Beyond winning a pair of Super Bowls for the Giants, quarterback Eli Manning may end up being better known throughout NFL history as the guy who kept Tom Brady and Bill Belichick from getting two more of their own. On Thursday, Brady provided his first reaction to the news that the Giants have shown their appreciation for Eli’s efforts by unceremoniously benching him.
“I have nothing but the most respect for him and everything he’s achieved and accomplished in his career,” Brady tells Jim Gray of Westwood One. “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.”
The development has reinforced Brady’s long-held belief that professional sports teams will inevitably move on from anyone, and from everyone.
“I think there’s always these types of situations,” Brady said. “I think as a fan growing up, I mean to see Joe Montana playing in another uniform and again to see Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott, 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. You always wish for everything to go, you know, 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.”
Yes, it is. And as much as Brady wants his own fairy tale finish, there’s no guarantee he’ll get one. Given that most of the last 17 years has been a fairy tale for Brady, he probably won’t complain if he ends up getting a clunky, awkward sendoff as well.
Chances are the Patriots will continue to show much more respect for what Brady has done for the team, however, than the Giants have shown for what Eli had done. Then again, any respect shown to Brady would be more than what the Giants have shown to Eli.