Eli Manning is ditching his long-standing weekly interviews on WFAN this season, the station announced Friday. While the team told its flagship station earlier this month that Manning will not be appearing in the weekly segment, host Mike Francesa — on whose show Manning typically appears — framed it as a result of the team’s selection of Daniel Jones with the sixth overall pick Thursday night.
“You think Eli Manning is happy that they drafted a quarterback sixth who now is in play?” Francesa said early in his Friday show. “Want me to prove it to you? Eli has already canceled his show for this year because he doesn’t like the thought of being on that show weekly if he isn’t the starting quarterback. That’s how sure he is that he is going to be the starting quarterback this year. He sees the handwriting on the wall, and if you don’t, well, pay attention.”
Though the two decisions are not linked, there could be some truth to Francesa’s analysis. Manning’s decision to skip the public visit to the shrink’s couch and rehash the previous day’s game actually may stem from his uncertainty over his job status with the Giants. The Giants did not draft Jones until Thursday, but the team has had conversations with Manning throughout the offseason and kept him apprised of its intention to draft a young quarterback.
The Giants have expressed their plans to have Manning as their starting quarterback at the start of the season, but if things go south quickly in 2019, it could mean a change at the position. That would leave Manning as the backup quarterback, contractually obligated to appear on the radio each week and talk about the team.
But Manning also has spoken on the show about how the losing of the last few years has worn on him. Delving into that despair on a weekly basis may have been good for radio ratings but bad for his psyche.
Whatever the reason, he’s decided to drop his side gig and focus on his full-time job as quarterback of the Giants . . . for as long as he can hold on to it.