The New York Giants decision to bench Eli Manning this week has had fans, former players and media alike coming to the defense of the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, who has started 210 consecutive games for the franchise.
On Thursday Tom Brady — the quarterback who was on the opposite sideline of Manning’s two Super Bowl wins — expressed sympathy for Manning, calling his situation “pretty unfortunate.”
“I have nothing but the most respect for him and everything he’s achieved and accomplished in his career,” Brady said during an interview on Westwood One Radio. “Obviously, being on the other side of two of those Super Bowl losses to an Eli Manning-led team, I just have so much respect for his dependability, for his consistency, for his toughness. You know that’s really everything you want in an NFL player, and I think Eli has always provided that for the team.”
The Giants announced Manning’s demotion on Tuesday. Coach Ben McAdoo said the “emotional” decision was made to do “what’s best for the organization moving forward.” The decision for the Giants to give Geno Smith and rookie third-string quarterback Davis Webb playing time came after Giants co-owner John Mara discussed the idea with general manager Jerry Reese.
While Brady see Manning’s benching as “unfortunate,” he understands it’s just the nature of the business.
“I think there’s always these types of situations,” Brady told host Jim Grey. “And, you know, I think as a fan growing up, I mean to see Joe Montana playing in another uniform, and again, to see Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott — guys that I really looked up to and admired — there’s not many happy endings in sports and that’s just the way it is.”
Brady has mentioned several times in his career that he realizes he might not be with the Patriots forever, which is why he wasn’t surprised to see the Giants move on from Manning.
“You always wish for everything to go like a fairy tale, but it doesn’t,” Brady said. “Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards. I mean, who would have ever believed that? And that’s just pro sports.”