You want Eli Manning replaced? Seriously?

Somehow, there was symbolism in all the wind swirling Sunday at Met Life Stadium.

Like the winds of all the blowhards, blatherers and bloviators suggesting the football Giants draft a quarterback with what figures to be a lofty pick, thus creating a finite set of days left here for "aging" Eli Manning.

Plenty of wind on the field, plenty of windbags off it, particularly the ones perpetuating the narrative that Manning is ready for the rocking chair, a future casualty of this dismal season.

And then Eli Manning navigated the winds the way he usually does: with durability and dependability, leading the Giants on his 35th career game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime. Manning marched Big Blue 77 yards for the winning field goal, including a perfect pass under duress to some guy named Roger Lewis.

This is the guy they want replaced.

The one who threw for 205 yards and made no mistakes — all that wind notwithstanding — while his counterpart, Alex Smith, threw two picks and never found the end zone.

Here's hoping the Giants aren't as stupid as some of the people who cover them and root for them.

Because remember this one and write it down: You are going to miss No. 10 when he's gone.

The idea that any — one shred — of the Giants' 2-8 record lies with Manning is fiction. And it's positively hilarious that Jerry Reese, the general manager for now, spent Saturday night in Los Angeles watching potential quarterback draftees Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Sam Darnold (USC).

It certainly invites the following question:

Draft a kid quarterback and put him behind the five turnstiles you've assembled on your offensive line, Mr. Reese?


See, this is where is begins and ends with the 2017 Giants: Reese had one job in the offseason: Fix the offensive line. For the following reasons:

It's been lousy for a few years now. The Giants can't run the ball consistently and rarely give Manning sufficient time to throw.

Manning, 36, only has so many bullets left.

Manning had a number of deep threats to begin the year — Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard — but would need more time to allow deep routes to develop. And to stand him behind five guys who couldn't block the Golden Girls would be counterintuitive and counterproductive.

Know what Reese did?


This is on him.

All of it.

Manning has been under duress for several years now, yet has never thrown one single turnstile in front of him under the bus. He has not said a word about his receiving corps that because of injury has come from witness protection: Tavarres King, Roger Lewis and Travis Rudolph.

And still, Manning managed a mostly flawless game Sunday, during which, by the way, he moved past brother Peyton with his 209th consecutive regular-season start, the second most for a quarterback in NFL history behind Brett Favre's 297.

So once again we ask all the purveyors of the anti-Eli narrative: Have you noticed how many truly rotten quarterbacks there are in the NFL right now? Do you get that the Giants are lucky to have a two-time Super Bowl MVP who has started 209 straight games and led 35 game winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, despite now playing behind the worst offensive line in football and throwing to practice squad receivers?

There are two quarterbacks in today's NFL I'd take over Manning: Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. But for the sake of argument, let's add the following quarterbacks to the "better than Eli" list:

Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Matthew Stafford, Carson Wentz and Kirk Cousins. Do I think for a minute Eli's pedigree isn't better than a few of them? Of course not. But even if you submit all those names, Manning is still a top 10-12 quarterback, thus leaving the Giants in better shape than about 20 other teams.

And the Giants should trade him ... why?

That's called falling through the idiot tree and hitting every leaf.

Gary Myers of the Daily News wrote a piece on Manning after Sunday's game that featured the following:

"It was a special moment for Manning when Ben McAdoo called him up to the middle of the locker room to address his teammates after he led the winning overtime drive to beat Kansas City. When McAdoo mentioned Manning's name, the rest of the players went wild.

"Let's go, hey. Enjoy it babe," Manning said. "We got to keep it going, man. We've been working hard. We deserved this win. We deserve to feel this good. We have another one on Thursday. Let's feel good on Thanksgiving, all right?'"

The Giants play at Washington on Thanksgiving night.

Only the 210th straight start for the greatest quarterback in the history of the franchise.

The guy who has beaten The Hoodie twice in the big game.

The guy who navigated all the winds of Sunday as he always does.

With an understated grace that will be missed long after he's in the Ring of Honor at Met Life Stadium.

Get rid of Eli?

Not so fast, my friends.

This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro


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