Monday, February 6, 2012

Eli Manning: Elite Quarterback

Eli Manning holding the Super Bowl XLVI MVP Trophy

How do you define elite in reference to a quarterback in the National Football League? There are 5 quarterbacks in NFL History that have thrown for more than 4900 passing yards in a season: Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Dan Marino, Matthew Stafford, and Eli Manning. There are only 5 players in NFL history that have won multiple Superbowl MVP awards: Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana, Tom Brady, and Eli Manning. There are only three Manning QBs that have played in the NFL: Archie, Peyton, and Eli. Of those three, Eli Manning is the only one to win multiple Super Bowl titles. THAT is Eli-te.

People, me included, have knocked Eli Manning for a number of reasons throughout his career: not consistent enough, not as good as his brother, not accurate enough, looks dopey, but in the end, he will have the last laugh, as both of his ring fingers will be sporting some heavy hardware. Consistency is overrated. Peyton's career is full of failures. And looks mean nothing when it comes to being a successful quarterback.  Manning may not have some of the subjective qualities that experts use to judge quarterbacks, but his tangible success is now and forever undeniable.

So many great players have come through this game and left without ever winning a Super Bowl: Dan Marino, Warren Moon, Jim Kelly, Fran Tarkenton, Dan Fouts and many more. Critics say that winning a Super Bowl requires an entire team's effort, which is correct, but the importance of the Quarterback cannot be discounted. Over the past 25 years, only 1 winning quarterback (Doug Williams) has ever been a non-pro bowler, and he threw for 4 touchdowns in Super Bowl XXII. In both of Eli's appearances, he has led late game drives to seal take the lead and seal the game for his team.

Over the course of a 16 game regular season, Eli Manning will never be the most impressive player out there. With guys like Rodgers, Brees, Stafford, Vick and Newton threading the needle, he won't look like a top 5 Quarterback in his conference for most of the season. He just isn't that type of player. However, at the end of the game, when the lights are on and everybody is on there feet, he is always great. In fact, I would say he's super. There is only one game that ultimately counts, and Eli has won it twice.  However you define it, Elisha Nelson "Eli" Manning is an ELITE quarterback in the National Football League.

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