It’s been a few days since it was announced that New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning would not start for his team on Sunday, ending a streak of 210 consecutive starts. Everyone has had a chance to absorb the news, make their jokes, let out all their feelings, and mentally prepare themselves to watch Geno Smith on Sunday.
With (most of) the crazy out of everyone’s system, it’s a good time for New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to weigh in on the controversial benching. Brady talked about it on Thursday during an interview with Westwood One Radio and reported by Mike Reiss at ESPN. And as you’d expect with matters of football, Brady was quite thoughtful.
“I have nothing but the most respect for him and everything he’s achieved and accomplished in his career. Obviously, being on the other side of two of those Super Bowl losses to an Eli Manning-led team, I just have so much respect for his dependability, for his consistency, for his toughness. You know that’s really everything you want in an NFL player, and I think Eli has always provided that for the team. So I think it’s a pretty unfortunate situation.”
Considering that Tom Brady is an all-time great quarterback, those are some incredible compliments.
Brady didn’t go nearly as far as Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who called the benching “pathetic.” Brady knows that this is a part of football (and of sports in general), even though no one likes it.
“I think there’s always these types of situations. As a fan growing up, I mean, to see Joe Montana playing in another uniform, and again, to see Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott [in another uniform], guys that I really looked up to and admired, there’s not many happy endings in sports, and you know that’s just the way it is.
“You always wish for everything to go like a fairy tale, but it doesn’t. Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards. I mean, who would have ever believed that? And that’s just pro sports.”
Manning is 36 and probably didn’t deserve to be benched like this (especially for Geno Smith), but something was going to happen sometime. Manning wasn’t going to start forever, or play forever, or be on the Giants forever. It was all going to have to end one way or another, and this is how the process has started.
And while Brady hasn’t experienced that exact scenario himself, he’s been a football player for 17 years. He’s seen a lot, and he knows how the business works. He obviously doesn’t love it, but he understands it. That’s football.
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