Last time the NY Giants had a legendary quarterback retire, Phil Simms, the team pegged Dave Brown as the heir apparent. Luckily, Big Blue can turn to Daniel Jones while trying to replace Eli Manning this time around. We can only hope he works out better than the last Duke replacement the team lined up to take over for a legend.
Eli Manning is gone, and thanks to Daniel Jones‘ electric season, his name has been mostly absent this offseason, something that’s incredibly rare for a franchise icon. Local sports radio shows have been filled with talk about whether Manning belongs in the hall of fame, but even that has now died down.
After the first two weeks of the Daniel Jones era, Eli all but disappeared until Jones was injured and Eli got his proper farewell, content to ride out the end of his career in obscurity.
But before we totally erase Eli, this situation happened once before, the similarities are eerily similar, and the outcome for the New York Football Giants was not pretty.
Phil Simms was a first-round draft choice of the Giants in 1979. He led the team to their first-ever Super Bowl victory over the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXI, setting the record for highest completion percentage, 22 of 28 (78%), and a passer rating of 150.9. It was a flawless performance and highlighted a 15-year career with the Giants that also included another Super Bowl appearance in 1990.
Much like Manning, he was a fan favorite, a tough quarterback that thrived under pressure and saved his best performances when it mattered most. He only made two Pro Bowls in his career, which is akin to Eli only making four during his 16-year career.
Simms got injured at the end of that season and never returned to the type of quarterback he really was before and it was clear he was no longer the long-term answer despite one last hurrah in 1994. Sport Illustrated voted Simms as the most underrated quarterback in NFL history in 2001 and his #11 jersey is in the Giant Hall of Fame.
The Giants drafted Dave Brown out of Duke in the supplemental draft of 1992 which cost the team a #1 pick. He was supposedly the next great New York Giants quarterback, but after a 9-7 record in 1994, the team won only 11 games in his next two years.
Brown lasted six years with the Giants and compiled a 23-30 record as a starter. In 1997, his last season with the club, the Giants were the worst offense in the league. Fans finally appreciated what they had in Phil Simms, even though it was a long, hard road to get there.
Eli Manning made the first of 210 straight starts for the New York Giants on November 21, 2004. In 2007 and in 2011 he led the underdog Giants to victories over the New England Patriots, collecting the MVP trophy in both games. Like Simms, Manning rose the occasion and matched his defenses intensity to take down monster opponents.
Late in the fourth quarter in Super Bowl XLII on 3rd and 5, Manning avoided several sack attempts and connected with David Tyree who caught the ball off his helmet. Minutes later Manning threw the game-winning touchdown pass with seconds to go. Like Simms, Eli’s #10 jersey will hang in MetLife stadium forever.
In 2019 the Giants drafted Daniel Jones out of Duke in the first round, making this the second time the organization has tried to replace a Super Bowl-winning, first-round QB with another first-round QB out of Duke university — a school not exactly known for its football prowess.
He replaced Eli Manning as the starting QB in Week 3 and won his first two games., revitalizing the fan base in a major way. In Week 3 he completed 23 out of 36 passes for 336 years with a passer rating of 112.7 earning him NFC offensive player of the week in a dramatic comeback against Tampa Bay.
The rest of the season saw Jones and the Giants slump to a 1-9 record, although even the biggest ‘Danny Dimes’ hater couldn’t put that on him after he tossed 24 touchdowns in 12 games, almost seeming like a clone of Eli Manning in many ways.
Will Daniel Jones be the Giants’ version of “Groundhog Day”? We have seen this movie before.
Will Eli Manning only be remembered for his greatness after we watch another overhyped QB out of Duke blow up? Amongst New York Giants fans, that’s unlikely, but possibly the rest of league would start to appreciate just how good Eli really was.
The 2020 season will give us some answers, but for now let’s remember Eli for what he accomplished and hope Daniel Jones is not a repeat of Dave Brown, tempering expectations.