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Is Eli Manning an Elite Quarterback? Fan Opinion
Now, it would be extremely easy for me as a San Francisco 49ers fan to completely reject that Eli Manning is an elite quarterback simply based upon the premise that the 49ers defense roughed him en route to his victory in the NFC championship game. And judging by his stats in that game alone - 316 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions, six sacks, and a QB rating of 82.3 - I would say that Manning was certainly not invincible. His zero interceptions easily could have been two, was it not for incidental contact between two defenders on two separate plays that should have resulted in interceptions.
However, being a fair football fan and an impartial judge of talent, I wanted to look beyond that one game. So I've decided to look at some areas that are indicative of what makes an elite quarterback in the NFL - including ranking, TD-INT ratios, and win-loss records - and judge, fairly, on whether or not Eli Manning belongs in that elite category. (For this conversation, as with many, top-five is what qualifies for "elite" status.)
True or False: Manning Has Better Stats than Top NFL QBs
Many have proclaimed that Eli is a top-five quarterback in the NFL and has already reached elite status. While Manning's status is in question, I think we all can agree that Tom Brady is an elite quarterback - no matter how much you dislike the guy - and before we go any further, let's take a peek at some numbers. Manning is 69-50 as a starter and Brady is 124-35. Yes, I know that Tom Brady has played in 40 more football games, but that being said; he still has 15 fewer losses than Manning. Also Manning has a TD-INT ratio of 108-65, not bad for a good quarterback. Brady has a TD-INT ratio of 153-37, now that's elite status. In fact, not only Tom Brady, but also Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers , and Tony Romo all have better passing stats since 2007 than Eli Manning does.
True or False: Manning is Clutch
Since joining the New York Giants out of the NFL Draft in 2004, he has led the team to a 42-14 record in the first half of the season. That record is definitely something to be proud of. However, when you consider that in the second half of the season he is 27-37 all time, it really can't make you feel too comfortable with Eli under center when it means something. Also, in his previous Super Bowl appearance in 2007, the Giants don't win if Asante Samuel picks off Manning to end the game as he should have. And the GIants also don't win the Super Bowl if David Tyree doesn't make that lucky catch against his helmet on the very next play. Although, he recently beat Tony Romo, Matt Ryan and Aaron Rodgers in must win games on the way to Super Bowl XLVI, which does count towards Manning's credit; it just doesn't mean he's elite.
True or False: Eli Manning is a better than His Brother Peyton
No one reads and picks apart a defense like Peyton Manning. And for anyone to say that Eli Manning is an elite quarterback, you are saying he is on-par with, or better than his older brother Peyton. For me, he's not better than Peyton and won't ever be better than Peyton. Peyton's career numbers: 54,828 yards, 399 TDs, 198 INTs, and is 141-67 as a starter. Eli's career numbers: 27,579 yards, 185 TDs, 129 INTs and is 69-50 as a starter. Sure Peyton has played in 87 more games - roughly equivalent to 5.5 seasons - but Eli's numbers aren't going to get anywhere near Peyton's even if 2010 ends up being Peyton's last year in the NFL and Eli plays another six seasons. Maybe if Eli plays for eight or nine more years he may get to his brothers numbers, but it won't make him elite.
The Bottom Line
Eli Manning is a very good quarterback and if I had to give him a grade he'd get a B+. That being said, he's not an elite quarterback. In fact, my current elite NFL quarterbacks list - in no particular order - looks like this: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, and Peyton Manning. And if you want to take Peyton Manning off the because of his 2011 injury, I'd gladly replace him with Matt Ryan or Philip Rivers. Eli Manning is number six at best, but more accurately number seven.
He may not be one now, but will Manning be an elite quarterback if he can lead the Giants over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI on February 5?
David is co-founder of wrapupp sports blog where they post fresh content daily and present sports blogs and sports opinions - all with a West Coast bias. Growing up in the Bay Area, David is a huge supporter of all the local sports teams; the Giants, Athletics, Warriors, Sharks, 49ers, and Raiders. His one fault, admittedly, as many of his friends and family would say, is his love for the Los Angeles Lakers. Growing up, Magic Johnson was his favorite basketball player and he fell in love with the team. He chalks it up to, "Not knowing any better". Now his love for sports has turned just as academic as it is intuitive and he follows most all sports all over the nation.
You can follow David on Twitter: @officialwrapupp
Pro Football Reference. Tom Brady Stats. NFL 2012.
Pro Football Reference. Peyton Manning Stats. NFL 2012.
Pro Football Reference. Eli Manning Stats. NFL 2012.
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