Hang Em Up: Father Time Comes Knocking for Eli Manning

No one would deny Eli Manning his rightful passage into New York Giants folklore. A two-time Super Bowl winner with the Big Blue, his additional standing as one of the main components in football’s most famous family alongside brother Peyton and father Archie means that his place in the Hall of Fame is guaranteed too.

But, just as Peyton knew, the time to ride off into the sunset has already arrived for Eli – at least far from such an elite franchise as this is meant to be. In a 24-10 home loss to Detroit, coupled by a season-opening defeat at the Dallas Cowboys the week before, Manning was woeful as the Giants cemented an embarrassing 0-2 start to their campaign and are already in desperate need of somehow salvaging their season with few solutions readily available.

It’s been coming awhile. Ever since that second Super Bowl win in 2012, again at the expense of Tom Brady and his New England Patriots, the Giants have made the playoffs just once and were last season blown out in the wildcard round 38-13 by the Green Bay Packers.

Though a dire offensive line that offers little protection – best characterised by Manning pathetically falling to the ground in anticipation of yet another sack – should also shoulder some of the blame, costly interceptions have been at the forefront of this semi-dynasty’s recent woes with 27 in the 2013 season alone and 215 in his career overall.

Age must play a factor as well. Intent on continuing with a contract that runs until 2019, at 36  Manning does not have time on his side; history showsthat with the exception of Kurt Warner, Tom Brady and indeed brother Peyton, few quarterbacks manage to perform at the top level beyond 37 with Eli not belonging in the elite bracket of the latter mentioned signal callers despite his protests to the contrary.

So what next for the Giants? Let’s not forget that there are still some 14 games left in the 2017 season and that they wouldn’t be the first team to turn a nightmare start on his head. With every passing defeat, however, this becomes less likely.

Should their pitiful run continue, is coach Ben McAdoo, who didn’t hesitate to rip into Manning for his mistakes in last night’s post game conference, willing to drop him and take a chance on Geno Smith or 22-year-old draft pick Davis Webb around whom a team can be built for the future?

If the Giants fail to make the playoffs, McAdoo may probably not be around to see this. Manning consistently underperforming, it would also be a crying shame to see one of the league’s brightest talents in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. go to waste while this mess is resolved.

Until then, all eyes turn to the team’s next home fixture against fellow NFC East combatants and a rival as equally detested as the Cowboys – the Philadelphia Eagles – for whom Manning’s opposite number Carson Wentz continues to be talked up as a star of the future and exactly thekind of successor to their current QB the Giants are in dire need of.