Eli Manning’s messy downfall a symbol of turbulent times for Giants and NFL

The quarterback has never reached the heights of his older brother Peyton but he was a familiar and reassuring presence in New York

This wasnt how it was supposed to end for Eli Manning. Unceremoniously benched on a Tuesday afternoon in late November after 14 years with the Giants. Theres no good or ceremonious way to be benched, of course. Elis older brother Peytons career concluded in storybook fashion as a Super Bowl champion and that kind of ending was not on the cards for Eli with a Giants team that at 2-9 is nowhere near being a contender any time soon.

But Elis Giants career definitely wasnt supposed to end like this, cast aside by a failed head coach who will almost certainly be fired at seasons end, and replaced by a quarterback who washed out three years ago with the Jets, the Giants dopey little brother. The Eli to their Peyton, if you want to be especially cruel.

This is not how anyone saw it ending, though, even those who saw it ending more than two months ago.A trade to Tom Coughlin and the Jaguars so Eli could make one more Super Bowl run would have been better than this. Even a minor injury that pushed him out of the lineup would have been better. But this kicked aside for Geno Smith, absolutely no ones idea of the future for the Giants was not in the script and the surprise and disappointment was evident when Manning addressed the media on Tuesday afternoon.

Pat Leonard (@PLeonardNYDN)

Eli Manning fight back tears. Almost crying, tough to see #Giants pic.twitter.com/cHRTZYEXK4

November 28, 2017

It is over, though. After 14 years, two Super Bowl championships and 210 consecutive starts, Eli Manning will watch from the sideline on Sunday while Smith and Webb Davis take on the Raiders to kick off the final five games and the last chapter of Ben McAdoos pathetic tenure as head coach. The Jets had Rich Kotite two decades ago and now the Giants have their own in McAdoo, a man flailing wildly down the stretch towards a 2-14 season, making a move that has been almost universally panned.

This is so much bigger than Eli Manning, said Kurt Warner, the man who Eli replaced in New York, on NFL Network. This is about an entire organization that has gone sideways.

Surprised is no the word. My sentiments are totally with Eli Manning, Coughlin told WJXL-AM in Jacksonville, Florida. I love the kid. Hes a class act. I know its a disappointing year, but my thoughts are strictly with Eli. Im very upset when I heard that.

Even actor Kate Mara, neice of team owner John Mara, shared her thoughts:

Kate Mara (@katemara)

ELI

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