Eli is the Man-ning

By on January 21, 2012

Eli Manning (10) throws in the pocket in the second quarter against the Green Bay Packers at the Lambeau Field. Eli led the Giants to a 37-20 dominate win over the favored Pack. (photo by US PRESSWIRE/Matthew Emmons)

As a Philadelphia Eagles fan it is very tough for me do this, but I’m about to say some nice things about Eli Manning and the New York Giants.

I’ve never been an Eli fan. From the beginning I thought he was going to be an overrated player who was the number one pick solely because of his last name. I thought he was a daddy’s boy because he followed in his father’s footsteps to play at Ole’ Miss rather than going to a different school as Peyton did when he went to Tennessee.

Then there was the draft. Rather than accepting his fate as the top pick, he begged his father to demand a trade for him and he was traded to the Giants rather than playing for the team that drafted him, the San Diego Chargers. This is a move I still don’t respect and would be bothered by it should anyone do something like that today.

Eli Manning was supposed to be the next big quarterbacking prospect, but in his first few full seasons he failed to throw for less than 15 interceptions (he’s never thrown less than 10 interceptions in any season as a starter). Even in the year the Giants won the Superbowl, he threw for less than 4,000 yards, had one of the better rushing attacks in the NFL, and the team was recently rid of the locker room cancer that was Tiki Barber.

In my book, Eli would never live up to his older brother or father. I thought he’d always be in Peyton’s shadows.

I was wrong.

Eli has grown as a quarterback since then. He has thrown for more than 25 touchdowns each of the last three seasons and has backed up his self-proclamation as “an elite QB”. Not only has he risen to the category of elite, but he’s surpassed Peyton as a quarterback.

Eli threw for 4,933 yards, just shy of 5,000. That’s more than 200 yards more than Peyton has ever thrown for in a single season. We all know Peyton for making his targets better and transforming them into weapons. Eli has done the same thing—he made Victor Cruz one of the biggest weapons in the league and the Giants single-season receiving leader.

Eli hasn’t been nearly as consistent as Peyton (one season less than 4,000 yards since his rookie season, completion percentage over 62 percent every year except for his rookie season and three straight seasons over a 100 passer rating from 2004-2006) but he has been much more successful than Peyton. Eli has as many Superbowl wins (one) as Peyton, is 6-3 in the playoffs (Peyton is 9-10) and is on the verge of playing for another title.

Eli Manning may not be anyone’s favorite QB (even Giants fans tend to have their criticisms about him) but he is coming into his own. Eli is four years younger than Peyton and has no major injury problems as Peyton does. If I was starting a franchise today, I’d pick Eli ahead of Peyton.

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