Monday, September 28, 2009

Eli Manning Hype Stoked into a Frenzy

Washington Redskins vs New York Giants

The Eli Manning hype created by the New York media was stoked up by last Sunday night's "Jerry Jones' Stadium Unveiling" game. Truth be told, he did play better than expected in leading the Giants to a 33-31 victory. Although spared the embarrassment of having a punt rebound off the scoreboard, Eli was instrumental in ruining Jerry's 100,000 guest coming out party.

On this morning's ESPN Sports Reporters, the pundits took turns waxing poetic on the virtues of Eli. The premise of the discussion was who was better, big brother or little brother? Since big bro' Peyton is widely considered the best quarterback in football with Tom Brady rebounding from injury, the question was really whether Eli is the best in the NFL? One of the experts felt the need to say that Peyton is the best and that Eli couldn't be #2 because of Drew Brees.

Excuse me, did anybody watch Eli throw dying quails in the Giants final game of last season, when the Eagles knocked them out of the playoffs? Besides a blocked field goal and a prevent bend, but don't break late game statistic padding defense, the Eagles dominated the Giants all day. And, it was clear all day that Eli did not have the arm strength to throw through the stiff Meadowland's breeze like his counterpart in midnight green.

Eli Manning is a capable quarterback, but it is ridiculous to talk about him in terms of being the best in the NFL. He proved two years ago that he can operate with enough poise and precision to complement a strong team and ultimately win a Super Bowl. That Giants team had an excellent defense, offensive line and running game, so the team needed a signal caller who could protect the ball and make throws against defenses mostly stacked against the run. He did that in the playoffs and Super Bowl.

Putting things in perspective, Eli is probably somewhere in the second quartile of NFL QB's. If you took an objective look using the standard who is the best for this season to take age and future potential out of the equation, the following 8 players would rank ahead of him:

  1. Peyton Manning
  2. Tom Brady
  3. Drew Brees
  4. Philip Rivers
  5. Curt Warner
  6. Donovan McNabb
  7. Ben Roethlisberger
  8. Carson Palmer

Eli would likely fall somewhere within the next 8 QB's, that would include:

  1. Tony Romo
  2. Brett Favre
  3. Matt Ryan
  4. Joe Flacco
  5. Jay Cutler
  6. Matt Hasselbeck
  7. Aaron Rodgers
  8. Eli Manning

The ordering of both of these groups is debatable, but might be about right. The bottom line is that Eli Manning might very well be at the mid-point, almost dead in the middle of the pack. Mike Lupica, please take your New York, center of the universe rose colored glasses off.

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