New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning fights back tears after being BENCHED for the first time in 13 years, ending his streak of 210 straight starts
- Former Jets quarterback Geno Smith will start against Oakland on Sunday while rookie third-stringer Davis Webb could also see some playing time?
- The 2-9 Giants have 19 players on injured reserve and have already been eliminated from playoff contention after an impressive 11-5 campaign in 2016
- Manning was given the option of starting before sitting in favor of Smith but decided that would tarnish his streak
- The 36-year-old streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts was the longest active streak of any QB and second all time behind Brett Favre's mark of 297
The Giants are looking for a new quarterback for the first time in 13 years after coach Ben McAdoo announced Tuesday that two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning would be benched on Sunday in favor of backup Geno Smith.
The move ends Manning's streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts—the most among active quarterbacks and the second most in NFL history behind Brett Favre's 297 starts for the Green Bay Packers, New York Jets, and Minnesota Vikings. Manning's older brother Peyton had 208 consecutive starts for the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos.?
The 2-9 Giants have 19 players on injured reserve and have already been eliminated from playoff contention, which is why McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese will spend the remainder of the season evaluating Smith and rookie third-string quarterback Davis Webb.
'It’s hard,' a tearful Manning told reporters. 'It’s been a hard day to handle this, but [I'll] hang in there and figure it out.'?
'Geno will start this week,' said McAdoo. 'Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give Davis an opportunity.'
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Emotional: 'It’s hard,' a tearful Manning told reporters. 'It’s been a hard day to handle this'
Manning, 36, claims he was given the option of starting before stepping aside in favor of Smith and Davis. However, Manning declined saying that continuing the streak was ultimately not too significant.
'Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,' Manning said. 'My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won't finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak.?
'Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed,' Manning said. 'I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.'
Actress Kate Mara, who is Giants owner John Mara's niece, seemed upset by the decision and tweeted alongside broken heart and blue heart emojis: 'ELI.'
She retweeted former Giants receiver Victor Cruz, who wrote: 'The only quarterback that’s ever thrown me the ball. I can’t say I agree with the decision making in this moment but know that you’ll always have a teammate and friend in me brother.'
Alongside a blue heart she also retweeted former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs, who said: 'Eli Manning you’re always gonna be my QB. 2X Super Bowl MVP you can’t make that sh** up bro.'
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) walks off the field after a 2010 loss to the Washington Redskins on Thursday. Manning was benched Tuesday in favor of Geno Smith
Eli Manning raises the Lombardi Trophy after his Giants stunned the football world by upsetting the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI?
Giants general manager Jerry Reese (left) is on the hot seat with the Giants at just 2-9
A former New York Jets quarterback, Geno Smith will start Sunday for the Giants in Oakland
Giants coach Ben McAdoo after the Giants fell to 2-9 with Thursday's loss in Washington?
Manning has started every Giants game since November 21, 2004 when he replaced Kurt Warner in Week 10 of his rookie season.
The former Ole Miss star has guided the Giants to two Super Bowl victories and is the franchise's all-time leader in passing yards (50,625), touchdown passes (334) and interceptions (222).
Despite the 2-9 record, Manning played relatively well for the Giants in 2017. He completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,411 yards, 14 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also posted a respectable quarterback rating of 84.1. Besides a host of injuries along the offensive line, Manning also lost top wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall for the season, which limited his options significantly.?
ELI MANNING FACTS?
- Drafted first overall in 2004
- Named to four Pro Bowls
- A two-time Super Bowl MVP
- Guided the Giants to upset wins over the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI?
- Started every Giants game since November 21, 2004 when he replaced Kurt Warner in Week 10 of his rookie season
- Sits as the Giants' all-time leader in in passing yards (50,625), touchdown passes (334) and interceptions (222)
- Father Archie Manning also played at Ole Miss and was a first-round pick. He would go on to be named to two Pro Bowls over a 14-year career with the New Orleans Saints, Houston Oilers, and Minnesota Vikings
- Older brother Peyton Manning was also a first-round pick who went on guide the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos to Super Bowl victories
- Once hosted 'Saturday Night Live'?
'This is not the way it should be, but unfortunately, it's where we are,' McAdoo said. 'Our number one priority every week is to go win a game, but we owe it to the organization to get an evaluation of everybody on the roster, and that includes at the quarterback position.
'I'll say it again, I have the utmost respect for Eli and everything he has done for this organization throughout his career,' McAdoo continued. 'He is the consummate professional. He doesn't like the position we are in, and neither do any of us. Eli has had to deal with a lot this season.?
'Through it all, he has done everything we have asked of him in getting that unit ready to play,' McAdoo added. 'He has been steady, just like he has always been.'
Manning did not point the finger while speaking with reporters on Tuesday.?
'I have said it many times, I want to play, I want to compete, I want to be out there for my teammates to help them prepare to win,' Manning said. 'I understand that there are tough decisions that have to be made in the best interest of the organization, especially as a season like this winds down. This is one of those tough, uncomfortable decisions.'?
Manning will best be remembered for leading the Giants to victory over an undefeated New England Patriots team in Super Bowl XLII in February of 2008. On his final possession of the game, Manning hit wide receiver Plaxico Burress for a 13-yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds remaining to give New York a 17-14 win.
Four years later, Manning would?complete 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown as the Giants beat the Patriots 21-17 for the franchise's fourth Super Bowl victory.
Unfortunately for Manning and the Giants, he would go on to appear in only one more playoff game - a 38-13 defeat in Green Bay during the 2016 postseason.
The Giants have gone just 51-60 since Super Bowl XLVI victory while making only one playoff appearance over that time.?
After serving as offensive coordinator for the Giants in 2014, Ben McAdoo replaced longtime Giants coach Tom Coughlin in 2016. Both he and Reese are both in a precarious situation with the Giants at 2-9 and could conceivably be replaced by next season. ?
Peyton Manning (left), Archie Manning (center), and Eli Manning (right) in 2008. All three were first-round picks while Peyton and Eli both won a pair of Super Bowls?
Eli Manning (center in a blazer) alongside other members of the Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants including (from the left) left guard Kevin Boothe, right guard Chris Snee, defensive end Dave Tollefson, long snapper Zak DeOssie, co-owner Steve Tisch, and running back Brandon Jacobs. The win was the franchise's fourth Super Bowl victory?
Smith previously played for the New York Jets and will become the first African-American to start at quarterback for the Giants when he gets the nod on Sunday.?
Rookie quarterback Davis Webb should see his first NFL action over the Giants' final five games of the 2017 season?
A former second-round pick and First-team All-Big East selection at West Virginia in 2011, Smith has passed for 28 touchdowns as a professional compared to 36 interceptions.
He famously had his jaw broken during a locker room fight with teammate IK Enemkpali, who was subsequently released. Ryan Fitzpatrick was given the starting job while Smith was injured and he kept the role until the 2016 season.
In March, Smith signed with the Giants.
'Well, you know, I told him I support him. I told him I have a ton of respect for him,' Smith said of Manning. 'This guy has done a tremendous job in this league, done a bunch of things for this organization. None of that can ever be taken away or forgotten and this is a business, man. It’s tough and my number is up, so it’s my time to go out there and do what I’m supposed to do and make sure that I get the job done.'
Webb, the Giants' third-round choice of the 2017 NFL Draft, has been inactive for the first 11 games of the year.
After three seasons at Texas Tech, Webb transferred to California for the 2016 season and ultimately completed 61.6 percent of his passes for 4,295 yards and 37 touchdowns over 12 games.?
Webb approached Manning to discuss the situation after he learned about McAdoo's decision.?
'I told him, I said, "You’re the best teammate I’ve ever had in my life and you’re the best quarterback I’ve ever seen in my life,"' Webb told reporters Tuesday. '"So, being with you every day, it’s been a lot of fun," and it’s not like it’s over. We’ve still got practice tomorrow and we’ve got five more games, a month, left.?
'Yeah, it’s sad today, it’s going to be tough today, but at the same time, Eli is an unbelievable football player, he’s done some great things for the New York Giants and it isn’t on him and it never will be,' Webb continued. 'It’s a team game, it’s the ultimate team game, it takes all 11 guys on offense, 11 guys on defense and special teams to win a game. So, he’s been a great teammate, he’s been a heck of a quarterback and, again, he’s the best to ever play at this position for this team.'
Manning was sacked four times during Thursday's loss to the Redskins
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