I didn’t touch on Eli’s benching for Daniel Jones last week because there was just so much shit last week and I didn’t want to make everything about the Giants since I’m biased enough already. I wanted to wait till Eli presumably retires or moves on at season’s end to say my piece on that. But this week was kind of quiet comparatively speaking, and Jones went out and had himself a game against the Bucs, so fine. Let’s talk our lord and Savior Danny Dimes, greatest quarterback to ever live.

Benching Eli for Jones was the right move. As much as I will always love Eli, it was the right move. Not waiting until the Giants were knocked out of the playoffs (which is what I expected the Giants to do), but starting him now. It was very clear within the first two games that nothing had changed. Eli is done. He’s broken. He’s not the guy he used to be, and his skills are actively hurting the offense. We could blame the lack of WRs or the problematic defense all we wanted, and many Giants fans did. The reality is Eli is bad, and he was holding us back. Watching him waste away under center, losing more and more respect, becoming more and more of a punchline, not accomplishing anything…it would just be a waste of time. The Giants are in full rebuild. The defense was gutted to make cap space and room for youth. This team is going nowhere and will win nothing of value. Why not put Jones in, and give him time to learn and get comfortable with the team and make dumb rookie mistakes while there are no real expectations on his shoulders? That way, when we go into next season with some more high draft picks and a ton of cap room to spend on free agents, things will be more in sync? Makes sense to me. I love Eli to death but his time was over.

I actually believe that the biggest mistake this franchise has made in the past 5 years was McAdoo benching Eli. I think almost everything that has happened to the Giants since that moment has been a result of that mistake. Benching Eli was probably the right move at the time, but McAdoo handled it very poorly, benched him for Geno Smith (who was not the future of the franchise) instead of the rookie Davis Webb, and insulted Eli in the process by suggesting that he start every game then sit at halftime to keep “the streak” going. Eli rightfully refused that on the grounds it would cheapen the record, which is correct. Would anyone respect the record if he did that?

The blowback to the decision was immediate and fierce and Mara, who supposedly gave the green-light on the move and may have even been the origin of the plan, learned the wrong lesson from the mistake. I still don’t know why Mara waited till the week was over and Geno Smith started the game to actually fire McAdoo and Reese. It was like he was waiting, hoping against hope that McAdoo was right and Geno was the answer. When that proved not to be the case, he threw the HC and GM under the bus even though he was probably a reason it happened in the first place. The blowback started on Tuesday the week before. Why didn’t he just step in and reverse the decision then? Was he afraid of looking like the control-freak meddling owner so he figured waiting till it failed and ruined Eli’s streak anyway to make his move? It hurt his reputation anyway.

Since that week, the Giants and Mara severely oversteered to protect Eli’s place on the team instead of realizing that moving on was the right move, just…not the way they did it the first time. Instead of immediately going into the rebuild (which I think Gettleman and Shurmur might have preferred), they drafted the stud RB Barkley, paid OBJ, and proclaimed they were in “win now” mode. It obviously failed. Looking back, I think Gettleman and Shurmur knew it early on. After a few bad losses in 2018, Gettleman sold Snacks to the Lions and started shifting players around for the future. This offseason he went whole-hog. He got picks and youth for OBJ (still a very questionable choice that I am unhappy about), let flawed but talented defenders go (Collins) or traded them (Vernon). He also grabbed the QB of the future, who…uh…is basically just another Eli.

I honestly wonder if Shurmur and Gettleman both knew it was time to move on from Eli but was told to work around him because after the benching Eli was deemed “too sacred”. Jones is a better fit for Shurmur. The offensive system works better with a QB who can move, which Jones can.

Eli, professional as always, unlike some QBs (cough cough Roethlisberger) handled the decision with class. He cheered Jones on and seems more or less okay with what was happening. I’m sure it hurts. We probably haven’t seen the last of him quite yet. There is certainly more than ample chance he shows up and possibly even starts another game this year, and while his time with the Giants is probably over, he might pull a Peyton and try to get a gig somewhere else. I hope he doesn’t. He deserves to retire our hero. I’ll save my thoughts on Eli’s career and legacy for when that happens.

In the meantime, watching Jones was the first time in several seasons it felt fun to watch the Giants offense play football. I doubt they will be good and Jones isn’t going to lead 18 point comebacks every week, but at least it’s something worth seeing again.

Wait, I forgot Barkley died.

Nevermind fuck me