How quickly New York Giants fans forget how close they were to running Eli Manning out of town for the same reasons they're now trying to run Daniel Jones out of town. That's what two Super Bowl MVPs against the greatest dynasty in NFL history will get you, though. Amnesia. It's a hell of a reaction if taken in moderation and Big Blue nation is clearly dosed up enough to forget reality.
Though his first three seasons as a full-time starter, Manning was one of the most turnover-prone quarterbacks in the NFL, throwing 55 interceptions in total from 2005-07. After throwing four interceptions in his first two playoff games, many pundits and fans questioned Manning's leadership and called for his ouster leading into the 2007 season. Then he led the Giants to an improbable playoff run by winning games on the road in Dallas and Green Bay, beat the 18-0 Patriots in the Super Bowl, and solidified his place in Giants lore -- and as their starting quarterback moving forward.
While I'm not saying Jones has the ability to repeat Manning's magical feat, I am saying Giants fans who romanticize Manning and degrade Jones are delusional.
First of all, Manning played on much better teams than Jones has because he had Ernie Accorsi, one of the best general managers of all-time, and Jerry Reese, a two-time Super Bowl team constructor, making personnel decisions. They are not Dave Gettleman, who has made bad draft picks and free-agent signings at every turn during his tenure as Giants General Manager.
The Giants went 11-5, 8-8 and 10-6 in Manning's first three years as a full-time starter and they did it in spite of Manning's many miscues during the regular season, not because he was the difference-maker. Their defense and offensive line were the keys to those teams making the playoffs. Manning was a game manager. Nothing more. Then he went on an epic run in the 2007 playoffs, throwing 6 TDs to 1 INT, and suddenly people thought you can't spell elite without Eli. It turned out to be fool's gold.
While Manning went on another playoff run in 2011 and won his second Super Bowl MVP, he never was able to eliminate his penchant for throwing interceptions. Or, for that matter, fumbling the ball, which he did 125 times in his career. Yet Giants fans act like Jones is a disappointment because he's not as good as Eli when, in fact, stats suggest they're the same player-- or maybe Jones is even better.
In their first two seasons as a starter, Daniel Jones has thrown more touchdowns passes (31-20), averaged more passing yards per game (221.9-192.2), has a higher completion percentage (61.9-51.6) and a better QB rating (83.0-70.5) than Manning. They threw the same number of interceptions (21) through their first 19 starts, but Jones' penchant for fumbling (23-12) is worse. Some of that has to do with the fact that Manning had a better offensive line at that point and didn't scramble as much, but let's just say Jones has a bigger fumbling issue than Manning did.
The fumbling issue can be fixed. So can the interception problem. If that sounds familiar, it's what Giants fans used to say about Manning at the same point in his career as Jones is now. Even after throwing 3 INTs in his first playoff game, fans were still excited about Manning. Then he threw another pick and lost another playoff game the next year and they wanted him gone. Now they want to do the same thing to Jones because he's the same quarterback as Manning on a worse team? That makes no sense.
Just based on the eye test, Jones is not an elite quarterback. He hasn't taken a step forward in year two and is struggling with the same problems he did in year one. But guess how many elite quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl with the Giants? Zero. They've won four Super Bowls based on dominant defenses (specifically an elite pass rush and run-stopping game) and a strong running game on offense. The Giants currently have neither of those thanks to their inept general manager, but their fans want to place the blame on a quarterback who has played for two head coaches in two different offensive systems in two years in the NFL.
It's time to wake up Giants fans and clarify what you see. It's a mirror image of Manning and a mirror image of a younger you saying the Giants should send Eli packing. Perhaps in 15 years, you'll sing a different tune about Jones as you do about Manning. For now, it appears you're just suffering from amnesia.