The Giants’ decision to bench Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith was a curious one, and prompted many to speculate about the reasoning behind the move. There was buzz about head coach Ben McAdoo attempting to save his job, and also regarding some of the Giants players being in favor of a change at quarterback.
The theory that generated the most discussion, however, is that the Giants appear to be tanking. This argument holds a lot of weight, as the team is currently 2-9, and in position to land a top-3 draft pick. It’s hard to imagine that Geno Smith or Davis Webb — who has yet to play a regular-season down at the NFL level — give the Giants a better chance to win than Manning. After all, he helped the team win Super Bowl titles in the 2007 and 2011 seasons, and has started in every regular-season game since 2004, a streak that figures to come to an end on Sunday.
But don’t even bother mentioning that theory to Giants owner John Mara, as he vehemently denied that the team is tanking games. Mara spoke to Tom Rock of Newsday on Wednesday, and had this to say about the idea.
“That’s complete bulls—t,” Mara said. “We would never do that.”
That’s all well and good, but the reality is that very few owners — aside from Mark Cuban — would admit to tanking. The majority of fans — who buy tickets and merchandise — do not want to see their money supporting a team that is intentionally trying to lose. Furthermore, it’s not a good look, and isn’t in the competitive spirit of football.
At the end of the day, in looking at their recent moves, the Giants may not be tanking, but it doesn’t look like they’re attempting to win, either.