Giants to do an about-face on Eli’s starting gig ?

John Mara, owner of the New York Giants, speaks to reporters in East Rutherford, N.J., Monday, Dec. 4, 2017. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)


Sports Op-Ed

(WTNH) — What a bizarre week for Giants nation.

Following the firing of the now former Head Coach and General Manager of the New York Giants, Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese, the team’s image is still not in the clear in the eyes of the public.

Last week was not a dream, nor a nightmare for that matter. It actually happened. It was a living, breathing public relations disaster. McAdoo announced that Eli Manning would be benched against the Oakland Raiders to let Geno Smith get a chance and see what they have in him as a potential starter moving forward. The same was said about Davis Webb, eventually, at some point in the season.

Keep in mind, all of this was decided upon knowing that the team would be away from New York come kick off time last Sunday.

Then, after unanimous agreement that the move was not a favorable one, team co-owner John Mara took responsibility for that decision. Marking the fact that he was naive to think that Eli would be okay with the decision to start but not finish the remaining games in favor of giving Smith and Webb looks.

So which was it? Did Mara make the decision or did McAdoo? Because the move was made, fan base became angry, another loss in the record, and the head coach and general manager were fired.

Here’s what I think happened.

This was McAdoo’s decision from the start, while Mara and Reese signed off on it, and the decision became worse when the former head coach decided to give Smith the opportunity to start over the rookie Webb. The organization saw first hand how terrible of a choice this was and witnessed nothing positive of an outcome on any level.

Now reports are out that Eli will once again start, though no team officials have made that claim yet as of Monday night.

So now Mara is on board with Eli again?

Not so fast. The decision to give Eli another start here is nothing more than dumping a water tank over a full fledged fire. Mara, shrewdly, knew that letting McAdoo remain as the head coach entering Sunday, their first home game since the Oakland trip, would be met by hostile fans. And what better way to calm the angry mob down than by announcing Eli is back, if that indeed happens. Tuesday’s media availability should update Eli’s status for this weekend.

But pulling back the curtain a little, Mara’s approval last week of benching Eli cannot be sitting well with Eli himself. No one should be surprised if Eli asks to be traded at any point.

Furthermore, no one should be shocked if the team announces once again that Eli will sit in favor of, maybe a now ready, Webb to start.

So in a span of a week, team ownership agreed that a half-start or a benching of Eli would put themselves in best position to win their remaining games, but now wants the public to believe that Eli starting once again is their best option to win this season. Again, will have to wait for that official announcement.

If that’s what the Giants go with, I’m not buying it.

Mara saved face by getting rid of McAdoo and Reese. It would have been a fire storm had they not fired anyone by game time on Sunday. That would not have been a pretty scene at MetLife Stadium. Now, Mara is trying to do more damage control by letting Eli start, presumably, as fans weren’t sold on the new Geno Smith era.

Regardless of how Eli was treated, McAdoo and Reese had this coming to them. Since their last Super Bowl win in 2012, the Giants have never handled their business in the organization very well. Whether it be through the draft, having to spend large amount on salary to overcome deficiencies, or conduct of players. There’s a reason why Mara didn’t wait until the end of the season to make his final decision on them.

Now comes maybe the hardest chapter in this story for the team. What are they to do with Eli?

Do they play out the remainder of Eli’s contract through the end of the 2019 season at age 38? Or do they look to trade him to improve in other areas of the team?

Either way, I think all Giants fans will be happy if they no longer see Geno Smith using Giants post game podiums to settle old scores with Rex Ryan over Jets issues. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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