History will tell whether Eli Manning was the greatest quarterback in New York Giants history. Two Super Bowl championships do look nice on a resume.
Still, history will also tell us something else about Manning. Since the Giants won Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 against the Patriots, he has been something less than stellar.
In fact, since the day they raised that trophy no starting quarterback in the NFL has lost more games (66), thrown more interceptions (112) or been responsible for more turnovers (137) than he has.
And so on Tuesday, the Giants announced that Manning will no longer be their starting quarterback. Beginning on Sunday at Tampa Bay, rookie Daniel Jones will have the job.
“Eli and I spoke this morning,” coach Pat Shurmur said in a release by the team. “I told him that we are making a change and going with Daniel as the starter. I also talked to Daniel.
“Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games. Daniel understands the challenge at hand, and he will be ready to play on Sunday.”
Manning ends his run having completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 56,537 yards with 362 touchdowns and 241 interceptions. He is seventh all-time in NFL history in passing yards, eighth in touchdown passes and sixth in completions and attempts. If he does not start another game for the Giants his career record will be 116-116.
His last game was not memorable: During Sunday’s home loss to Buffalo, Manning came out of the gate completing only one of seven passes. He completed with 250 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Ironically, Manning loses the job in almost exactly the same way he won it after being drafted in 2004. At that time, Kurt Warner was the starter. But after eight games, the Giants gave Manning the key and he has since started a franchise-record 232 games.
Manning’s production has steadily diminished over the years and he almost lost the job in 2017 when he put himself on the bench instead of agreeing to play just the first half of a game in Oakland. Then-Giants coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese wanted Geno Smith to play the remainder of the game. That plan blew up with the firing of McAdoo and Manning remained the starter from thereon.
Before this season began, Giants owner John Mara, who is extremely fond of Manning, told the New York media his hope was Jones would not take a snap this season. Of course, that would have meant the Giants were having a great season. That is not the case.
When the Giants selected Jones No. 6 overall in the 2019 draft, it was taken for granted he would become the starter at some point this season. With the Giants 0-2, the decision just came sooner than expected. Manning has completed 63 percent this season for 556 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble. His quarterback rating is an abysmal 37.5 this season.
“Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” Shurmur said. “I have said it since I got here, I am very fond of Eli. His work ethic, his preparation, his football intelligence. All those attributes are as good as I have ever seen in a player. And Eli worked as hard as you could ask of anybody to get ready for this season. This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli.”
On Monday, Shurmur alluded to the possibility he would promote Jones this week. Manning was naturally asked about it.
“Hey, we’re 0-2 and looking for answers,” said Manning. “I get it when you draft a guy early and [are] not winning games, things are going to come up. So I just need to keep working and do whatever my job is.”
Manning has completed 63 percent of his passes this season for 556 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a lost fumble. He’s 22nd out of 32 quarterbacks with a total QBR of 37.5 this season.
According to ESPN, Manning ranks 29th among 31 QBs with at least 500 passes in quarterback rating since the start of the 2017 season. He sits at 47.6.
“We’re always trying to do what we can to win this next game. And then we’re always behind the scenes having those long-term discussions,” Shurmur said. “I think that is the challenge each week is doing what you can to win each game. That’s really my focus as the coach and certainly that is what the players’ focus is.”