I, Matt Knight, have been a fan of the New York Giants for as long as I've been able to form memories. The handling of their franchise quarterback, Eli Manning, has lead me to do something I thought I'd never do...be furious at the organization.
My first memory of being a Giants fan goes back to when I was 9 years old and Super Bowl 21 against the Denver Broncos. My grandfather was one of the biggest Giants fans I'd ever known, and his passion for the team every Sunday is what got me so excited to watch them with him. It was a tradition that continued almost every Sunday until he passed away in 2004. I saw them win Super Bowls 21 and 25 with him, and he was "with me" when they won Super Bowls 42 and 46. After what the Giants did yesterday with Eli Manning, my grandfather has to be rolling over in his grave.
The quarterback who has been the face of the franchise for 14 years and was named Super Bowl MVP twice has been relegated to ride out this terrible 2017 season on the bench in favor of Geno Smith. Honestly, it could have been ANYBODY put in at quarterback. It wouldn't have mattered. It's how this whole situation was handled. The Giants just cast aside a man who hasn't missed a game in 220 starts, played through terrible seasons without as much as a groan, and experienced the ultimate in highs by winning two championships.
"You can play if you want, but we're going to pull you at halftime to see what Geno Smith and Davis Webb (2017 3rd round draft pick) can do", said head coach Ben McAdoo to Eli Manning. In true leader spirit, Eli said in not so many words, "thanks but no thanks." It's extremely possible that Eli Manning has played his last game as a New York Giant, and that's a travesty for it to end this way.
Maybe upper management wanted to move on from Eli Manning...and I'm fine with that. But THIS is how you send him off? THIS is how his legacy will finish with the Giants? Benched for one of the worst quarterbacks in recent memory and not so much as a "farewell tour" before they move on? There was a universally negative reaction to this move, and that should prove just how wrong the team was to treat Eli Manning like yesterday's trash.
Shame on you, John Mara. Shame on you, Jerry Reese. Shame on you, Ben McAdoo. At least the last two will be gone after this season. (Hopefully.)
It's dark times ahead, my fellow Giants fans. It's going to be a while before we're taken seriously, not only on the field, but off of it too.