Despite the Giants being one of the worst teams in the league this season at 2-9, they're dominating the national conversation this week after Ben McAdoo announced that, for the first time since 2004, Eli Manning would not start the Giants' next game. Instead, Geno Smith will get his first start since joining the team.
Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan has been with the Giants since 2004, when he joined the coaching staff as a wide receivers coach, the same year the team drafted Manning. Sullivan has been through the full gamut of emotions throughout Manning's career.
"[There's been] so many experiences that we shared together," Sullivan said. "The highest of highs - a couple Super Bowl trophies. The lowest of lows, you know, I think you could certainly say this season has had its fair share of those. And everything in between and the thing is, through it all, he has been the ultimate professional. He personifies class and humility, toughness, competitiveness."
From working closely with Manning for 13 years, Sullivan believes they share an unbreakable bond.
"I just have great respect for Eli Manning as both a player and as a man and over that long period of time, we developed quite a bond - a strong bond - and there's nothing that can take that away or break that bond," said Sullivan.
Sullivan, like many others, continued to pour effusive praise of the quarterback's professionalism.
"He's the ultimate team player and while certainly not something -- as he shared with everybody -- a decision that he was thrilled with, you know, he's going to do everything he can to help the team and he's preparing himself as best he can as though if he gets an opportunity, he'll be ready to go and keeping himself sharp and so his attitude has been one of being a good teammate and wanting to do everything he can to help the offense, help the other quarterbacks, help everybody get ready as best he can."
As for the starting quarterback this weekend for the Giants, Sullivan speaks highly of Smith and his preparation up to this point.
"Geno has worked hard all year and done the things that you want someone who is the No. 2 quarterback to do in terms of preparation and really zeroing in on doing all the things necessary that if given limited reps - if he does get the opportunity, he'll make the most of it. He's obviously excited about the opportunity, you know, it's a chance for him to show what he can do and he's looking forward to what happens on Sunday," Sullivan said.
The Giants play the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.