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Eli Manning Overrated? Hardly. The Reasons Why I Love Eli Manning.

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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21 Responses to “Eli Manning Overrated? Hardly. The Reasons Why I Love Eli Manning.”

  1. JW says:

    Note:

    Eli Manning has the best record in October in the super-bowl era at 19-4.

  2. JL says:

    Forth quarter, Giants behind, ball at the 20 and a few mins on the clock…as a fan, I ALWAYS believe we have a chance to win with Eli under center. And as you put so well above, he has won more often than not. So I don’t know who is doing the rating but I wouldn’t trade him for anyone else.

    Great post.

  3. Brian H says:

    EXCELLENT article. EXCELLENT.

  4. Shane says:

    Great article!

    The context of the division and strength of schedule are what truly paint an accurate picture.

    The article reminded me of an idea I am sure a few of us have wondered about:

    Why don’t the Giants use more hurry up or no huddle offense?

    It seems this is what is needed for Eli to establish a rhythm.

    Do it!

  5. Jason C. says:

    Great numbers, but any real Giants fan knows that the one player that we would be SOL with if he went down is Eli, and that alone shows how important of a player he is to the Giants, and that proves how he’s a great quarterback. I chuckle every time I look at top QB lists and consistently see him left off, instead seeing guys like Matt Schaub, Tony Romo and Carson Palmer ranked WAY ahead of him, and think I’d like to see their jewelery box one day.

  6. G says:

    Your Ph.D. friend is right. Eli throws wounded ducks all day, and he’s not an accurate downfield passer.

    How often do you see Eli hit a receiver deep in stride, without a drastic route adjustment by the receiver? Seriously, it never happens. Last time it happened, Hixon dropped it.

    So there’s truth to the “ugly QB” rap. Even the Helmet Catch, although probably the greatest play in Super Bowl history, was ugly football.

    Does being an ugly QB mean Eli sucks? NO! He’s a world champion. He’s just a wounded-duck-throwing world champion, which is fine by me.

  7. mike says:

    LIKE ++++++++++1

  8. Bluedawg says:

    Where did S.I. dig up the people that voted in that survey? T.O. is a mental case but there are other receivers more over rated. Haynesworth was a beast before he hit Washington. Romo has good numbers but without Witten he would be a bottom feeder. Imagine Eli’s stats if he had an Offensive Coordinator that knew how to use the Tight End.

  9. SoDev says:

    Amazing article man!

  10. Glenn G. says:

    I live in San Diego, every year the experts pick the Chargers to win it all, it will never happen. Eli seems like a good guy and a good QB and a great team player. I’m so glad he’s a Giant. Go big BLUE

  11. unique says:

    eli is the man..no hes not a man hes a 430 no hes not a 430 hes a nattteeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    • Goldbergieeeee says:

      @Unique,

      It’s funny you say that because I was thinking the same thing. Everyone is always ripping on Eli but they can’t just do that. They can’t just not understand that he really is just a NATTTTEEEE. When the clock strikes 430 in the 4th quarter there is nobody I would rather have on the field. Theyagooo Eli

  12. PC says:

    I agree Eli is muuuuuuuuch better than Aaron Rodgers. I think Aaron Rodgers is one of the most overrated QB’s in the league. He should take Eli’s position on that list. He hasn’t done squeat and he can’t win close games.
    Eli has a superbowl ring(nuff said!) I truely believe he will get another one soon too!

    The critics always hate on the Giants in every way and we still learn how to rise up and prove those idiots wrong. So Pour it on experts!!

  13. […] you are sick of people thinking that Eli Manning is overrated, read this fantastic article from Jesse Bartolis. It’ll cheer you right […]

  14. Jared says:

    Stafford, Bradford, Garrard, Smith, Rodgers, Cutler, Favre, Hasselbeck, Hall, Clausen, Ryan, Freeman, Cassel, Campbell, Orton, Rivers, McNabb, Romo, Kolb, Shaub, Young, Fitzpatrick, Sanchez, Henne, Flacco, Delhomme, Palmer, Turdburger?

    Which one of these do you want before Eli? I wouldn’t want any of them….. There may be a handful of these guys on par with Eli but I wouldn’t want them representing my team.
    The only ones I would consider over Eli are his big brother, Brady or Brees and even with these guys you never know how they would play in NY.

    So, no thanks to every other QB, I’ll keep my Super Bowl MVP!

    • LoisAnne says:

      I am also a Ravens fan,so I am also a big fan of Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco. This article on Eli was really good, because he really is underrated as a QB. he’s not his brother but I don’t care. I prefer Eli.

  15. andrea says:

    Who cares! I think Eli Manning is hot sexy gorgeous and the perfect man. I don’t even watch football unless he’s playing. Btw, I think people who think badly about him are dumb and jealous of his perfect butt.

  16. twerp says:

    Great article. I’ve been harping on the strength of schedule argument with Rivers for years now.

  17. Bob McManus says:

    Bill Parcells said ‘youre gonna miss Phil Simms when he is gone. WhAT AN UNDERSTATEMENT THAT WAS. Philly Simms threw 22 TDs and 21 ints in 1986 when the Giants were the best team in football.
    Now to use that statement in the context of the present ‘ youre gonn miss Eli when he is gone’ hell i am true blue for 40 years. Eli is the BEST QB in that time the Gmen ever had. The ‘three talented’ receivers they have would not be anyswhere near as good without him. You can watch him teach them throughout the game. Just think if those ‘talented’ receivers didnt turn 6 completions into ints this year what would people be saying then. Honestly, at his age I wouldnt trade him for any QB in the league and that includes his brother.

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