Jets' example shows value of Eli Manning

If you live within 100 miles of where I live, you're well aware that the New York Giants' preseason game Saturday is against the New York Jets. They play every year in preseason, which is sensible because it eliminates a trip for each of them. But this year, I don't know if you've heard, the Jets have Tim Tebow on their team. Yeah, I know. It's hard to find any information about it. I had to dig and dig.

Anyway, as a result of the foolish acquisition of Tebow to cast a massive, undeserving shadow over their already-insecure young starting quarterback, Mark Sanchez, the Jets have become a full-blown circus this offseason. Every move Tebow makes, shirtless or otherwise, is the topic of relentless debate. The media have been charting and reporting on each throw Tebow and Sanchez have made during training camp practices, in spite of the team's denial that they're in a competition with each other. The public appetite for Tebow is insatiable -- he's a ratings-driver and a page-views-driver -- and so the coverage has consumed the Jets' preparations for their 2012 season. We all knew it would. The Jets were either too ignorant to believe it, or too arrogant to care.

Either way, my point here on the NFC East blog about all of this is that one look at what the Jets are going through should make the Giants and their fans grateful for Eli Manning. Sure, his two Super Bowl titles have made them grateful enough already, but the Giants' proximity to the Jets' situation underlines the dramatic difference between the peace of mind Manning offers the Giants, and the sheer insanity that can envelop your franchise when you're unsettled at quarterback.

We've discussed this many times. If you get your quarterback situation right, you are set up. You're a perennial playoff team and, if the guy's got the right stuff, a championship contender. If you get quarterback wrong, you're flailing. Nothing else seems to work. You can't get your feet set and run the rest of your organization, because the most important part of it is a question mark.

The Giants have Manning, a former No. 1 overall pick who's been everything they could have imagined and more. The Jets have Sanchez, who was the No. 5 pick in the draft and has actually had some success at the NFL level, but they've mismanaged him horribly. After reaching the AFC Championship Game in each of his first two seasons, Sanchez saw his team allow his offensive line, running game and wide receiving corps to erode. Then, when blame for a disappointing third season was falling on his shoulders, they brought in a backup quarterback whose cult following is intense enough to make him the focal point of a team whether he's playing or not.

So as a result either of Sanchez not being as good as they'd hoped or their own mismanagement of him, the Jets have a murky mess at quarterback. And as a result of Manning being everything they'd hoped and their own development of him and the group around him, the Giants have one of the most solid and reliable quarterbacks in the league. It really can be that simple. And when you watch the Giants and the Jets play Saturday, if you're a Giants fan, you're going to be looking at Tebow and Sanchez and thinking, "I'm glad that's not my team." It's worth looking at Manning as the reason you're glad the Giants are.