Maybe it’s a game, maybe it’s a situation, but you never see it coming.
I had one of those moments last Tuesday. I’m walking off the 13th green at Silver Lake Golf Course on Staten Island, and I received word that Eli Manning was going to be benched as starting quarterback for the New York Giants in favor of Geno Smith.
As I’m reading the news, I almost dropped my phone in disbelief.
Of course, I was aware the Giants at the time of the benching were a 2-9 football team. Yes, it’s obvious that the 2017 season has been a train wreck of epic proportions, but to see a streak of 200-plus starts come to an end still shakes the core.
Especially when you consider the way the New York Giants went about the news.
In a lost season, you figured there would come a point in time the team would want to take a look at third-round pick Davis Webb.
That’s practical. You invested a draft pick in the young quarterback, the season is over, it would be very easy to justify taking a look at a guy who could potentially be a part of your future.
But Geno Smith? The same Geno Smith who was an epic failure as New York Jets quarterback.
The same Geno Smith who is not under contract for the 2018 season.
Essentially I came to the conclusion, as did many others, that the Giants found a way to embarrass and humiliate the greatest quarterback the franchise has ever had.
The same quarterback who has handled himself in a first-class matter his entire career.
The same quarterback who won two Super Bowl MVP’s over the greatest coach and quarterback of his generation.
The Giants braintrust, from Coach Ben McAdoo to Jerry Reese and, yes, John Mara, honestly believed Eli Manning would sign off on a plan to play the first half of their game Sunday against the Oakland Raiders and willingly come out after halftime, no matter the result.
The Giants deserved every bit of negative press for the way they handled the situation.
Ownership had no choice, they were responsible for the idiotic handling of Eli Manning.
So on Monday, Mara, who has not had a good year by any means, made the only move he could make to try and change the narrative.
He finally held his “brain trust” accountable for a 2-10 season that will go down as one of the worst seasons in the history of the franchise.
Monday’s firing of both McAdoo and Reese was a necessity. When you have a nightmare season combined with inept management on and off the field, there’s no other choice.
Hard to believe that in a 2-10 season, rock bottom for the franchise wasn’t even on the field. It was the treatment of their future Hall-of-Fame quarterback.
Let’s hope interim coach Steve Spagnuolo does the right thing.
Give Giants fans in a lost season a chance to serenade Eli Manning one last time, and give him the Giant sendoff he deserves.
You can listen to me Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Friday and Saturday from 1 to 6 a.m., and Sunday 2 to 6 a.m. on WFAN Sports Radio 660/1019 FM.
JJ’s Week 14 Unlocks
(Season Record: 32-32-1)
• New Orleans -1
• Green Bay -3.5
• Arizona +3
• Kansas City -4
• NY Giants +5