Eli Manning will be playing in his second Super Bowl on Sunday evening. Now there is already media talk about whether he deserves to be in an elite status as an NFL quarterback. For a guy who started his NFL career by demanding to be traded and refusing to ever play for the San Diego Chargers who drafted him #1 in 2004, to his second Super Bowl is a long and winding road.
Eli is in a very tough situation being the starting quarterback for the New York Giants. With the New York media it doesn’t matter how much he wins, or how good he does, they will pick him apart for the small mistakes. However this doesn’t mean the rest of the national media should coddle him and start calling him elite. Yes, Eli has taken the Giants to two Super Bowls now, and has had good stats in doing so.
My reasoning is if you want to call him an elite quarterback, then shouldn’t he be more consistent? There are times during the season where Eli looks very inept and barely hits “just another guy” status. Then at other times he hits another level that makes you think he is destined for greatness. It is this kind of inconsistency that really makes me wonder if he really is an elite player. Sure, having a 2nd Super Bowl ring will be nice, but elite status isn’t determined by Super Bowl rings… (Just ask Ben Roethlisberger or Marino)
If Eli Manning can be a more consistent quarterback and find ways to win, even when his team isn’t playing to their potential, then yes, I would easily say he is. But there needs to be some more proof before I want to anoint him elite or even great. It isn’t fair to some of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, to throw someone in there with them just because they have a shot at winning a 2nd championship.
I feel Eli Manning has the potential and the skill to eventually land on the elite list, but he needs to find that extra something that guys like Montana, Aikman, Bradshaw and Elway all had. Just because you win multiple Super Bowls doesn’t make you elite. We have seen plenty of teams win Super Bowls in spite of their quarterback (Pittsburgh Steelers/Ben Roethlisberger).
I don’t think the Giants could win this game without Eli, and, I don’t think Eli could lead another team like he has this Giants squad. They are a group that needs each other. If Eli Manning wants to become an elite quarterback and surpass his brother, then he needs to find more consistency in his game. He needs to string together great games and be good when he isn’t fully on his “A” game. Until then, Eli Manning is just another good quarterback who will have a few good games but follow them with sub par performances. History here speaks for itself.
Obviously only time will tell. No one, except the players and their fans, remember who lost the previous Super Bowls. Tom Brady (most definitely an elite quarterback) may have a lot to say about how good Eli and his Giants really are.