Updated: Nov 5, 2018
Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback and that will never change, but the 37-year-old has lead the New York Giants to a 4-21 record since losing to the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 playoffs. It is time for Big Blue nation to realize all good things must come to an end.
For the first time since 1978, the Giants are1-7 for the second consecutive season. The Giants offense was once viewed as the strength for this team with Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley. However, New York has scored 30 points once in a game since week 17 of 2015. Yes, the blame can be put on the gruesome offensive line. Manning has an average of 2.5 seconds to throw the ball. On Sunday, Oct. 28 against the Redskins, Manning was sacked seven times and hit 10 times.
The most amount of times Manning has been sacked in a single season was 39 in 2013. In last years 3-13 debacle, he was sacked 31 times. Through eight games in 2018, Eli has been sacked 31 times. Manning is on pace to get sacked over 60 times in the 2018 season, nearly doubling his career high. He is fragile at 37-years-old and with this offensive line, the Hall of Fame career of Eli Manning is going to end with him being taken off the field on a cart.
Manning may still have football left in him, but it has to be on a winning team. Manning has a career high in completion percentage (68.3%), but 81.1 percent of his passes are 10 yards or less. With the offensive line provided to Eli, he isn't able to move out the pocket enough at 37-years-old. Manning was never a mobile quarterback. Do not expect anything to be different 15 years into his NFL career.
Manning looking down field to Beckham, Sterling Shpeard and Evan Engrem have not happened enough this season for the Giants to win. This season Eli is on pace for 16 touchdowns which would be the lowest total of his career in a full season. At the second overall pick in the draft last year the Giants passed up on four potential franchise quarterbacks. They instead selected Saquon Barkley to extend Manning's Hall of Fame career. Now Barkley will have to extend or jump-start the career of another franchise QB.
Eli Manning has an all time record of 112-110-0, but it looks as if Manning's record will hit under .500 for the first time in his career. Manning never recorded a losing season until 2013, when New York finished 7-9. Eli followed up 2013 with consecutive 6-10 records in 2014 and 2015, before an 11-5 season in 2016. Since 2016 the Giants are 4-21. The fact that Eli still has the chance to go out with an all time winning record is remarkable. If the Giants want Manning to retire a winning QB they might want to consider making a change.
With that being said, all eyes point to Kyle Lauletta to succeed Manning in 2018. Lauletta was a 2018 fourth round draft pick out of Richmond. Two days after the Giants week eight loss to the Redskins, Lauletta was arrested for making an illegal turn and almost hitting a police officer, whom he later refused to cooperate with. That Tuesday was the first time this season Lauletta was going to take reps with the first team offense. It is never a convenient time to get arrested, but Lauletta picked a especially bad time to to make an illegal left turn.
Arrest aside, Lauletta was a small school player who put up big time numbers. During his career at Richmond he threw for a school-record 10,465 yards and 73 touchdowns. Lauletta was invited to play in the 2018 Senior Bowl where he was named the games MVP, throwing for 198 yards and three touchdowns. Lauletta still might not be the answer to Manning's successor, but giving him playing time in a lost season will give the Giants a clear answer, unlike 2017 third round draft pick Davis Webb who failed to see the field and was released after one season with the Giants.
Change is hard, and being a good manager is making changes when needed. Owner John Mara and General Manager Dave Gettleman must pull the plug on the greatest quarterback the Giants have ever had.
Good teams know when it is time so say goodbye to their once legend and create the career of a new one. Brett Farve was sent to the Jets, and finished his career with the Vikings after the Packers decided to jump-start Aaron Rodgers career in 2009. Joe Montana was traded to Kansas City and was replaced by Steve Young. All moves worked out as Aaron Rodgers won a championship in 2010, and Steve Young won one in 1995.
There were QB's who refused believe their time has come and they finished their career with another team. Steve Young’s emergence forced the San Francisco 49ers to trade four-time-super-bowl-champion-quarterback Joe Montana to Kansas City to finish his career. Montana would throw 29 touchdowns in his two years with the Chiefs. Colts great Johnny Unitas played just five games for the Chargers before being benched. Joe Namath won the Jets their only championship in 1968, but was a Ram by 1977. He started four games, throwing for 606 yards, three touchdowns, and five interceptions.
Franchise players can spend an entire career with one team. Five-time-champion Kobe Bryant was a Los Angeles Laker for 20 seasons. He would get his farewell in 2015-2016. New York Yankees legends Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter would both spend their full careers in pinstripes, and both would receive farewell tours in 2013 and 2014. In 2001 Cal Ripken Jr. would play his 21st and final season with the Baltimore Orioles. The one thing all these players have in common with their farewell tours is that their team would fail to reach the postseason in their farewell season and years after.
If a 3-13 season followed by a 1-7 start is not enough for the Giants to convince themselves that a 37-year-old isn't the answer moving forward, then this team is going to end up like the Cleveland Browns. Eli Manning does not want to stop playing, but the Giants must make the move to bench him so he can go out an all-time winning QB before his career ends on a stretcher.
The two Super Bowl wins will always be there for Manning and the Giants. But "what have you done for me lately?" is a question the Giants must ask. Their answer is 4-21 since January 2017. It is time for the Giants to close the book on the legendary career of Eli Manning and start the legacy of a new Big Blue QB.