New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning wouldn’t go nearly so far as to blame his teammates’ holiday in Miami for the club’s first-round playoff exit at the hands of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday. Then again, the two-time Super Bowl champion doesn’t sound very thrilled with the timing of everything, either.
No, spending the New Year holiday on a boat in a tropical paradise one week before their game at Lambeau Field probably isn’t the reason the Giants wide receivers came up small in defeat. Yet as Manning told Kimberly A. Martin for Newsday on Monday, the 13-year veteran believes perception matters, especially when it’s not backed up on the field.
Ultimately, Manning concludes the now infamous Yacht party likely had no impact on the outcome of the game against Green Bay. Regardless, the Giants are out of the playoffs now, and the Giants look silly.
Giants receiver Odell Beckham Jr. might come off looking worst of all. As a three-time Pro Bowler and leader of the group, he’s expected to produce, especially on the big stage. Instead, Beckham was limited to 4 catches for 28 yards and no touchdowns, while 7 passes thrown his way wound up as incompletions, including several that touched his hands. As a group, Beckham and Giants wide receivers Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard combined for 11 catches for 121 yards and no scores.
Again, Manning and the Giants offense had been floundering long before the Miami trip, so it’s reasonable to assume the Packers might’ve handled New York anyway. That only speaks to the quarterback’s point about perception though. The way the offense was playing, the receivers didn’t need to draw any additional attention.
Beckham and company put targets on their backs with that little stunt, and by extension, their Giants teammates. And when everybody failed to back it up in the playoffs, the criticism became validated, whether it was fair or not. Lesson learned, though likely a little too late for Manning’s taste.