Ben McAdoo had a ringside seat for the Brett Favre-Aaron Rodgers circus in Green Bay, when the former wouldn't retire, the latter made it clear he wanted to play, and the scene got ugly until a legend was basically forced out of town. The situation with the Giants isn't the same, and no one is expecting a similar soap opera with Eli Manning and his newly drafted heir apparent, Davis Webb.
At least not yet.
Things could get really interesting, though, in 2019.
That's the final year of Manning's current contract, and he'll be 38 years old that season. Webb will be 24 then, in his third NFL season, and will very likely be itching to play. It's also important to note that as of now, Webb -- who will sign a four-year deal as a rookie -- will be the Giants' only quarterback under contract for 2020.
So what happens then if Manning decides he still wants to play?
"Eli understands the process," Giants GM Jerry Reese said on Friday night. "Eli is a very smart guy and he understands the process. He knows that he is not going to play forever. He knows that it is our job to prepare for when he has finished his career here, so he understands that."
Sure, he understands that now. But what about three years from now? Yes, that's a long way away, and yes Manning will be old then and there are barely any examples of NFL quarterbacks who have thrived at age 39 (or later).
But what if he wants to try?
By putting his successor in place so soon, the Giants have basically locked the best quarterback they've ever had into a firm retirement date. Manning has three years left on his contract and that will be it. Because unless Webb is a bust, there is no chance - none - that heading into 2020 the Giants would choose a 39-year-old quarterback over their 24-year-old, ready-to-play future franchise quarterback heading into the last year of his deal.
So if Manning does want to play beyond 2019 he'll almost certainly have to finish his career someplace else.
Too soon to worry about that? Sure. At least in the meantime it sounds like everyone expects Manning to handle things better than Favre did with Rodgers in Green Bay. Manning surely doesn't feel threatened by the presence of his eventual replacement - at least not yet -- and everyone's convinced he'll be gracious and professional and help the new kid as much as he can.
Webb sounds like he's got a grasp of the situation too. Rodgers, remember, once thought he'd be the first overall pick and wasn't happy that he slipped to 24th in the 2005 draft or that he had to keep waiting while Favre waffled on retirement. Webb may be disappointed that he lasted until the third round, but he has to know he was never projected to be a Day 1 starter.
He knows he's going to sit for a few years, so his primary job is to learn.
"I don't know what my role is on the team yet," Webb said. "Obviously Eli Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP, so he's one of the best and a Hall of Fame quarterback. So I'm just excited to be in the same quarterback room as him and we'll see what happens. I'm just trying to be a great teammate first, be prepared from a week-to-week standpoint as a quarterback because I have a long way to go."
As far as the Giants are concerned, it really is the best possible arrangement. McAdoo believes in his "Quarterback School" and thinks that it's better for rookies at that position to spend as much time as possible studying and watching, rather than trying to learn by playing right away. Reese shares that philosophy too.
"We would like for him to have a couple years to be the caddie and learn the pro game and all the nuances of playing quarterback in this league," Reese said. "But he has all of the tools to play the quarterback, and we think that he has a high ceiling. Hopefully he can sit on the sideline, hold a clipboard and learn the game."
And what happens when Webb is ready? Would the Giants really push Manning out the door in 2020 if he still wants to play? What if Manning's inevitable decline begins before then? Would they put Webb in the lineup sooner? And what happens if Webb develops quicker than expected and gets tired of sitting?
Those are questions for the future - and ones the Giants obviously aren't willing (or ready) to address right now.
"The whole premise is that this guy can sit behind Eli for a couple of years -- two or three years or however long it takes," Reese said. "Let me get this straight, guys: We hope that Eli plays for a long time for us. Eli is our quarterback and we still think that he can play at a high level.
"But we do know that he is not going to play forever, so we are trying to make the best decision as we move forward for the rest of Eli's career."