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
And so it all comes down to this. The New York Giants have decided to bench their franchise quarterback, Eli Manning, for Geno Smith.
Yes, that’s right, coach Ben McAdoo, in a desperate attempt to save his job, is benching Eli, a two-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer who has started 210 straight games, second most in NFL history. This despite the fact that general manager Jerry Reese has given Eli virtually nothing to work with – unless you consider a porous O-line, virtually no running game, and a receiver corps besieged by injury as offensive weapons.
There’s something to be said for continuity in showing up to work every Sunday. Since Manning started his first game in 2004, the Cleveland Browns have had 24 starting quarterbacks.
Eli Manning has always been a class act, the ultimate teammate, who refuses to throw players and coaches under the bus, no matter how dire the circumstances.
Manning even handled the demotion with class. Although clearly shaken, his lips quivering and his eyes wet, Eli said: “I don’t like it, but it’s part of football. You handle it and I’ll do my job.”
Benching a franchise icon
So now the best quarterback in the long and storied history of the New York Football Giants, an iconic player, a guy who holds nearly every Giants passing record, has been benched by a guy who can’t coach and a GM who can’t draft talent.
In their misguided wisdom, the Giants brain trust has decided that Geno Smith gives them the best chance to win Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Geno Smith – are you kidding me? “We’re confident that we can put a plan together to put Geno in a position to be successful and go win a game,” said McAdoo.
Good luck with that decision. Geno Smith is not the future, he’s a stop-gap measure who couldn’t make it with the Jets. Heck, at this point in the lost season it makes much more sense to go with Davis Webb, the 22-year-old rookie and third round draft pick.
The Giants have mishandled QB transitions before. They released Phil Simms after the 1993 season despite the team reaching the playoffs and winning a wild card game.
Former Giants outraged
Many former Giants have expressed outrage against the Eli benching via Twitter, including Simms, Carl Banks, Justin Tuck Plaxico Burress and David Diehl, just to name a few.
“I don’t think Eli ever envisioned, until now, playing for somebody else,” said Eli’s father and former NFL QB Archie. “That’s the love he has for the Giants. It is kind of unique and stronger than most. It’s not just the game he loves to play. He loves to play for the Giants.”
Although Eli may very well have played his last game as a Giant, there are several teams out there who would value the services of a soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback with a penchant for winning the big game. Jacksonville, with former Giants coach Tom Coughlin now the GM, would be a good fit. How about Denver, where Eli could ride to the rescue and win a Super Bowl much like brother Peyton did several years ago. Buffalo, Miami and Arizona are all possibilities.
Payback is a bitch or so they say, and McAdoo and Reese will get theirs soon enough. Front office and coaching incompetence has earned the Giants a top five draft pick in the 2018 draft, and perhaps hope with a quarterback of the future.
Too bad Ben & Jerry won’t be around for the rebuild.
Mike Francesa of WFAN blasts the Giants decision.
Alex Webster bulls his way into the end zone as the Giants trounce the Bears 47-7 in the 1956 NFL Championship game at Yankee Stadium.
There are wins and there are routs. Blowouts. Total domination. The New York Giants have experienced their fair share of gridiron glory in the 87 years since Tim Mara brought pro football to New York in 1925 — including four Super Bowls and eight NFL championships overall
Here are the biggest of the big, the 10 most dominant wins in Giants history.
1. Giants 47, Bears 7, 1956 — The Giants cap off their first season in Yankee Stadium by crushing the Bears in the NFL Championship game. Alex Webster runs for a pair of touchdowns and Charlie Conerly throws TD passes to Frank Gifford and Kyle Rote as New York races to a 34-7 halftime lead and wins easily.
2. Giants 41, Vikings 0, 2001 — Quarterback Kerry Collins tosses a club playoff record five TD passes to lead the Giants past Minnesota in what remains the largest shutout margin ever recorded in an NFC Championship game.
3. Giants 49, 49ers 3, 1987 — Phil Simms, right, throws four TD passes, Joe Morris runs for two, and Lawrence Taylor takes a Joe Montana pass to the house as the Giants rout San Francisco in the divisional round en route to the first Super Bowl in team history.
4. Giants 48, Browns 7, 1959 — Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote and Alex Webster all score touchdowns as the G-Men build a 48-0 lead and roll to the Eastern Conference championship.
5. Giants 53, Redskins 0. 1961 – Y.A. Tittle connects with Del Shofner for three TDs, linemen Dick Modzelewski and Jim Katcavage record safeties, and the Giants outgain the Redskins 383-82.
6. Giants 36, Redskins 0, 2005 — In their first game since the death of beloved owner Wellington Mara, Brandon Jacobs, Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey all score touchdowns and Jay Feely kicks five field goals in a shutout at the Meadowlands.
7. Giants 62, Eagles 10, 1972 — Norm Snead throws three TD passes and Randy Johnson two and Ron Johnson runs for a pair of scores as the Giants post the most points in team history.
8. Giants 56, Eagles 0, 1933 — Led by Hall of Famers coach Steve Owen, left, and fullback Ken Strong, along with passing leader Harry Newman, the Giants rout Philadelphia at the Polo Grounds in the first meeting ever between the two teams.
9. Giants 33, Browns 6, 1963 — The Giants roll into Cleveland and rout the previously unbeaten Browns behind four Don Chandler field goals. Adding insult to injury, the Giants block the extra point after a late Cleveland touchdown.
10. Giants 49, Packers 3, 1948 — Charlie Conerly throws for three TDs and runs for a fourth score as the Giants overcome an early 3-0 Packer lead with seven straight touchdowns in Green Bay.
Giants Leonard Marshall levels 49ers Joe Montana in New York’s epic 15-13 upset in 1990 NFC Championship game that dashed San Francisco’s hopes for a Super Bowl three-peat.
The New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers is one of the all-time great NFL rivalries, starting with their first-ever meeting in 1952 at the Polo Grounds.
That day Charlie Conerly threw a touchdown pass and Ray Poole’s three field goals made the difference in a 23-14 Giants win. Y.A. Tittle, who would later take the Giants to three straight NFL Championship games, pitched two touchdowns for the Niners.
Here’s 10 things you need to know about Giants-49ers:
1. Even Steven: The two teams have split 28 regular season games. In those games, the 49ers outscored the Giants by just seven points, 560 to 553.
2. Playoffs…playoffs: Same in the playoffs. San Francisco holds a 4-3 edge in playoff matchups, scoring 161 points to the Giants 156.
3. Familiar foes: No two NFL teams have met in the playoffs more often than these two, with Sunday’s title game at Candlestick Park marking their league record-tying eighth postseason showdown. Only the Bears-Giants and Cowboys-Rams have as many playoff matchups.
4. 10-Year Super run: The two teams met five times in the playoffs between 1981 and 1990. In four of those five games, the winner went on to win the Super Bowl.
5. Hey Joe: Joseph Clifford Montana Jr. led the Niners to divisional round wins over the Giants in 1981 and 1984, and San Francisco went on to win its first two Super Bowls.
6. Home cooking: The Giants won their first-ever playoff game in Giants Stadium in 1985, beating the 49ers 17-3 on touchdown passes by Phil Simms to tight ends Mark Bavaro and Don Hasselback. Hasselbeck went on to father NFL quarterbacks Tim and Matt.
7. 49 vs. 49ers: In 1986, Simms threw four touchdown passes and Lawrence Taylor took an errant Montana pass to the house as the Giants romped 49-3 en route to their first Super Bowl.
8. Bahr for three: The two teams met in the NFC Championship game for the only previous time in 1990. Matt Bahr, right, kicked five field goals, the last in the final seconds, to send the Giants to more Super Bowl glory with a 15-13 victory. Bahr’s field goal was set up by a costly fumble by Roger Craig.
9. Running Watters: Ricky Watters set a playoff record with five touchdowns (all rushing) and 30 points in 1993 when the 49ers beat the Giants 44-3, the last game for both Simms and Taylor.
10. Huge comeback: In their last playoff meeting in 2002, the 49ers overcame a 24-point deficit to win 39-38 the second greatest comeback in NFL playoff history. 19-year veteran Trey Jenkin, playing in his only game for the Giants, botched a snap as they Giants attempted a potential game-winning field goal in the waning seconds.
Maybe, Just Maybe…
New York Giants quarterback Phil Simms was the MVP of Super Bowl XXI.
The Giants, the class of the NFC, have already proven they can get there — and win. They did it last year, they lead the conference this year.
And if the Jets can knock off the unbeaten Titans on Sunday, then they’ll have to be considered one of the top-line favorites in the AFC. No matter what happens, the Jets are in good position to win the AFC East.
Only five times since Super Bowl I in 1967 have New York’s NFL entries, the Giants and Jets. made the playoffs in the same season. That’s five times in 42 seasons.
The only year both New York entries made a serious run in the same season was 1986, The G-Men went 14-2 that year, and trounced the 49ers (49-3), Redskins (17-0) and Broncos (39-20) to win their first Super Bowl.
At one point that season the Jets were 10-1; then they lost five straight games. They beat the Chiefs, 35-15, in the first round of the playoffs, then blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter and lost to the Browns, 23-20, on Mark Moseley’s field goal, pictured right, in a marathon double overtime game, one of the longest in NFL history.
1981: On the final weekend of the season, the Giants beat the Cowboys, 13-10, in overtime on a field goal by Joe Danelo, then cheered for the Jets the next day. And the Jets came through, romping over the Packers, 28-3, to put both New York teams into the playoffs together for the first time. The following Sunday, December 27, the Bills beat the Jets, 31-27, at Shea Stadium before the Giants upset the Eagles, 27-21, in Philadelphia. The 49ers beat the Giants, 38-24, the following week and went on to win their first Super Bowl.
1985: The Giants finished 10-6, then beat the defending champion 49ers, 17-3, at the Meadowlands. Big Blue was shut out, 21-0, by the Bears the next Sunday in Chicago. The Jets were 11-5, but dropped a 26-14 decision to the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs. The Bears beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl that year.
2002: G-Men won their last four, including a 10-7 overtime win over the Eagles, courtesy of a Matt Bryant field goal, in their last game, to wind up 10-6. They then blow a 38-14 lead to the 49ers and lost, 39-38 in the NFC wild card round. The Jets went 9-7 and blanked the Colts, 41-0, before losing to the Raiders, 30-10.
2006: Big Blue goes 8-8 to earn a playoff spot, but loses to the Eagles, 23-20. Jets finish 10-6, but lose to the eventual champion Patriots, 37-16..