Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning is back as the New York Giants’ starting quarterback.
A week after being benched by former coach Ben McAdoo, Manning was officially put back into the starting lineup for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, interim coach Steve Spagnuolo announced on Wednesday.
“Eli Manning will be the quarterback for the football team in this game,” Spagnuolo said.
The move was not announced by Spagnuolo until after practice Wednesday, but the first hint came when the 36-year-old Manning took the first snap when the offense went to work.
Manning had started 210 consecutive games over the past 13-plus season until being replaced by Geno Smith against Oakland last week. The streak was the second longest in NFL history, only surpassed by Brett Favre (297).
Smith started Sunday’s 24-17 loss to the Raiders and did nothing to forfeit the opportunity to start this week, McAdoo said after the game. He completed 21 of 34 passes for 212 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 fumbles and seemed to improve as the game progressed.
But when McAdoo was fired, it became apparent that the Giants would turn back to Manning with Spagnuolo as the coach and Mike Sullivan as the offensive coordinator. Sullivan used to be Manning’s quarterbacks coach and admitted last week that the situation was “frustrating.” Spagnuolo had called it “tough.”
Spagnuolo said Smith was not happy but that he was professional about the quarterback change when they discussed it.
The benching of Manning last week upset the quarterback and angered Giants fans. Combined with the team’s 2-10 and other problems, it led co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch to fire McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese on Monday.
Shortly after Spagnuolo was named interim coach, Manning went to him and asked for his job back for the final four games of the regular season.
“I do not know for certain if I’m starting. I hope I am,” Manning told WFAN. “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 has completed 63 percent of his passes this season for 2,411 yards. He has 14 touchdown passes and 7 interceptions in 11 games.