Eli Manning benching shocks New Jersey sports fans

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The news that the New York Giants benched star quarterback Eli Manning in favor of backup Geno Smith shocked sports fans all around the Garden State.

Manning has been on the team since 2004 and has started over 200 consecutive games; the second longest stretch in NFL history.

“I think the manner in which this was handled and the manner in which Eli is being treated by the Giants organization is disgraceful, and I think [Giants owner John Mara] should be ashamed of himself,” said Gov. Chris Christie when asked about the situation.

Giants fan Jackson Issenman, 12, of Shrewsbury, said that he hasn’t known any Giants quarterback other than Manning.

“I miss Eli. I’m not sure how to watch football without him,” he said.

A lot has changed in New Jersey since Manning last stood on the sidelines.

Manning started his Giants career playing in Giants Stadium. But by 2010 that stadium was replaced by MetLife Stadium.

Construction had just started on what was called Meadowlands Xanadu. The shopping and entertainment complex is now called American Dream, but it is still under construction.

The last time Manning sat on the bench was also the last day in office for former Gov. Jim McGreevey.

The Giants have not said what the future holds for Manning within the organization. 

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