Giants great Eli Manning takes surprising stance on artificial turf following Aaron Rodgers’ injury

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Aaron Rodgers season-ending Achilles injury in his debut with the New York Jets on Monday night has prompted the NFLPA and several players to call on the league to move towards all-grass fields. 

But one former quarterback who’s familiar with the artificial turf at MetLife Stadium, seemingly disagrees. 

Eli Manning and Daniel Jones

Eli Manning, #10, and Daniel Jones, #8, of the New York Giants talk prior to the game at MetLife Stadium on December 29, 2019, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning made the argument for keeping artificial turf fields during an appearance on the “Front Office Sports Today” podcast this week, saying that for MetLife especially, it makes sense. 

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“I think the turf gives you a reliable field all the time, especially when you get these stadiums – you know, the Giants played in that same stadium on [Sunday] night in a big rainstorm,” he explained. 

“If you play that game, and you have to play another game on Monday night on the same field, it would be ripped up and muddy and wet and all messed up anyways, so I think it eliminates that.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t think the turf had a factor in that injury last night,” Manning added. 

Eli Manning at the pro bowl

NFC head coach Eli Manning looks on during the Pro Bowl Games skills events on February 2, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Michael Owens/Getty Images)

Rodgers ruptured his Achilles in the Jets’ opening series. He was eventually carted off the field before an MRI the following morning confirmed the team’s worst fears – his season was over. 

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The four-time league MVP underwent a successful surgery on Wednesday and just two days later, Rodgers said that “anything’s possible” when it comes to his recovery and rehab. 

“Give me the doubts. Give me the timetables. Give me all the things that you think can, should or would happen, because all I need is that one extra little percent of inspiration. That’s all I need,” he said on “The Pat McAfee Show.”  

“Give me your doubts, give me your prognostications, and then watch what I do.”

The Jets have fully backed third-year quarterback Zach Wilson, who led them to an overtime victory over the Buffalo Bills in Week 1. Head coach Robert Saleh said this week that they will continue to explore their options at the quarterback position, but reaffirmed that Wilson is their first choice.

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) on the field after the game. The Jets defeated the Bills in overtime, 22-16, in the home opener at MetLife Stadium on Monday, September 11, 2023, in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (IMAGN)

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Manning said Friday that he believes Wilson is their “best option.” 

“It’s one thing to get injured, and it’s [another] thing to rupture an Achilles where you got to miss a whole year. So, I feel for the Jets and everything, but I was happy for Zach Wilson to get in there and have a comeback victory.

He continued, “He’s had a tough time here in New York, and I know what that’s like having a tough time in New York as a young quarterback. So, I was happy that he could bounce back and have a big game and get them that win.” 

The Jets next big challenge will be Sunday afternoon when they take on Dak Prescott and the Dallas Cowboys, who are coming off a 40-0 win over the Giants in Week 1.

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