disapproval following the drafting of Jones, the future of the franchise has now begun down a different, and most importantly, a new road.
As a Giants fan, Eli is a sewn-stitched name on the back of framed jerseys. He is Super Bowls, he is an underdog and a name forever carved in the story of the NFL. A man who stopped the hurricane that is the New England dynasty. Twice.
And because of that it’s easy to argue that perhaps Eli’s past successes led to an everlasting episode of sentimentality from the Giants. A process which saw the New York faithful unable to let go of past glories in the hope that they would return from the mist and darkness of recent times. I know…. I was one of them.
But now IS the time to move on.
The Giants are in, what is collectively known as, the rebuild stage. They’re a team built upon youth and fresh faces and a team dependent on the potential of what a projected forthcoming eighty million cap space can do for a team and its progression.
The move by Head Coach Pat Shurmur to call upon Daniel Jones is the right one. It’s a decision that in the past has cost personnel their coaching positions but this time it could well save them.
Jones will be a breath of fresh air to a team perspiring a stale stench caused by endless defeats that reek of poor performances and inadequate recruitment. He will also give the Giants new options. His mobility will be a threat and the fact that he is largely an unknown quantity (despite his pre-season efforts), will for the time-being keep opposing defences guessing while they tend to the threat of Saquon Barkley and the damage he can single-handedly cause.
Jones may not have always looked the most exciting or the most promising of quarterbacks coming out of this year’s draft. If ever. But he is pro-ready. Trained and mentored by a man held in high-regard by the Manning family. David Cutcliffe.
Jones can read defences, has an elite processor, and can throw an accurate ball. Just ask his former receiver colleagues at Duke who only wished they had the chance to replay the many dropped catches they had from the arm of Jones.
No one is expecting fireworks. This year instead will undoubtedly be seen as an experiment on a grand scale. Have the Giants immediately found the future to match their past?
Eli can leave the building with his head looking at the MetLife ring of honour dead in the eye knowing that he belongs there with the rest. A two-time Super Bowl winner and MVP, with his name etched on many a NFL records list.
And while debates surround his potential to be inducted in the Hall of Fame will saturate tailgate conversations and media reports, the Giants will try to find their way towards a new horizon.
And in the midst of all the talk Eli will continue to be the ultimate professional. The perfect teammate. The way he always has been. And in an NFL world where the aforementioned characteristics are becoming increasingly scarce, we say thank you Eli. Thank you for the memories, the victories, and the sweet sweet taste of Super Bowl success.
Eli Manning has left the building.