Lions back Manning after benching, appreciate Stafford
Allen Park — The quarterback position in the NFL is arguably the most polarizing in all of sports. While quarterbacks drop at an alarming rate every year with season-ending injuries, there are a special few who can build up impressive iron-man streaks.
The focus of the mid-week NFL news cycle has reached a fever pitch as players across the league have weighed in on Eli Manning’s benching in New York this coming weekend. It brings to a close a 210-consecutive games started streak for Manning, which ranks second all-time only to Brett Favre’s run of 297. During that period, Manning delivered a pair of Super Bowls to the Giants and their fans.
During Wednesday’s practice, Lions players had a lot to say about the way they say Manning is being treated by an organization with which he’s spent 14 seasons.
“That’s a big slap in the face,” receiver Golden Tate said. “I feel bad for him. He’s won a lot of games, had a lot of comebacks. Just cut him at the end of the season, trade him, do whatever. He’s got to deal with the embarrassment and that hurts. He’s sacrificed a lot for that organization.”
“210 games is a lot of football,” safety Glover Quin said. “(Manning) is older, so at some point he’s going to be done. But you start that many games in a row, I think you would like for your streak to be snapped because you either retired of you’ve already clinched and you sit out for a game. You don’t want to be injured or in this situation.”
The news of what is presumably the end of Manning’s run in New York is a stinging reminder that the time will come for all players when they’re forced to make way for the younger generation.
In the case of Matthew Stafford, who has started 107 consecutive games for the Lions since missing a lot of time during his first two seasons in the league, it’s a reminder to be grateful for the stability he brings week in, week out to the most important position on the field.
“We all know what (Manning) brought to that team,” receiver Marvin Jones said. “Obviously, we have an iron-man quarterback ourselves. To know when it comes down to it that your guy’s going to be out there with you is to be applauded. All of us tip ours hats off to him.”
When Manning sits Sunday, Stafford will have the third-longest active streak of consecutive games started by a quarterback, trailing only Philip Rivers (196) and Matt Ryan (133).
“It means a lot,” Stafford said. “Coming from my first couple of years in the league and some of the tough times that came with that as far as missing games and not being to be out there with the guys. I’m just happy to be a part of it. I’ll try to play as many games in a row as I possibly can and play at a high level.”
Geoff Robinson is a freelance writer.