In terms of franchise quarterbacks, New York Giants greats Phil Simms and Eli Manning are polar opposites.
Both guys are two-time Super Bowl champions, even though Simms was injured when the New York Giants beat the Buffalo Bills 20-19 in Super Bowl XXV, he was a big part of getting Big Blue to the title game. While Simms was a fiery leader, Eli Manning has always been calm and reserved, some would say unflappable.
Yet others aren’t so complimentary of his style and demeanor.
As we head into the unknown realm of Manning’s career, he remains true to his personality. In speaking to the assembled media, the veteran signal-caller eschewed waxing poetic. He avoided going down memory lane, even if the scribes wanted desperately to lead him in the direction.
Continually, he wasn’t taking the bait, as deftly deflected questions about his future. When Manning was asked how he viewed this game against the Dallas Cowboys, he gave it the typical Manning shrug.
Per the team’s official website:
“I view it as the last game of this season, and that’s it.”
Keep moving, nothing to see here, except his words this time around seemed to have a finality to them. Hey, no one wants to telegraph his own demise, but after all, Manning hears the whispers, and unless he’s cut himself off from the rest of the world, the chatter reaches him.
The irony of these questions is that Sam Darnold isn’t looking over Manning’s shoulder. Instead, we can’t say that Alex Tanney or Kyle Lauletta are nipping at his heels either because they aren’t.
Those guys wake up in the morning and are happy to go to sleep still collecting an NFL check. On the other hand, Manning has been through the wringer too many times to mention, yet this time seems different.
It’s Manning or bust in 2019, unless bust comes in the form of a trade for a veteran QB.
Even if the New York Giants grab Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins, Manning will be there as his tutor. If Big Blue gets someone later in the draft like Ryan Finley, Daniel Jones or Drew Lock, it’s even more important for Manning to be around.
We’d have to put the odds at 90/10 in favor of Manning returning, but he doesn’t see it that way. The was no boast, and very little hint of confidence as he answered a question about being next season’s starting quarterback.
“I don’t know. I have not gotten into that, or thought much about that. Just worried about doing my job and finishing this season.”
Surely, he’s thought about his future and pretty much nothing else lately. But the fact that he won’t put himself on the line to say he wants to be here, and that he wants the Giants to understand he wants to be here was missing from the entire discussion.
Manning has been taken to task by his critics for being dispassionate, and perhaps to a certain extent he is. And having an even less passionate Manning behind center in 2019 would seem to be a recipe for disaster. Stay tuned.