Eli Manning is one of the most frequently discussed quarterbacks in the NFL.
The New York Giants quarterback wasn’t always a Giant. He was a member of the San Diego Chargers for a whole 30 seconds. Manning’s awkwardness on draft day, where he tried to follow his families priorities, without coming across as a snobby brat, didn’t rub all fans the right way. Especially Chargers fans.
Eli Manning Is Better Than Most People Think
Since that weird day in 2004, where the Chargers traded Manning to the Giants for Philip Rivers and a few draft picks (turned out to be kicker Nate Kaeding, offensive lineman Roman Oben and linebacker Shawn Merriman), Manning has gone on to make quite a name for himself.
In recent years the former Ole Miss signal caller has significantly limited his interception numbers. Offensive coordinator, and now Giants head coach Ben McAdoo changed Manning’s footwork, timing and rhythm. With Manning now having prolific wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to throw to the Giants offense has gravitated to quite a spectacle. At the same time, their defense over the past three seasons has continued to deteriorate in productivty. Last year was the bottom of the Giants defensive struggles.
So where does that leave Manning? In a year where his numbers were fairly average (23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions) the Giants experienced arguably their most memorable run in winning Super Bowl XLII and defeating the highly favored (and then undefeated) New England Patriots. Many Giants fans will say it can’t get much better than that. Manning played very well in each playoff game and exhibited clutch play in the fourth quarter. Something that’s always been his greatest quality.
And in years like last year where his numbers have been superb, the Giants were 6-10 for their second straight season. That just proves that stats and quarterback rating clearly aren’t everything in the game of football.
Giants Fans Are Demanding But Manning Won’t Crumble
Giants fans are often highly demanding. In New York, it’s, “what have you done for me lately?” A pressure that can make most quarterbacks, like Kerry Collins, Dave Brown, Kent Graham and Danny Kanell crumble. Manning has never showed any signs of succumbing to the pressure, or being eaten up by the press.
In fact it’s just the opposite. No one seems to be able to crack the Giants signal caller.
And that’s just it. Regardless of the outcome of a game or Manning’s performance in said game, his expressions and mannerisms remain the same. People often confuse that with a lack of passion. When in reality it’s just his way of focusing and tuning out all the insane noise of New York. Some say Manning is unflappable, while others say he’s a dork. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
Hall of Fame Debate
The Hall of Fame debate regarding Eli Manning continues to rage on. Is the two time Super Bowl champion a future Hall of Famer or is he just an extremely fortunate little brother of greatness? In one corner is the argument that a two-time Super Bowl MVP simply has to get into the NFL Hall of Fame. In the other corner are people who feel Eli Manning simply isn’t great enough and doesn’t have the numbers for the Hall of Fame. It’s an odd juxtaposition that, as per usual, Manning has expressed no opinion about.
Manning comes out every week ready to go. He’s not as flashy as Aaron Rodgers, as handsome as Tom Brady, or as vocal as his very own brother, Peyton Manning. But Eli Manning has been a big part of why his team has won on the biggest stage. The Giants quarterback has also put up horrible numbers and won. He’s also put up terrific numbers and lost. But that’s the game of football.
That’s where a lot of Manning’s unwarranted scrutiny that comes from, both from fans and the press. But there are probably a good number of teams in the league who would rather have Eli Manning under center than who they currently have.
When asked about why highly sought defensive end Olivier Vernon chose to sign with the Giants, his answer was simply, “Eli Manning.”
In terms of how he is off the field, Manning spends a lot of his time being a charitable figure in the community. There hasn’t been one negative headline about his off-field decisions throughout his entire time in the NFL.
Manning is a player who has won before, elevates his play in the fourth quarter, has never said anything bad about anyone, but sometimes doesn’t look as tough or sexy as certain insane critics would like him to.
If anyone wants to rank other Super Bowl winning quarterbacks like Brady or Rodgers ahead of him, by all means have fun with that senseless list and pointless debate.
But Manning has seen everything with the Giants: The good, the bad and the ugly. So who’s to say there can’t be more good?
When asked if he felt the Giants were fit to make the playoffs this season, Manning’s response was, “Yeah, definitely.”
If there’s one thing Manning has not been shy about: It’s his desire and belief that his team is going to win.