- The New York Giants have benched Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
- The move ends Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive regular-season starts for the Giants, the second longest streak of its kind in NFL history.
- Smith has started just one game since losing the starting job with the Jets in the 2014 season.
Eli Manning is being benched for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders in favor of Geno Smith.
The benching will end Manning’s streak of 210 consecutive starts, the second longest in NFL history, and give the franchise the chance to see what they have in Smith as the 2-9 Giants look towards next season.
“Geno will start this week,” McAdoo said, according to Michael Eisen of NFL.com. “Over the last five games, we will take a look at Geno, and we will also give Davis [Webb] an opportunity.”
Manning was given the opportunity to start the game to keep the streak alive, but declined.
“Coach McAdoo told me I could continue to start while Geno and Davis are given an opportunity to play,” Manning said. “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.”
“I understand that there are tough decisions that have to be made in the best interest of the organization, especially as a season like this winds down,” Manning added. “This is one of those tough, uncomfortable decisions.”
With Smith at the helm, it will be the first game since 2004 that the Giants started without Manning under center. General manager Jerry Reese expressed his respect for Manning, but stood by the decision, saying “I told Eli this morning that an organization could not ask for any more in a franchise quarterback. He has been that and more. Nobody knows what the future holds, but right now, this is what we think is best for the franchise.”
Smith was signed as a free agent this offseason after four seasons with the New York Jets, where he had a 12-18 record as a starter before losing the role to Ryan Fitzpatrick ahead of the 2015 season. He was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft after four years at West Virginia, where he started for three seasons, throwing for 11,662 yards and 98 touchdowns.
While the move has been in the works for some time as the Giants struggled this season, it was still a difficult moment for Eli when the news became official.
You can watch a clip of Manning reacting to the news and taking questions from reporters below.
— Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN) November 28, 2017