When Eli Manning was benched on Tuesday, and ended a string of 210 regular season starts, it seemed the writing was on the wall for the future hall-of-famer.
But New York Giants co-owner John Mara said that there’s no talk about parting ways with the 36-year-old. Speaking to Newsday Sports, Mara said, “I don’t think you should be writing his obituary yet. A lot of things can change. We obviously have some tough decisions to make before the start of next year.”
In fact, Mara regretted how the whole thing played out. After starting Sunday’s match against the Oakland Raiders, Manning was benched to make way for Geno Smith. In hindsight, it did seem like an insult to ask the veteran quarterback to start— probably to keep his streak going— and then have him sit out while Smith finished the game.
Mara told reporters that he regretted giving Ben McAdoo the go signal to present their strategy to Manning. “I was probably naïve, I did not expect Eli to react by saying, ‘Go ahead and start the other guys,’ ’’ he said, adding that Manning’s response took him by surprise.
If he could do it all over again, the Giants owner said that he probably would do things a little differently.
The two apparently hashed out their differences on Wednesday. Mara expressed his understanding of Manning’s desire to win, and admitted that mixing up QB duties in the middle of the game was not a good idea.
But that didn’t stop the public from speculating that Manning is on the way out, particularly with the Giants struggling at just 2-9 this season. As things stand, the team will probably end up with a third pick in the next draft and they are likely to choose the next best quarterback.
Nevertheless, Mara admitted that there are always Manning’s fans to consider – who are rightly very protective of their hero. Though he said that some reactions were excessive, it was “understandable.”