In a shocking move earlier this week, the New York Giants announced that Geno Smith would start at quarterback this weekend instead of Eli Manning.
Manning isn't hurt, but the Giants will still bench him, ending his incredible 210-game starting streak, during which he's led the team to two Super Bowl wins while starting every game since 2004.
Manning was understandably crushed by the decision, and had to fight back tears while discussing it with the media.
Even New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who Manning beat in his two Super Bowl wins, feels for the Giants' star, saying it was an unfortunate situation during an interview on Westwood One Radio (via ESPN.com):
"I have nothing but the most respect for him and everything he's achieved and accomplished in his career," Brady said. "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."
That's a ringing endorsement for Manning from one of the best quarterbacks ever to play the game and one of his biggest rivals.
However, Brady added that he's not surprised by the situation, as things like this happen pretty often to the best players in professional sports. He cited the examples of Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana and even Michael Jordan while saying he wouldn't be surprised if Manning ends up with another squad next year:
"I think there's always these types of situations. As a fan growing up, I mean, to see Joe Montana playing in another uniform, and again, to see Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott [in another uniform], 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 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."
What sort of insight could Brady be offering there? Does that mean he'd be open to finishing his career in a uniform other than New England's? That remains to be seen, but for right now, he's having another MVP-level season while Manning struggles in New York.