The New York ” Football” Giants are the newly crowned Super Bowl Champs, Eli Manning should be on top of the world! Instead the immediate question asked was if this second Super Bowl win makes him better than his brother. Followed up with this question; “Is Eli now a Hall of Fame Candidate?” As far as the Elite conversation goes, it may be time to put it to bed. There are different ways for a quarterback to be “Elite;” in this age of Fantasy Football and video game statistics posted by quarterbacks, the line can get blurry. Wouldn’t you rather have the quarterback that can routinely deliver in the big moments over the guy who posts great numbers but falls short in THAT moment? Peyton Manning is a surgeon, a top notch strategist, and a master of his craft. Peyton has done his part by posting RIDICULOUS numbers throughout is career, he’s been viewed as THE BENCHMARK for the upper echelon of quarterbacks. If you’re not in HIS class, you’re not “ELITE.” Yet, with all of those GREAT numbers Manning has accumulated, it has only resulted in 1 Super Bowl Win.
Eli was the BEST 4th quarter quarterback in the league this year, if that doesn’t scream “ELITE” what does? If Eli was not related to Peyton, do you think it would be EASIER for people to accept him into that “elite” class of quarterbacks? At the end of the day, all Eli does is come through in big moments. His postseason numbers are better than his brothers, a small fact that often gets overlooked. If this were a basketball debate, it would already be over since Eli has more rings(yes I have jokes, Kobe vs Lebron). This postseason was not an accident, this was another step in the evolution of Eli Manning. There were truly times this season where he CARRIED that team, how many times during the course of this season did people say the Giants were done? That they didn’t look like a playoff team, that Eli couldn’t possibly carry them as he delivered again and again in big moments? Last night, on the biggest stage of the year all Eli did was make big throws, make GREAT adjustments at the line, and extend plays. He is just as cerebral a quarterback as the other members of that “elite” class, that part of his game often gets overlooked.
If you want to know what makes Eli “Elite,” it’s how he makes adjustments AFTER the snap. He often creates chaos with his EYES, he’s able to LOOK a WR open as well as THROW them open. On that big play to Manningham, he was looking for an underneath route on the right side of the field. The Patriots had both safeties deep, but when Manning looked right he pulled the far saftey(Patrick Chung) 2 yards over to the right. He looked left to Manninham who was running a go, and dropped the pass over the corner and in front of Chung who couldn’t gain those 2 yards back in time. It was a good catch, but an even better READ and a GREAT throw. Eli does many of the little things well, they just get taken for granted.
While Peyton Manning is almost Automatic, Robotic even in his movements and his way of knowing the opposing defensive scheme as well as his own offense. What truly separates the two quarterbacks is Eli’s FEEL for the game. It’s not always pretty, but Eli makes the big plays in a large part due to his feel. When things break down, he’s able to do something Brady and Peyton can’t really do. He’s able to buy time, he’s not really a mobile quarterback yet he’s able to do so. Think about that, he has an innate FEEL for the game. All three quarterbacks have great pocket presence, but Eli has a way of moving in the pocket before the rusher has become free. I’m not knocking Tom or Peyton, just saying it’s about time to APPRECIATE the way Eli gets it done.