The New York Giants fell to the Dallas Cowboys, 36-35, in heartbreaking fashion in Week 17, and that pill could be made harder to swallow if it proves to be quarterback Eli Manning’s final game with the team.
The 37-year-old Manning is entering the final year of his contract and carries a substantial cap hit that’s too rich for the blood of even his most staunch supporters. And with that reality facing him, Manning broke with his normal pregame routine on Sunday, posing for photos before the game with his wife and three daughters.
It was an image that resembled a man preparing to say goodbye, but following the loss, Manning dismissed it as little more than a conspiracy theory.
“Have you ever heard the phrase, ‘a happy wife a happy life?’ Yeah, so I think that fits that category,” Manning quipped.
Manning added that he hasn’t given much thought to his future with the team, but acknowledged it was a fun season despite the losses because the Giants are clearly trending in the right direction.
“No. Trying not to think about that or put any pressure over that,” Manning said. “ didn’t start off great, but we started getting better. We saw the progress.
“This is all I know. I love coming to practice, love game-planning and competing and winning games and celebrating touchdowns. All that’s fun. The losses hurt. The losses are tough to deal with and tougher to deal with than in the past because you know the opportunities are there.”
Unlike Manning, head coach Pat Shurmur has given some thought to Eli’s future in the NFL and with the Giants, and was adamant he wants the veteran back in 2019.
“Absolutely,” Shurmur said when asked if Manning has good football left. “I do . I know everyone thinks I’m nuts, but I’ve seen the good in Eli. And I believe in the good, especially at the quarterback position. And I believe everyone around him has to do their job as well.
“I believe in Eli. I believe in him.”
The good Eli Manning very much still exists if anyone cares to see it, but the bizarre hatred for the one-time Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner seems to prevail no matter what Manning does on the field. However, decisions are made by those in the know, not those pretending it’s Madden from the armchair. . . and that’s a good thing for the Giants.