There hasn’t been much for Giants fans to celebrate this season. The team has lingered near the bottom of the league standings—again—showing no signs they are near a breakthrough from being bad to respectable.
The status of head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman is dubious with only two more regular season games remaining for a team that is 3-11 and 8-22 since the duo took over for former head coach Ben McAdoo and erstwhile GM Jerry Reese nearly two years ago.
So Eli Manning’s presence on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, starting at quarterback for the injured rookie Daniel Jones, and leading the Giants to a 36-20 win over the Miami Dolphins, was a prescription the beaten down team desperately needed filled. While nostalgia engenders visceral reactions, longing for past glory isn’t a constant sentiment of the collective Giants fan base.
Wins are what they crave more than anything. For one afternoon, maybe his last playing in front of the home crowd, Manning provided both. He offset three interceptions with 283 yards passing and two touchdowns, helping the Giants break a franchise tying nine-game losing streak with a 36-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
“The way the season is going, the way these last 10 or 11 weeks have gone, the team obviously needed a win just for morale and to keep things going,” Manning said at the post game press conference. “It’s tough to go every week, be close, to compete and practice hard.”
The 38-year-old, two-time Super Bowl MVP was replaced by Jones in Week 3 after the Giants started the season 0-2. It was in his rookie year in 2004 that Manning took over the Giants starting QB spot from Kurt Warner, who would go on to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
After Jones sustained a high right ankle sprain versus the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 1, Manning was called back into duty the following game against the Philadelphia Eagles. As of today the Giants haven’t announced if Jones will return this season. So it’s uncertain if Manning will have another chance to play in front of Giants fans at Metlife on Dec. 29.
He’s in the final year of his Giants contract and the final stages of his 16-year career. The generally unflappable Manning uncharacteristically revealed his emotions when the crowd affectionately and appreciatively rhythmically cheered his name as the game wound down on Sunday.
“Obviously, I don’t know what the future is,” expressed Manning. “I don’t know what lies next week, let alone down the road. Obviously, the support and the fans, their ovation, chanting my name from the first snap to the end, I appreciate that. I appreciate them always and all my teammates coming up to me. It’s a special day, a special win and one I’ll remember.”
And a large number of Giants fans will fondly recall the many triumphant moments Manning