Two-time Super Bowl winner Eli Manning has had a disastrous couple of days. His brain temporarily stopped working at the end of the Giants' Sunday Night Football matchup against the Cowboys. Two huge and near unbelievable blunders happened at the end of that game and they were both Eli Manning's fault. First, with only minutes remaining in the game, Manning—believing the Cowboys had only one timeout when they actually had two—told Rashad Jennings not to score a touchdown, even though it would have made it a two possession game, leaving not nearly enough time left for a Dallas comeback. Funny enough, Manning thought not scoring would be a good way to eat up some extra clock in that scenario, which made his next blunder even more incredible.
With less than two minutes remaining, Manning threw the ball out of the back of the end zone on third down, which stopped the clock at 1:43. Taking the sack in that situation would have run down the clock at least 40 more seconds. Instead, Giants kicked a field goal to go up just six points, 26-20, and Dallas had enough time for a comeback: Tony Romo to Jason Witten. Touchdown. 27-26 win.
For most of Manning's career, he's probably thrown the ball away to avoid a sack hundreds of times, and hundreds of times it's been the smart play: Got nothing, throw it away, live to fight another day. Obviously, it was the opposite of the smart play in this situation.
Now, as you can see, the New York tabloids are out for blood. Everyone wants to remind you how much Eli is making, because nothing pisses people off more than incompetence unless it's highly-paid incompetence. The timing stinks, what with Eli just re-upping his contract. But sometimes shit just happens. Sometimes your brain spazzes out for a few minutes and you look back and your oven has been on for six hours because you forgot to turn it off. It just so happened this type moment for Eli Manning occurred at the most crucial point of the game against a huge rival on national television. He didn't just leave the oven on, he left it on, went out for the day, and came home to a burned-down house.
Tom Coughlin, after everyone finally figured out what happened on that final drive, said of Eli: "His mind was in the right place here, he just didn't have all the facts right, and unfortunately we didn't get it corrected." I think that is generally true and I think Eli will be alright. He's always had a little bit of that Will Ferell miraculously winning a debate in Old School vibe about him, but if there was ever a quarterback tailor-made for a dunce cap photoshop, it is Eli Manning. Just look at that sad-sack face.