After being benched for one game by the now-fired head coach Ben McAdoo, Eli Manning will be the Giants’ starting quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reports.
According to Garafolo, the decision to return to Manning as the starting QB came after Giants coaches and staffers had final game-planning discussions.
With interim coach Steve Spagnuolo being promoted from defensive coordinator for the Giants’ final four games in place of McAdoo, the belief in the aftermath of co-owner and team president John Mara’s news conference Monday was that Manning would be back as the starter this week.
Manning said in a Monday interview with WFAN radio that he went to Spagnuolo late Monday and expressed his desire to return to that capacity after not playing in Oakland.
“I do not know for certain if I’m starting. I hope I am,” Manning told WFAN’s Mike Francesa. “I did speak with Coach Spags for a little bit, told him I wanted to be starting QB, be out there and win these four games. He said he appreciated that and was going to talk with the offensive guys, and I hope I’m out there against the Dallas Cowboys.”
Manning had a streak of 210 consecutive starts end Sunday when the Giants lost 24-17 in Oakland. Geno Smith started in his place.
It was a move that prompted outcry from fans and former and current players. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers called the handling of the situation “pathetic.”
According to ESPN, several former players had reportedly planned to attend Sunday’s game at MetLife Stadium and stand on the sideline in No. 10 Manning jerseys in a show of solidarity.
Manning watched from the sidelines as Smith completed 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards, one touchdown and two fumbles in the loss. McAdoo, who was fired Monday morning, said Smith had done nothing to prevent himself from getting another start.
Manning, 36, had started every game since midway through his rookie season before Sunday. He holds just about every Giants passing record.
In the same interview with WFAN, Manning seemed to remain optimistic about his future.
“I don’t know what the future is, that’s part of football,” Manning told Francesa. “I don’t know, I don’t think a bond has been broken. I’m not bitter about what happened last week, not angry at any of those people or the organization. I understand. I’m not happy about it, I’m mad about it, I was crushed over it, but I understood what decisions have to be made when you’re out of the playoffs and you’ve won two games. You want to look at the other guys, and I’m about to be 37 years old. I don’t like it, but I get it in a sense.
“I look at it like we’ve got four games left and I’d hope to be the starting quarterback and win these games. I don’t know what’s going to happen next year, I know I want to keep playing, I think I have a lot of good football left in me.”