New York Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito is a feel-good story about a local kid enjoying success with the hometown team. But even though Devitomania is running wild in New Jersey, the undrafted rookie is not the heir apparent to injured starter Daniel Jones.
DeVito has surprisingly led the Giants to three straight wins and one game out of the final wild-card slot in the NFC (National Football Conference) with a 5-8 record. Although some comical sports writers have started comparing the 25-year-old to future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, Giants head coach Brian Daboll was more realistic.
"That's a long time ago," the former Patriot' assistant coach said. "I'd just say every situation is different. I couldn't give you the answer that you are looking for. I couldn't give you a tangible story or anything like that. It was a different time, different players, different team, but obviously
"We're just trying to make a first down, execute in the red zone right now," Daboll said, "and do a good job with our responsibilities with where we're at."
The Giants' struggles at the quarterback position this season have been agonizing for its loyal fanatics. Jones tallied an ugly 1-5 card in six starts, while backup Tyrod Taylor posted one win in three games. DeVito has outplayed both Jones and Taylor with a 3-1 record and has captured the hearts of New York's fan base and his teammates.
Daboll's decision to stick with DeVito after Taylor returned from a rib injury was backed by the Giants' locker room.
"Because there's respect for both guys, I think we don't have the drop-off," said left tackle Andrew Thomas, the No. 4 overall pick in 2020. "If it was something where we felt like one guy wasn't putting in as much work or that he shouldn't be the guy, that's a different story. I don't think we have that issue."
"The team reacted well," linebacker Bobby Okereke said. "We've all rallied around Tommy these past couple games. We have the utmost respect for Tyrod — the way he carries himself and the body of work he's had in his career — but we're excited for Tommy."
Although Taylor did not hide his dismay with the decision to keep DeVito under center, the veteran quarterback has not been a distraction for his teammates.
"I guess it's kind of like the talk of the town right now — the decision to go with Tommy over Tyrod," running back Saquon Barkley said. "I think Tyrod is handling it well, being a professional — kind of like we knew he was going to be."
DeVito's rise from third-string quarterback to possibly the savior of the Giants season has been incredible. The New Jersey native finished his collegiate career at Syracuse and Illinois with an unimpressive 15-16 mark. He opted to sign with New York even though the Washington Commanders reportedly offered more money.
The underdog quarterback has revived the Giants' faint playoff hopes but has yet to beat a quality team. The combined records of the Patriots (3-10), Commanders (4-9), and Packers (6-7) are 13-26. However, in the final four regular season games, DeVito will be tested twice against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tommy DeVito's legend has grown despite some underwhelming production. The 6-foot-2 passer has averaged just 170 yards in the air in his four starting assignments. But Daboll credits the instincts of the young quarterback for his knack of leading the Giants to victory.
"He's an instinctive player but that's something we talk about with — every quarterback is different that you coach, everyone has a different skill set, we try to coach to our quarterback that's playing," coach Brian Daboll said. "It's something, based on who you have you emphasize it maybe less, maybe more. He did a good job preventing negative plays, getting yards when he can get 'em, Staying on track so we could stay on schedule. I think that's important for any offense."
Before DeVito's coming out party, New York was in the running for the top overall pick in next year's NFL Draft. Now, the Giants have lost the chance to draft USC's Caleb Williams or North Carolina's Drake Maye to become the new face of the franchise. It's a sad fact that put a damper on DeVito's 'Cinderella' story.
DeVito has made the most of the injuries to Jones and Taylor to become an instant legend in New Jersey. His unlikely rise has captivated New York fans and some of his teammates.
"The beauty of the NFL is that if you get an opportunity and you capitalize, anything can happen," said Thomas. "Where you were drafted doesn't guarantee how you play or how you respond to adversity. It's about what's on tape — not what you did in college. He's done a great job responding the right way."
New York made a huge mistake last offseason with a massive extension to Jones, who has proven again that he is not a franchise-caliber quarterback. The odds that DeVito is the long-term answer to the Giant's woes under center are slim and none. Daboll might have found his backup quarterback of the future, but the team still lacks a credible starter in a rugged division that features powerhouses Philadephia and Dallas.
"I don't think this is a fluke: He is playing the position at a high level," ESPN NFL analyst Robert Griffin III told The Post. "Not that he's the franchise quarterback for the Giants, but he has proven to Brian Daboll that not only is he good enough to get the job done and get them through a couple games, but now he is playing free and protecting the football."
DeVitomania has given the Giants a slight chance to finish the season with a .500 record. But the success of the unheralded rookie has come with a huge price. DeVito is not a franchise quarterback, and his improbable success has cost New York a chance at drafting their quarterback of the future.