You wanted this ending for Eli Manning

PHILADELPHIA — You wanted this. Even those of you who wanted Eli Manning out the door wanted this. Even if it was just for one last pass.

Anyone with a Big Blue heart wanted one last memory from the Giant with the biggest heart of them all, and inside the riotous Linc on Monday night, where it all began for your beloved No. 10 in Garbage Time relief of Kurt Warner, you got it.

Pat Shurmur took the football away from your beloved Eli after only two weeks into his 16th season to start the clock on the Daniel Jones Era and he was forced to turn to your beloved Eli and ask him to prevent a historic ninth consecutive defeat, which would earn the 2019 Giants a place in the Hall of Shame alongside the 1976 Giants and push this 7-21 head coach yet another step closer to Dead Coach Walking, if he isn’t already, especially with Ron Rivera on the unemployment line.

You knew only too well that this was no longer the Eli Manning who delivered you two Super Bowl championships, who stood so tall and proud smiling down on his cheering adopted city on those Canyon of Heroes floats hoisting that precious Lombardi Trophy.

But you could rest assured this wouldn’t be Broadway Joe Namath on his kneecapped last legs either, or the shell of Johnny Unitas summoned from the bullpen by Don Shula to try to save the NFL Baltimore Colts at the end of Super Bowl III.

Even as time marches on and he finds himself less than a month away from his 39th birthday, anyone who played with him and coached him, anyone who treated him for injuries that would have forced lesser men to the sideline, anyone who played against him, any fan forever grateful for the two Super Bowl championships he delivered at the expense of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, knew they would see the best of whatever Eli Manning has left to give.

He would not threaten the Eagles with his legs — never did, never will — the way young Jones would have. He would not threaten them with his deep throws, the way Jones might have. He would threaten the Eagles with his mind, with his savvy, with his immunity to the venomous, hostile crowd that would be trying desperately to will its reeling Eagles to the top of the NFC East with the reeling Cowboys.

He had the rug pulled out from under him after two losing weeks, suddenly the $23.2 million backup for the New York Football Giants, an inevitable but painful rite of passage he witnessed Big Brother Peyton endure with the changing of the guard to Andrew Luck in Indianapolis.

And as much as it wounded him, he suffered in silence, he never stopped being a good teammate, never stopped mentoring Daniel Jones, never stopped being Eli Manning.

Never stopped being The Pride of the Giants.

Time waits for no Mann, but you celebrated your beloved Eli’s unexpected last chance to turn back the clock. Maybe for two games, maybe for the rest of the season. And maybe that was wishful thinking, and nothing more.

But he deserved a better ending than standing on the sideline for his last 14 games as a Giant watching the kid you hope will be The Next Eli Manning.

So here came 10, trotting back into the huddle, trotting back into our lives with the country watching, and how could you not have been rooting for some magic Manning muscle memory? … If only one Mario Manningham pass, one touchdown drive, one touchdown pass.

“I think he’s gonna tear it up Monday night,” Antoine Bethea told The Post.

“I think that’s how the story’s supposed to go — 16 years, two Super Bowl MVPs — for him to come back against an NFC East opponent on ‘Monday Night Football’ — I’m a big believer in the football gods. The football gods are gonna write a story how it’s supposed to be told.”

The football gods did not bless Manning with the full complement of weapons that Jones never enjoyed: Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate and Evan Engram, because Engram (foot) wasn’t ready to return. Of course the Eagles defensive line was undoubtedly salivating at the prospect of a statue standing there in the crosshairs. You expected Manning to try to neutralize the menace with checkdowns to Barkley.

One day, and one day soon, we will have to thank him for the memories. That day had not yet arrived.

Wouldn’t it be something if your beloved Eli gave you one more lasting memory? Wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t it be just? That was the only way for you to root on Monday night.

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