Mickey Mantle cried after a Bill Mazeroski home run ended the 1960 World Series. Fifty seven years later The “Three Stooges” had Eli Manning fighting back tears. It could just as readily have been the return of Moe, Larry and Curly. On Tuesday Nov. 28 and Wed.Nov.29 there was a new trio of Stooges and they were key representatives of the football Giants………….. John Mara, Jerry Reese and Ben McAdoo.
The bungling strategy, insensitivity and outright disrespect for Eli Manning by the Three Stooges was palpable. After piloting the Giants offense since November 14, 2004 for 210 consecutive games, the second longest streak in NFL history for a QB, Eli will take a seat on the bench this Sunday. The most decorated QB in Giant history, MVP of two Super Bowls, with 50,625 passing yards and 334 TD passes, will not be taking the snaps from center due to being on concussion protocol. He does not have a separated shoulder or a torn ACL. The classy leader of the Giants was teary eyed when informed by Coach McAdoo that it was time to evaluate the Giants QB position. McAdoo, had the support of Owner John Mara and General Manager Jerry Reese in the decision and was merely the messenger. Usually, you don’t shoot the messenger. In this case, ready, aim, fire! In fact, put the blind fold on all Three Stooges!!!
I learned of the decision to replace Eli with backup QB, Geno Smith, while driving to a meeting and listening to Mike Francesa on WFAN Radio Tuesday afternoon. Francesa was flabbergasted and Giant fans were quick to express their displeasure. Caller after caller supported Eli. Ex- Giant greats such as Carl Banks and former Super Bowl teammates, Sean O’Hara and Justin Tuck, took to twitter or made media statements admonishing the franchise. The sentiment was Eli yes, and for Coach McAdoo to be burned at the steak. Soon thereafter we learned that Owner, John Mara and GM Jerry Reese were also culprits in the decision, having had the initial discussion regarding an Eli phase out for the remainder of the 2017 season. Was it such a necessary action for a 2-9 team to give an opportunity to Geno Smith, a solid addition as a #2 QB but never thought to be in the Giants starting QB future? How imperative was the evaluation of Davis Webb, the Giant third round pick this season? Could the changes at QB have been simply dictated by game events without what was tantamount to outright stupidity?
John Mara professed surprise at the reaction of Eli Manning. Really? Eli, rather than accept the Sunday start knowing that he would be replaced at halftime and that his participation would be minimal in the ensuing weeks, except for being allowed to keep his consecutive streak alive, took the high road, acknowledging that extension of the streak would be tarnished and that the evaluation of the position would suffer. The leader of the Three Stooges not only failed to recognize the potential for an adverse reaction by his franchise QB, but also had his head up his butt relative to recognizing what became a highly volatile outcry of Giant fans.
Mara’s ownership decisions in recent years have been as bad as the performance of GM Jerry Reese (what, me worry about the offensive line?) and the field leadership of McAdoo. The latter two will be gone at years end. Yet, the owner with failing grades on the handling of kicker, Josh Brown, (I never knew about that domestic violence stuff) and the failure to admonish Odell Beckham when his actions clearly warranted same, will be hearing the wrath of Giant fans well into 2018.
As for Eli Manning, maybe Tom Coughlin will come calling for his former QB to lead the Jacksonville Jaguars, or John Elway will see the merits in a second Manning to lead the Denver Broncos. The Three Stooges have set the stage for the departure of the face of the franchise. Giant fans will always be with #10. The Hall of Fame awaits!