Please allow me to introduce myself as a lifelong Giants fan. I saw my first game at Yankee Stadium in November of 1963, five days before President Kennedy’s assassination. And I’ve been rooting for the Giants ever since, in good times and bad.
I rejoiced in the four Super Bowl championships, each of which has a special meaning for me. I witnessed the on-field exploits of so many great Giants, from Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford and Sam Huff to Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Michael Strahan and so many others.
And I survived the bad times, including the “Goodbye Ali” days, the fumble and those long playoff droughts. Good and bad, I’ve been there every Sunday for more than 50 years.
All of which brings me to the benching of Eli Manning. To say this was handled poorly is a gross understatement. The release of Simms a quarter century ago pales in comparison.
Given, the Giants need to look at the other quarterbacks on the roster to plan for the future.
But there’s got to be a better way to inform a franchise icon and the best QB in Giants history that he’s heading to the bench. It makes it sound like Eli is the reason the team is 2-9 – not the porous offensive line, the lack of talent at wide receiver and the lackluster running game. Heck, not even Tom Brady could succeed with this bunch. Eli Manning is the least of your problems.
The optics are terrible. Even though his eyes were watering and his lips quivering, Eli took the news with class. Ben McAdoo, on the other hand, failed to understand the magnitude of this decision, and his demeanor while making the announcement was detached and unemotional.
Let’s place the blame squarely where it belongs. Besides being a terrible communicator, McAdoo can’t coach or put together a game plan. And Jerry Reese can’t evaluate talent, based on most of his recent draft picks, or build a winning team.
As an organization, the Giants blew this one big time. And the fan base, media and football world seem to be in near universal agreement that this could have been handled differently.
I’m sure the message will ring loud and clear during the final three games with boos, plenty of empty seats and lots of Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins fans in the stands.
Mr. Mara, it’s time to clean house. Ben & Jerry must go. There’s no other way.
Loyal Giants fan, SportsLifer blogger and Iona Prep Class of ‘69 grad
Five days before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I saw my first NFL game. On a cool Sunday afternoon in 1963, the Giants rolled over the visiting 49ers 48-14 at Yankee Stadium.
Frank Gifford caught a pair of touchdown passes that day, a 10-yarder from Y.A. Tittle and later a 30-yarder from New York’s back-up quarterback Glynn Griffing. Later that year, Gifford scored the Giants’ only touchdown in a 14-10 loss to the Bears in the NFL championship game at Wrigley Field.
A year later, Gifford retired. He lived the life of “the ultimate Giant.” And of course Gifford would go on to make a huge imprint on pro football, broadcasting Monday Night Football games on ABC for nearly 30 years.
Gifford, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 84, still ranks first all-time in Giants touchdowns with 78, second in receiving yards and eighth in rushing yardage.
“Frank Gifford was the ultimate Giant,” said Giants co-owner John Mara. “He was the face of our franchise for so many years. More importantly, he was a treasured member of our family. My father loved him like a son and was proud to act as his presenter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, a favor Frank returned years later by presenting my father in Canton. For my siblings and me, Frank was like a revered older brother whom we looked up to and admired. We loved him and will miss him terribly.”
For a kid growing up in Westchester County, a kid who went to Iona Prep, the same high school as John Mara, Frank Gifford was the epitome of cool. Giants cool. Lawrence Taylor was the greatest Giant, but for half of century Gifford was the face of the franchise. To be called a “legend: by Joe Namath is quite a tribute.
I’ll always cherish that Frank Gifford autograph and the words of encouragement I received at a Communion breakfast in White Plains when I was 12 years old. #16, gone but not forgotten.