Why Eli Manning is far from overrated

How can you say the Super Bowl winning Eli is overrated?

According to a poll down by SI, Eli Manning is the 5th most overrated player in the National Football League.  T.O., Romo, Sanchez, and Haynesworth are ahead of Eli Manning on this poll based on the opinion of roughly 230 players.

I don’t get it. Everyone here knows that I’m an Eli Manning apologist, but I have never fully put forth my case to why I really think Eli Manning is one of the best QBs in the league. So grab some coffee and put on your thinking cap because for many of you I might challenge your view of how average Eli Manning is, but the time I’m done I hope to convert just one of the legions of “haters”.

But first to address the players who were apart of this poll. Let’s be real here, how is Eli Manning overrated?

First off, in Troy Aikman’s list of 11 best QB’s Eli Manning was more absent than a Chicago Bear’s offensive linemen.

Chris Collinsworth rarely ever compliments Eli Manning (except for when I’m running up the stats in Madden 11)…the NY media tears him to shreds. I bet even half of Giants fans think he is overrated.

I know one of my friends (who is a brilliant man with a PHD) can talk nothing about Eli Manning except to mention how ugly Eli Manning throws passes.

So my first problem with this poll is: if few people consider Eli Manning to be elite, which they obviously don’t or I’m not reading any of the same sports authors…(I’ve heard way more about how good of a QB Aaron Rodgers, who has never won anything by the way and is about the same age as Eli Manning and been in the league only one year less) then how can he be overrated?

If Eli’s not rated as a Top QB to begin with, how is he overrated?

I think most people genearlly consider Eli to be somewhere in the top ten in the league, but not in the first tier.

Thus if he is “overrated” does that mean these players don’t think he is one of the top 10 QB’s in the league? Do they consider Eli Manning to be average or worse? I can’t understand that. How can you realistically say that Eli Manning is not at the very least a franchise QB in this league.

I’d like to know what teams these players for because if it’s not the Patriots, Saints, and Colts then their QB can’t be worlds better.

Now let’s get into what Eli Manning is and has accomplished.

The #1 Best thing about Eli Manning is that he is a player who you can generally count on when the moment gets tough. He can drive people crazy at times, but if there is two minutes to go in a game and you are down by four there are very few other QBs I want to be leading the final drive. And that’s not just in the present day N.F.L. I mean ever. There is a very small group of QB’s who are better in the two minute drill than Eli Manning (compared to the number of QB’s that have played in the N.F.L)

I posted a link this summer that showed Eli Manning since the John Elway Era was one of the five most clutch QB’s in the league.

Eli Manning has accumulated a lot of game winning drives and comeback wins.

Eli Manning raises his game when all the chips are in.

It is very rare that a player gets better when things are at their worst, but Eli Manning is one of those rare players.

If he could play the same way all game that he plays when he goes up tempo or had a coordinator who would let him do that, who knows how good he could be.

Say what you will about Eli Manning, but he is clutch. (Clutch doesn’t ALWAYS comes through,it just comes through much more often then  not, and Eli has shown a penchant for coming through in clutch situations).

Next, he plays in one of the toughest media markets in the world, and in one of the hardest divisions in the league.

I’ve often used the argument that when Big Ben play vs N.F.C. East teams in 2007, he was god-awful. In those four games he had a QB rating IN THE 50’s! His Completion percentage was under 50 and he got sacked in the neighborhood of 10 plus times in four games. His TD to INT ratio was also pathetic.

That was playing the N.F.C. East at its best four times. Not 6 times a year, every year.

Eli Manning runs through the gauntlet every year of some of the best teams in the league. Even though Washington hasn’t been great lately, they have consistnetly been in the top 10 in defense in the league.

Two years ago, in fact, EVERY divisional opponet was one of the top 10 defenses in the league.

Every one, and then people wonder why Eli Manning’s numbers might not be as inflated as a Phillip Rivers or an N.F.C. West’s QB numbers?

If you want to see some ridiculous numbers look at what Eli did last year vs A.F.C.West: He had Three QB ratings over 100, including a 158.3 QB rating in one game (perfect rating). He threw for 7 TD’s and had two picks, even though he didn’t play a full game vs K.C. or the Raiders. In other words in 12 full quarters vs the AFC West he had 7 TD. Considering a team usually plays 24 Quarters vs divisonal opponets Eli Manning could have had 14 TD in 6 games.

Yet this fact is NEVER mentioned when people talk about Phillip Rivers and his gaudy numbers. At least Peyton Manning has faced some good teams since 2004 (Tennessee and Jacksonville have consistently been good since 2004, though Jacksonville is on the way down). Since 2004, Kansas City, Denver, and Oakland have been AWFUL.

Who thinks that if Eli Manning got to play the Raiders, Chiefs, and Broncos twice a year his numbers might improve?

Eli Manning also plays in the toughest stadium to throw a ball in the league. It’s much easier to throw the football in Sunny San Diego, Dallas stadium, in Miami, and in any other stadium in the league. Maybe Cleveland or Buffalo has some terrible weather to throw the ball, but Giants stadium is probably the toughest with the wind.

Next, Eli Manning is a Superbowl Winning MVP QB who went on the road to beat the likes of Jeff Garcia (who cares), Tony Romo, Brett Favre (in freezing Green Bay), and the up-until-then-perfect Patriots with Tom Brady.

That’s one of the greatest runs of any QB in history. Even if Eli Manning retired today that’s a month of moments that might never be topped, ever again.

Eli Manning also has a very good career winning percentage even after the Superbowl in 2007, his record is 24-16. And his record overall his 54-39, considering that he was 1-6 in his first season that’s pretty darn good. Eli Manning is 53-33 since 2004, with NO losing seasons. There have been two 8-8 seasons, but Eli Manning, since his rookie year has never had a losing season as the full time starter of the NY Giants.

Despite average defenses.

What is not also mentioned by most Giants fans is that the NY Giants defense has been an average defense in terms of points scored since Eli Manning has been in the league. Even in 2007 when the Giants defense is lauded for its greatness the defense was only 7th in yards per game and 17th in points per game during the season.

Last year, when the Giants defense was one of the worst defenses in the history of the N.F.L. from week 6 to the end of the season, and the defense overall was near the bottom of the league, the Giants still won 8 games.

Some defensive rankings follow (I think you’ll be suprised how average the defense has been since 2005)

In 2006: 25th in yards, 24th in points.

In 2005: 24th in yards and 14th in points.

In 2008: when the Giants won 12 games they were 5th in points and 5th in yards.

So basically the one time the Giants were in the top 10 in defense they won 12 games and were the #1 seed in the N.F.C.and very well could have won another Superbowl had Plaxico not blown a hole in his leg.

On the opposite side though (ie offensive rankings)

In 2008, 7th in yards 3rd in points.

In 2009, 8th in yards and 8th in points.

In 2007, 16th in yards 14th in points (but a Superbowl Victory)

In 2006 14th in yards, 11th in points.

In 2005 4th in yards and 3rd in points.

So if you’re looking at points totals with Eli Manning at the helm you see: 3, 11, 14th, 8, 3rd.

That’s right, since Eli Manning has assumed the position of full time QB in the league the Giants have been in the top half of points scored EVERY year. They have been in the top 5 twice (out of 5 years) and top 10 3 times out of five years. And the one year they weren’t one of the best offenses in the league,  they won the Superbowl.

But Eli Manning’s not a top QB so it’s not possible that the offense could be one of the best in the league since 2005, right? (currently they are 7th in yards, 11th in points).

And this is without a great offensive coordinator. What fan loves the play calling ability of Kevin Gilbride? I haven’t met one.

I think it’s almost without argument that Gilbride is not a top offensive coordinator,  perhaps not as bad as Giants fans make it seem, but not a top coordinator.

Still, Eli Manning puts points on the board.

Why I also  like Eli Manning is because he can handle the NY media market. That’s not true of everyone. NY can attract some very flamboyant personalities, but Eli Manning handles it in stride.

He’s never in trouble, and he’s marketable.

He’s a good guy, you won’t get that from Big Ben, and maybe not even Phillip Rivers. If you’re a general manager and owner you want a guy you can sell to the fan base and public and be proud to have as part of your organization. Eli Manning is that guy. Drew Brees is also that guy.

Tom Brady, is a pretty face, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t the greatest man alive (but this is definitely a basis claim, I have no idea about him personally at all. Just probably a misguided assumption)

Something else people dont’ think about when they think about Eli Manning is that in terms of Touchdowns, Completions, and wins Eli rates with the best.

Eli Manning has thrown at least 20 TD every year since 2005 and I saw the other day that he rates in the top 10 in TD, Completions, and wins since 2004.

Here are some “Clearly Better” QB’s who have not accomplished this feat.

Brett Favre has not thrown 20 TD passes every year since 2005, Carson Palmer has not, Donovan Mcnabb has not, Ben Roetlisberger has not (in fact he has reached 20 TD only twice in his career), Phillip Rivers has not (but to be fair didn’t take the starting job until 2006. But Eli Manning threw more TD’s than Rivers in 2006, 2007, and only had one less than  Rivers last year (even though, like I said above, he plays much better competition: Rivers has done better in other statistics though). But Rivers is almost unanimously considered a better QB than Eli Manning.

Two underrated parts of Eli Manning’s game are his ability to help out the run game and his ability to draw defenders offsides.

Eli Manning reads defenses well and will often check out of plays that help the offense run the ball. Generally speaking, except for last year, the Giants have had a potent running attack and the QB can have an important role in that in some offenses and in the Giants offense I believe Eli does.

Also, Eli is GREAT at drawing opposing defenders off-sides. I’m not sure there is a statistic for that, but I’d be willing to bet Eli does that as often as any other QB in the league.

And  lastly, Eli Manning never misses a game. He’s Easy E. He’ll always be there.

Now, I’m not saying Eli Manning is the greatest QB in the world. Other than 2007, he has struggled to advance in the playoffs (I don’t blame him in 2008 because of the circumstances), at times he isn’t the most accurate QB in the world, he takes too many delay of game penalties or burns times outs because he’s taking too much time at the line. Eli Manning will NEVER run (well not never) run for a first down when he’s scrambling. I know that’s a strength to some, but sometimes when it’s third and three and he escapes the pressure I just want him to pick up the easy first down instead of going for the big play, keep the Gmen defense off the field and prolong the drive.

Eli Manning also makes two or three passes a game that make no sense, the only question is whether or not the opposing defense will intercept them. BUT Every QB does that. I watched Peyton Manning vs the Redskins throw three balls in the first two drives into Redskins hands that they dropped, and after that it was over for them because they didn’t capitalize on their mistakes. Eli does that at times too.

Eli also gets too many balls batted away at the line of scrimmage. I swear he leads the league in this category.

This year, Eli has struggled picking up third downs, but usually thats not the case.

Eli Manning, to some (not me) also has a frustrating personality because he doesn’t get all riled up and lead the charge like a Drew Brees.

So Eli Manning is not perfect, But This much is Undeniable. Since 2005, Eli Manning has had the Giants as one of the most productive offenses in the league consistently. Eli Manning has thrown as many touchdowns if not more than most of his contemporaries and has a great win percentage, despite playing for teams that have routinely been Average defenses.

A QB needs to score points, lead his team to great victories,and just win baby.

Winning is not overrated. It is everything.

Eli Manning is a winner, but don’t tell the rest of the league and I’ll keep watching the numbers and wins pile up.

Thoughts and comments?

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11 Responses to “Why Eli Manning is far from overrated”

  1. Mark says:

    I think considering everything, he is the best. He does not get the respect he deserves but I think he is close to having another “Super” run. That may change people’s thinking with another ring or two.

  2. Marc says:

    I agree with you assessment. Eli Manning is definitely unfairly. I am proud to have a true leader as a QB instead of a dog killer like Vick or a dog like Big Ben. Rivers hasn’t done much of anything in the playoffs, while Eli has the same number of rings as his big brother in fewer years. I agree, he can be inconsistent at times, but I trust him over Romo any day. Just watch when Eli gives an interview then check out how Romo always seems to struggling to hide a smirk. Eli Manning is grounded and I think he has represented the Giants with honor. Had Burress not screwed up, I’m sure Eli would have at least Superbowl appearances by now, if not two rings. He gives our team a stability that the Deadskins, Seagulls and Cowgirls can only dream of.
    Eli Manning is a franchise quarterback with intangible leadership skills that don’t show up on the stat sheets, but keep the New York Football Giants a winning franchise.

  3. Eddie says:

    Eli only threw 3 interceptions tonight…I’m sold. If you really want to be fair in comparisons, give Rivers the Giants 08 D-line and running game, instead of L.T. watching the playoffs from the bench and Rivers would have a ring as well. That Tyree didn’t win mvp is criminal. All eli did was not mess up bad enough to cost the Giants (who I like) the game.

    • Eddie says:

      and let’s not forget, the whole reason the draft is set up like it is is to give the worst team the best player and the best chance at improving. Eli proved himself to be a sniveling premadonna and his supporters/ apologists honestly baffle me. But hey, you like it, I love it. The only people happier than giants fans that Eli went to ny instead of sd are chargers fans.

  4. Crazy Eddie says:

    how is Merriman working out for ya, Chargers fans?
    Rivers’ arm is weak and only getting weaker. his deep passes take forever to get down the field.
    oh right, and SD also got a kicker for the deal. terrific.

    • Eddie says:

      Merriman had a couple of pro bowls and kaeding is statistcally the best kicker ever, (except against the jets for some reason) plus a qb who is hands down a better player and a better leader. so it works out fine. i’m just honestly surprised giants fans (and i seriously do like the giants) aren’t screaming for their gm’s blood over that trade.

    • Zevgadol says:

      Merriman was exceptional. He was seriously, and in my opinion, intentionally injured by a high low hit orchestrated by the Titans.

      Rivers, despite throwing motion and weak arm, leads the league in yards per attempt (led the last two years also), second in touchdowns, first in first downs and first down percent, third in passer rating, first in total yards. He has lost most of his receiving core and opposing teams can T off on him. He has been sacked 21 times (compared to Eli’s 12). The all pro left guard who had protected him (McNeill) was out due to contract disputes.

      Rivers is courageous and fiery.

      And, many would suggest, Norv Turner is not a top tier coach.

      I grow up a huge Giant fan. I think they got the wrong guy. Twice over.

      That is the basis for why so many think Manning is overrated.

  5. David says:

    I love how SD Charger’s fans hate on Eli so much. What a bunch of Kool Aid drinkers they are. First of all, How long did Rivers hold out? Due to a protracted contract negotiation with the San Diego Chargers, Rivers only reported to the team during the last week of training camp. The Chargers front office have a history of destroying first round Quarterbacks and nickling and diming them to death. Archie Manning had nothing to do with any of that. He was just asked his opinion by the press and he gave it and they acted like he was playing Daddy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Eli made a business decision and the SD press had a field day with it at the behest of the Chargers so they could have a easier time with the fans when they drafted him then traded him. Lets face it, if Eli came out of that looking golden and went somewhere else and won a Superbowl SD fans would be looking for someone’s head on a stick.

    You can hate all you want and call Philip Rivers a better athlete all you want it doesn’t change the fact that he plays in a gimp division and has a lot of gimme games every year. Hows he looking this year?

    Ever watch Philip River’s throwing motion. Looks like he’s chucking a giant rock. Which makes him a noodle arm. By the way LT is looking pretty good with the Jets this year.

    That 2 and 5 schedule looks pretty good from where I’m sitting. You got beat by the Rams, Raiders, KC, New England and *cough* Seattle. lmao. Enjoy your mediocrity.

  6. Eddie says:

    What history of destroying qbs? The only first round qb that didn’t work was leaf and he was gonna be a bust no matter where he went. As for Rivers throwing motion, yeah I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it on several long 30, 40, 50 yard passes. Eli’s perfect motion chucks the ball to a lot of dbs.
    L.T. is looking good this year…I wish him well, except when playing sd of course. Yeah, I’m bitter but oh well. Noone said being a chargers fan was easy.
    sd is in a weak division, granted. But how much of the chargers offense goes through rivers vs the giants offense through eli. All eli has had to do is not screw up bad enough to stop the running game and defensive line from winning games. And to his credit he has done that fairly well.This week for instance, 4 picks would have cost the giants the game…but eli only through three and therefore didn’t screw up quite bad enough to cost them the victory.
    seriously, would Giants fans prefer eli over rivers even trade? much less rivers plus two pro bowlers…If so, enjoy.

  7. Eddie says:

    Oh yeah, eli’s “business decision” was “if you draft me, i won’t play for you”. that’s the professional I want on my team. He’s a punk, putting it politely. The fact that he’s at best a mediocre qb is quite beside the point. That with the fact he frustrated Tiki badly enough to retire indicates that not only does he not help the team, but actively hurts it.

  8. bill says:

    Eli sux.