Moeller: Giants Still Can Save Their PR Debacle

The Giants had an opportunity to handle the El Manning situation in an appropriate manner, but they blew it.

It was a lack of foresight and communication from an organization that historically always has dotted its Is and crossed its Ts.

Owner John Mara revealed after Wednesday’s practice that he had discussions with general manager Jerry Reese two weeks about the possibility of playing the other quarterbacks, and Reese agreed. Reese then spoke to head coach Ben McAdoo and the beleaguered head coach said he would take the necessary steps.

Manning stated that it  “if you’re going to play Geno in the second half, you may as well just start him. It’s not fair to him. It’s not fair to me and I think that would be the best decision going forward.”

Mara went on to say that Manning “wanted us to put out a statement announcing that. So, that’s what we did.”


Manning revealed the Giants’ triumvirate wanted him to start the game and then give way to Smith to keep his 210-game streak alive. He disagreed.

“I just didn’t think that you start knowing that you’re going to come out of a game to keep a streak alive, maybe,” Manning said. “That’s not what it’s about. It’s not a preseason game, where you’re going to play the start to the half, what’s the next week? A quarter, a series, that’s not fair. That’s not fair to me, that’s not fair to Geno, that’s not how you play. You play to win. You’re named the starting quarterback, you think it’s your job to go win the football game. When you know you’re just going to play a little bit, I didn’t feel like that was the right way to play. … When you’re just going out there to play knowing you’re not going to finish the game, I just didn’t see that being the right thing.”

Manning is right. Maybe the plan works for a three-year veteran or even older. Not for a venerable quarterback like Manning.

Here’s a thought on the process.

Either trade or release Manning and then make an announcement that the team is headed toward a rebuilding mode and they plan to look at Smith and more heavily at Davis Webb, the latter being the next franchise quarterback.

Give Manning a hero’s sendoff, praising him for his contributions and wishing him well in his next assignment. Look at what Dallas did for Tony Romo, who didn’t win anything in the postseason.

This easily could have squelched the uproar form the fans and season ticket holders. Be forthright and tell the public that the team is changing direction and Manning isn’t part of the next phase.

Mara hinted that he might have done things differently if he was in town Monday at the time of the benching.

Instead McAdoo took another step toward his inevitable demise when he stated Smith can give the Giants a better chance to win this Sunday. The same Smith who was disregarded by the Jets.

Instead of seeing Webb Sunday if Smith falters, Manning will be the No. 2 quarterback. Suppose Smith has a miserable game, does Manning get his job back?

Can you see how this can get messy?

Should Oakland or any of their opponents over the final five games put up a 50-point spot against them, McAdoo likely will be fired the next day. Mara stated that he is embarrassed about his team’s 2-9 record.

Mara earlier stressed the company line about reviewing the coach’s and general manager’s performance at the end of the season. But when asked about  McAdoo’s security the remainder of the season, Mara replied, “there are no guarantees in life.”

It is McAdoo, not Manning, who is responsible for this mess. There is still time to get some respectability back.

About the Author

Jeff Moeller

Jeff Moeller has been covering the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and college football and basketball as well as high school sports on a national and local scene for the past 39 years. He has been a Jets and Giants beat reporter for the past 13 years.

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