The New York Giants announced Tuesday that the team would bench star quarterback Eli Manning.
Coach Ben McAdoo said backup quarterback Geno Smith would start in place of Manning as the team tries to revive a losing season. Manning has started in 210 consecutive regular-season games, a streak that’s second only to former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre. McAdoo also mentioned giving rookie Davis Webb an opportunity to start as the team evaluates Smith in the next five weeks, according to the team’s website.
Manning, who has started every game since 2004, was gracious about the decision.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said in the team’s blog. “My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them. Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak. Like I always have, I will be ready to play if and when I am needed. I will help Geno and Davis prepare to play as well as they possibly can.”
The 36-year-old was visibly emotional speaking to reporters on Tuesday.
The Giants have only two wins so far in a dismal season that has been marred by 19 player injuries, including to star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall. The unexpected collapse of the team’s season have led to calls for McAdoo’s firing.
The head coach, addressing the decision to bench his two-time Super Bowl MVP, spoke highly of Manning and commended his work to keep the team afloat.
“I’ll say it again, I have the utmost respect for Eli and everything he has done for this organization throughout his career,” McAdoo said in the team’s blog. “He is the consummate professional. He doesn’t like the position we are in, and neither do any of us. Eli has had to deal with a lot this season.”