In Eli, I Trust: An Open Letter to John Mara

Jacob Hamburger, World News Editor

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Mr. Mara:

I have been a Giants fan and season ticket holder my whole life, all sixteen years of it. I’ve seen the blue and white hoist the Lombardi trophy twice, but not without our fair share of hardship. I’ve seen our team undermined and underestimated, and time and time again, I’ve seen us triumph. I’ve seen every minute of every game of this 2-9 season, and every loss hurt more than the last. But, even amidst this abysmal season, your recent treatment of our franchise quarterback is unacceptable.

Whether you run a bank or a zoo, it is common practice to respect your loyal, and exceptional employees. In a league full of players missing games with turf toe and migraines, players who play through these injuries to go to work for you every single day for 13 years should be respected. In the League’s 97-year history, only the ageless Brett Farve has surpassed Eli’s admirable durability and persistence. It was this same persistence that made him so successful in bringing our franchise glory come the postseason.

I understand how embarrassing this stretch of losing seasons has been in the most contentious media market in the country. I also understand the idea of playing second and third-string players as the season becomes out of reach. But humiliating your best player is pathetic.

I know our offense is deplorable, averaging 15.6 points per game, the second-worst in the NFL. But our offensive issues simply aren’t Eli’s fault. Our offensive line is in tatters, as our starters were either backups previously (Brett Jones, Jon Halapio) or wildly ineffective (Ereck Flowers). Our receiver core, and our running game, is similar in quality. Our quarterback has nobody to block for him, nor does he have anyone to throw to. How can you expect success? By benching him, you attribute our offensive inefficiencies to the one player that has held on to this season as it slipped away.

Eli is the idealistic prototype of an NFL player, in terms of on-field success with 2 Super Bowl MVPs (1 of only 5 players to do so, mind you) as well as off-field success with his raising money for pediatric cancer research. He isn’t the problem. He is, however, your fall guy. I won’t stand for you authorizing the demotion of our best player, yet not being around to explain your decision when Eli was informed. I won’t stand for the failing management of Jerry Reese and the ineffective coaching of Ben McAdoo. I won’t stand for them making Eli Manning, one of New York’s most iconic athletes, a scapegoat for their shortcomings.

So today, I stand for Eli, for his greatness on and off the gridiron and for his persistence and work ethic, and ask you, plead you even, to reconsider how you treat your employees in the future.


Jacob Hamburger