The Mysterious Benching of Eli

Eli Manning has been the New York Giants starting quarterback since 2004, but was recently benched due to poor performances. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia).

Kyle Brady
Editor-in-Chief

Kurt Warner. Jake Delhomme. Donovan McNabb. Russell Wilson. Matt Ryan. All of these esteemed quarterbacks have one thing in common. They were all defeated by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Actually, only one quarterback has beaten Brady in the Super Bowl, and he did it twice. That man is New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning.

Just to clear the air before reading this article, I am a New York Jets fan who has grown up feuding with pesky New York Giants fans. Despite my rivalry with their organization, I have nothing but the utmost respect for everything that Eli Manning has accomplished.

The only issue I have with Manning is how he handled being drafted by the San Diego Chargers.

He refused to play for the organization and demanded he be traded. Manning felt that he would succeed with the Giants and the Chargers made the famous trade of Eli Manning for Phillip Rivers.

Both men thrived in their organizations, but Eli is the one who has been able to win the Super Bowl. I’m glad it worked out for both quarterbacks but Manning went “full-diva” on the Chargers.

Since that trade, Manning had started every game until he was unfairly benched in Week 13 matchup against the Oakland Raiders.

The Giants, who were expected to make the playoffs with a loaded roster and tal-ent on both sides of the ball. To say that this team, with a 2-10 record, has underper-formed is a monumental un-derstatement.

Even though injuries have ravaged their roster, the Giants organization was under fire, especially coach Ben McAdoo. After reaching the playoffs last season, Ben McAdoo received praise for following in the large foot-steps of Tom Coughlin.

But with an abysmal record, rumors swirled that Coach McAdoo would be fired at the end of the season.

Perhaps it was the stress of the job, or maybe a last-ditch effort, but Coach McAdoo decided to bench Eli Manning in favor or career underachiever, Geno Smith.

This was a strange move for many reasons.

The first one being that it ended Eli Manning’s streak of starting 210 consecutive games, which is second all-time in NFL history.

The second reason being that the Giants admitted to not losing on purpose for a better draft pick, but they decided to bench their Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterback.

The third reason was that the organization wanted to see what post-Eli life would be like yet they chose to start Geno Smith instead of their fresh draft pick, Davis Webb.

Once hearing about his benching, reporters flocked to Manning’s locker where and emotional Eli talked nothing but positives about the organization.

While he was clearly upset, Manning did not take any cheap shots at the team whom he won two Super Bowls with.

This benching created an uproar among the NFL and social media communities. Even fans of team who hate the Giants disagreed with the way they handled their star quarterback, and frankly I agree.

Benching Eli Manning was not only a bone-headed move for the organization but also Coach McAdoo.

The rumors of his firing intensified and the national spotlight was shined on the Giants franchise.

On Monday, December 4, the Giants announced that Coach Ben McAdoo AND General Manager Jerry Reese were fired.

If I were a Giants fan, this chain of events would greatly concern me. But I am not. Instead, this end result is the best thing that could have happened, in my opinion.

It is not that I enjoy seeing a rival franchise crumble, it is that I respect Eli Manning and the firing of the coach and GM show that sometimes karma acts swiftly and justly.

It has also been announced that Manning will be the starting quarterback for their next game.

This was the cherry on top of a fascinating two-week implosion to one of the most respected franchises since the turn of the century.

If I were Manning, I would be deeply angered that my consecutive starts streak was snapped due to horrible coaching and not an injury. Manning has not been his elite self but he still can thrive in the right situation.

Whether that is the Giants remains to be seen but it is clear that the NFL community still thinks that Manning has some magic left in the tank.

It will be interesting to see how Manning responds in his first start since the benching.

If his ability to perform in the clutch is any indication, fans can expect a huge game against a hated division-rival, the Dallas Cowboys