One of the reasons that the NFL is king as far as popularity is that fans never know what will come out of an NFL players’ mouth. Usually, fans will hear one of the “diva wide receivers” like Terrell Owens, Chad Ocho Cinco , or the recently retired Randy Moss shoot their mouths off about something or other, and media outlets like ESPN will run with it for days on end. Defensive players such as Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, D’Angelo Hall, etc also are known to get in on the act as well. Even the head coaches and coordinators may join in such as Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan, Todd Heap, etc.
All this being said, very rarely do you hear it from a quarterback. The quarterback is supposed to be the leader of the team, and he is supposed to be held to an extra high standard. Yes, the quarterbacks, due to the glamorization of their positions are usually confident , and have good sized egos. They wouldn’t be quarterbacks if they weren’t. That’s not to say guys at other positions aren’t of course. However, you do once in awhile hear quarterback shooting off their mouths on occasion like Rex Grossman , David Anderson, and Peyton Manning, to name a few.
I have to admire Eli Manning‘s confidence. I mean, any NFL fan would want their quarterback to come out and say that he is just as good as Tom Brady, or Ben Roethlisberger, or Peyton Manning or ANY elite quarterback that is out there playing today. It is great that he is aspiring to reach that goal, and he feels that he is at Tom Brady’s level. No fan would want to hear that their quarterback is lacking confidence in his abilities. That is what I thought was great about his statements concerning Brady.
However, the reality is that Eli is not in that exclusive elite level that Brady is in, and the Giants are one of my favorite teams, so it pains me to say this. Yes, Eli Manning has lead the team to 4 playoff appearances in his first seven years. Eli Manning won a Super Bowl, and became Super Bowl MVP, defeating Brady and the Patriots denying them a perfect season (more on that later). Eli was fourth in passing yards last year (4002). However, I just don’t think he is in that class. Brady has 3 Super Bowl rings. He has two SB MVP awards. He has two MVP of the NFL awards, one of them unanimous. Eli Manning had 25 INTs to go with the 31 TDs he threw last season, while Brady threw
36 TDs and 4 INTs. I really don’t see him in Brady’s class, honestly. Eli said that he “wasn’t a 25 interception guy.” Well, as Bill Parcells used to say, “You are what your record says you are.”
Let’s look at Manning’s fellow draft mates. Ben Roethlisberger was Rookie of the Year. He lead the Steelers to 4 AFC Championship Games. He lead the Steelers to 3 Super Bowl wins, and two rings. Ben is one of the best 4th quarter quarterbacks in the NFL, if not the best. He is an elite quarterback. Philip Rivers is one of the most prolific quarterbacks in the NFL. He had 4710 passing yards last season in the NFL’s #1 offense. He lead his team to the playoffs 4 times, and has lead the Chargers to 1 AFC Championship Game. He is not as accomplished in the post season as Roethlisberger, but during the regular season, he definitely is an elite quarterback. I mean, two of Eli Manning’s well known draft classmates are way better than he.
I would argue that Eli Manning is likely a Top Ten quarterback at best. Look, he is a very good quarterback. There were several of those interceptions that bounced off of his receivers’ hands that turned into interceptions, so I realize that those were not his fault. Unfortunately though, they go on his record. I have watched Eli play, and there are times he appears that he belongs with Brady, and then there are times I wonder what were the Giants thinking when they traded for him. I just do not feel Eli Manning plays great consistently enough for me to put him with the elites like Brady, Roethlisberger, Rivers, etc.
FORMER Senator Arlen Spector (R-PA) (who evidently was still mad that the Patriots beat his Eagles) with his empty threat of investigating the Patriots and the NFL’s anti-trust exemption. Eli Manning had some lucky bounces go his way : the Tyree Catch, and the fact that Assante Samuel dropped a sure fire interception earlier in the fourth quarter. Mr. Manning and the Giants haven’t done much since their big triumph thanks to Plaxico Burress shooting the team out of a chance to be a real force in the NFC figuratively and literally. I know people are still going to contend Eli is in Brady’s league based on that Super Bowl, but let’s face it, even the great ones lose. On an August day in 1973, a horse named Secretariat lost to a horse named Onion. It would be a huge stretch to say Onion is in Secretariat’s class based on that race, the Whitney Stakes.
In closing, I am glad Eli Manning has a lot of confidence in himself. I am glad he thinks he is in Brady’s league, but the reality is, he is not.
Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead