By: Trisity Miller
Some time ago my fellow writer Michael Samuels II wrote about how the New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is neither an elite quarterback nor is he a Hall of Fame quarterback. I am a person that lives for a healthy debate, so I am here to disagree with Michael on both aspects of a) being elite and b) being a Hall of Famers.
Let’s take a look at Eli Manning’s career as a whole. In his 8 years as the “Quarterback of the Future” for the New York Giants, Eli has yet to miss a game. His touchdown to interception ratio is 185-129. At first glance, these aren’t stellar numbers, but in Eli’s case the numbers don’t tell the entire story. Yes, he’s thrown 14+ interceptions in all but two seasons and 20+ in two seasons, but we don’t bring down soon-to-be Hall of Famer Brett Favre for the same thing. His regular season play has been his downfall in most conversations though his play in the postseason carries his legacy.
In 2004, Eli Manning was drafted first overall by the San Diego Chargers. There were 3 other quarterbacks taken in the first around after Manning: Phillip Rivers, 4th, Ben Roethlisberger, 11th, and J.P Losman, whom was taken 22nd. Only Ben Roethlisberger has won a Super Bowl (2) out of this bunch and he played poorly in his first appearance. Outside of Aaron Rodgers, no other quarterback that has been drafted after Eli has even appeared in the Super Browl as the starting quarterback. Eli has won two Super Bowls whilst winning the MVP twice in the game. He’s gone 4-0 in his last two playoff appearances and in each SB appearance has outplayed Tom Brady both times (both included game-winning 4th quarter touchdown passes from Manning). In the history of the NFL, the only players that have won multiple Super Bowl MVP awards are Brady, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr. Montana, Bradshaw and Starr are all in the Hall of Fame and we know that Brady is well on his way. I’d like to also mention that Eli has been very clutch of late. Sixteen fourth quarter touchdowns, which is the most all-time, and eight game winning drives isn’t something that you look over when making Eli’s case.
As critics we often kill players for lackluster regular season play and yes, Eli has had a few seasons that he probably wishes he had back, but as he’s grown so has his game. In the playoffs during his last two runs, which ended in Super Bowl victories, Eli has carried his team in a way that only his older brother Peyton Manning has done once. The relation between Eli and Peyton is somewhat hinders what Eli has done as we’ve, at times, all wanted Eli to be as good as Peyton was aesthetically. He’s not Peyton. He’s not Brady. He may not even be Aaron Rodgers when it is all said and done at the end of his career, but when you say elite you have to mention Eli amongst the Brady’s, Brees, and Rodgers. He could have easily turned out to be Tony Romo, but he’s on a path creating his own legacy and as his career furthers on I feel he will make a definite case as a soon to be Pro Football Hall of Famer. Someone tell Dan Marino, Steve Young and Troy Aikman to scoot over because Eli is coming soon. Will he go above them? No doubt he won’t, but beside them won’t look as bad.