The 2-10 New York Giants have been nothing short of a disappointment during the 2017-18 season thus far. It has been a year plagued by injuries, attitude questions and coaching blunders, which the Giants franchise is not accustomed to.
The issues really began—although their 0-4 record at the time suggests otherwise—in the fourth quarter of week five against the Los Angeles Chargers. With four minutes left in the game and a two-point lead, Eli Manning threw a ball to star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. The throw was high as Beckham came across the middle on a slant route and upon landing, visibly twisted his ankle.
Beckham was carted off the field, and the post-game injury report stated that he had broken his ankle and would be out for the season.
The Giants seemed to respond well as they defeated the Denver Broncos in a statement win the following week. The slide that followed, however, showed that that was not actually the case.
As the season dragged on for the Giants, fans and analysts seemed to point their fingers in every direction. Both sides of the ball were ranking among the last in the league, analysts commented on distinct attitude changes when they lost leads and the coaching staff seemed to be scattered and disorganized.
In the days preceding last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders, however, all the fingers seemed to be pointing in the same direction—toward head coach Ben McAdoo.
Prior to the Sunday Dec. 3 game, McAdoo announced that he decided to bench two-time Super Bowl MVP and probable future Hall of Famer quarterback Eli Manning for backup quarterback Geno Smith.
Until Sunday, Manning ranked second in league history for consecutive starts by a quarterback at 210 games. Manning sat only behind legend quarterback Brett Favre, who started 297 games in a row.
When the news broke about McAdoo’s decision, the outrage was not confined to just Giants fans. Several players and coaches chimed in, including Chargers quarterback and Manning’s draft classmate Philip Rivers.
“I honestly thought it was pathetic,” Rivers told ESPN on Nov. 29. “He’s been out there 210 straight games—with no telling how many bumps and bruises and injuries—for his team. He won two Super Bowl MVPs. And with the respect he’s had in the locker room over the years, and really the respect he’s gained throughout the league, you feel like the guy has earned the opportunity—if they are, in fact, deciding to go another direction— he’s earned the opportunity to finish it off these last five weeks.”
There had been speculations that Manning and the Giants would part ways following this season. Manning said that the coaching staff offered to let him start last weekends game, taking one snap to continue his streak. He told reporters that he declined the offer, holding back tears, saying it “wouldn’t feel right.”
On Monday Dec. 4, following their 10th loss of the season at the hands of the Oakland Raiders, the Giants announced that they had fired McAdoo, along with general manager Jerry Reese. The front office saw these firings as a part of something bigger and made an out-of-character play by moving on from the two men before the end of the season.
“We agreed that wholesale changes to this organization needed to be made to get us back to the team we expect it to be,” Giants co-owner John Mara said. “We also agreed it was pointless to wait any longer to make these changes.”
The story for the Giants now becomes one of rebuilding. It is very difficult to win in today’s National Football League when a coach’s system has to be thrown out the window. This season seems to be lost for the Giants, as the end of their schedule proves to be one of the most difficult in the league. The best thing for the Giants, now, is to set their sights on next season.u