Eli Manning, the two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback who has led the Giants since 2004, will be benched in favor of the rookie Daniel Jones, the team announced Tuesday.
“Eli and I spoke this morning,” Coach Pat Shurmur said in a statement. “I told him that we are making a change and going with Daniel as the starter. I also talked to Daniel. Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games.”
“This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli,” he said.
The Giants are 0-2 to start the season. Manning completed 56 of 89 passes for 556 yards in those games for an adjusted yards gained per pass attempt figure of 5.7, which would be among the lowest in his career. Since his second Super Bowl win, after the 2011 season, the team has made the playoffs only once, losing in the first round in 2016.
Manning is 38 and playing in his 16th N.F.L. season.
The Giants drafted Jones with the sixth overall pick out of Duke, a selection that puzzled many fans and prognosticators, who expected him to go much later. The Giants vigorously defended his selection: “He’s going to have to spit on my shoes when he comes in for me not to want to draft this kid,” General Manager Dave Gettleman said.
Though his numbers at Duke did not pop off the page, scouts loved his arm, mobility, intelligence and intangibles, as well as his height, 6-foot-5.
Manning’s benching comes at a time when several teams are wrestling with decisions about the future of aging quarterbacks. Just last week two veterans sustained injuries: Ben Roethlisberger, 37, of the Steelers will miss the rest of the season for elbow surgery and Drew Brees, 40, of the Saints will miss at least several weeks with a hand injury. Brady of the patriots is still performing well, but at 42 cannot have many years left.
Manning was benched in midseason once before, in 2017, in a decision that brewed up considerable controversy. Giants fans who worshipped him for his Super Bowl wins felt he was being disrespected and scorned his replacement, Geno Smith.
Initially Manning was asked to play only the first half of games for the rest of that season, but he rejected the plan. Owner John Mara disagreed with the way the benching was handled, and Manning was back as starter the next week.