Eli Manning’s Giants are the only team to hand Tom Brady a Super Bowl loss, and they’ve done it twice. Brady can’t help but respect that. That’s why Brady offered his support for Manning in the wake of the Giants’ decision to start Geno Smith this week.
"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,” Brady said on an interview with Westwood One Radio, via ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
“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."
The Giants are 2-9, and the team wants to use the rest of this lost season to evaluate the young quarterbacks on the roster. Smith will start this week, and rookie Davis Webb will get some playing time over the next five games, also.
Brady was asked how NFL players respond to a move like this one. He said it’s just part of the business of the NFL.
"I think there's always these types of situations,” Brady said. “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], you know 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.”
The Giants told Manning he could continue to start to keep a 210-game streak alive but that the team would be using the rest of the season to evaluate Smith and Webb. Manning wasn’t interested in starting just to start.
“My feeling is that if you are going to play the other guys, play them,” Manning said. “Starting just to keep the streak going and knowing you won’t finish the game and have a chance to win it is pointless to me, and it tarnishes the streak.”
There’s a real possibility that Manning will be in a different uniform next season. Brady said that’s just the way it goes.
"You always wish for everything to go like a fairy tale, but it doesn't,” Brady said. “Michael Jordan played for the Washington Wizards. I mean, who would have ever believed that? And that's just pro sports.”
Ben McAdoo said Friday that he has “no regrets” about the way things have played out with Manning. But Brady is right: This is an unfortunate situation.