Two days ago, it was reported that the New York Giants had decided to bench star quarterback Eli Manning in favor of evaluating both Geno Smith and Davis Webb. While this came as a complete shock to Giants fans, it really shouldn’t come as a big surprise. The Giants pride themselves on being one of the “classy” organizations that conduct themselves at the highest level of integrity. This was reiterated when John Mara was questioned on a mid-season change at the general manager and head coach positions.
“Our plan is to do what we have always done, which is to not offer a running commentary on the season”.
This seems like the perfect response to not cause a distraction in the locker room and become a comedic nightmare. However, Mara has done a poor job in recent years on keeping this “classy” tradition continuing, which makes the benching of Manning not as surprising as initially thought.
The Demise of the “Classy” New York Giants Behind John Mara
Tom Coughlin Shown the Door
Tom Coughlin was the first to feel the wrath of the incompetence of John Mara. Back in the beginning of 2016, Coughlin “stepped down” as head coach of the Giants. In reality, it is abundantly clear he was forced to step down instead of being fired. At the time, placing the blame only on Coughlin was unfair when general manager Jerry Reese could not construct a winning team to save his job. However, when this first took place, it seemed like maybe Mara was making the correct decision by moving forward with Ben McAdoo.
Although Coughlin was the not the reason the Giants were underperforming, sometimes change is needed. However, hindsight is 20/20 and it is very clear that coach Coughlin was far from the issue at hand. In that same off-season, Reese went on a spending spree in attempt to retain his own job. The Giants then had one of the best defenses and made it to the playoffs. This showed that there was a serious lack of talent during the last few years of Coughlin’s tenure.
However, this season marked a complete 180 with the Giants now one of the worst teams in the league. McAdoo has made everyone a scapegoat for his poor coaching decisions. Coughlin never threw his team under the bus; he stood besides them through thick and thin. McAdoo had a great first season, which masked his true persona, but the minute the going got tough, he threw everyone under the bus.
At the time in which Mara showed Coughlin the door, many people agreed it should have been handled better. He was made the scapegoat for Reese’s shortcomings. Now, it is clear that Mara botched this situation and should not have shown the door to a two time Super Bowl winning coach who had to make do with the roster he has handed.
The Curious Case of Ben McAdoo
As stated prior, McAdoo enjoyed a very successful rookie season as head coach. However, his second year has been nothing short of a nightmare. He has lost control of the entire team and has criticized some of the veterans. Included in that list are cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins, and now Manning.
Mara has not put an end to this debacle, but is letting McAdoo continue since he doesn’t want to “offer a running commentary on the season.” McAdoo instead is making a mockery of the Giants and is currently running them into the ground while Mara just allows it to happen.
The Final Straw: Benching Eli Manning
Mara should know better than to allow for something like this to happen. Manning has been the face of the New York Giants for the past 15 years. At the end of the season, if moving on from Manning is in the best interest of the Giants, it is understandable. But to bench the two-time Super Bowl MVP mid-season for Smith? The season is a lost cause to begin with. If Smith offered the Giants the best chance to win, this move would make sense. Everyone in New York has watched Smith play for the New York Jets in 2014. He was one of the worst quarterbacks in football that year.
Smith, however, does not give the Giants the best chance at winning any football games. McAdoo has thrown Manning under the bus a countless amount of times the past two seasons. He is clearly not fond of Manning. For Mara to sign off on this abomination is incredibly shocking.
Manning has been nothing but classy throughout his entire time in New York. He has only said positive things during bad times or taken the blame fully. There has never been a moment when he has uttered anything negative about anyone, even the day he was benched. He handled himself in a way nobody else could on Tuesday. Yet, Mara didn’t even speak to Manning personally until the day after.
Lifelong Giants fans know this would’ve never happened under Wellington Mara’s watch, and they are getting worried that this organization has lost its way. It has lost its way, and should no longer be considered as the epitome of “classy” any longer. Mara has made far too many mistakes in his tenure, and it is now time for a big shakeup to take place.
Eli Manning, thank you for your time in New York. Nobody will forget what you have done for us and nobody will forget what Ben McAdoo, Jerry Reese, and John Mara all did to you this past Tuesday.