Damage control is how the Giants’ firing of head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese can best be described. After all, their decision to demote long-time starter Eli Manning ostensibly to assess the potential of Geno Smith and Davis Webb moving forward was made with the blessing of those who controlled the franchise’s purse strings. Once the proverbial poop hit the fan and the backlash from just about all quarters became too extensive even by Gotham standards, however, co-owner John Mara was quick to distance himself from the proceedings.
Not surprisingly, Manning was even-keeled in his assessment of the turn of events. He didn’t blame McAdoo for how things developed, he disclosed, never mind that his league-high streak of beginning 210 straight games at center was broken, and never mind that it didn’t lead to a win, anyway. All the same, he said he has already asked defensive coordinator and interim mentor Steve Spagnuolo to be given the opportunity to start anew against the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium this weekend.
While there’s no official word yet, it’s fair to argue that Manning will once again be handed the reins. Otherwise, the Giants will have scapegoated McAdoo and Reese for nothing. If nothing else, it’s a fitting tribute to the QB that gave the old blue, red, and white two Super Bowl victories, and against the vaunted Patriots to boot. For one thing, they’ll be playing in front of 82,500 diehards who will most certainly be cheering for Number 10. For another, they’re up against the rival Cowboys, setting up a fairy-tale ending.
No doubt, a win starring Manning will go a long way towards the Giants regaining some lost luster. There’s still much to be done, though, and filling the vacancies in key positions under great expectations won’t be a walk in the park. Nonetheless, they’ll be doing right by the future Hall of Famer, and that, for now, is what matters most.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994. He is the Senior Vice-President and General Manager of Basic Energy Corp.