I am glad I waited a day to write this. I am glad I spent yesterday listening to and reading things said about Eli Manning from both Giant fans and Giant haters. I am still amazed by the backlash this player gets from not just the haters but his own fan base. As a Giant fan I will be eternally grateful Eli Manning will play his whole career on my team. No other Giant quarterback has won more than one Super Bowl except for Eli. He has two and still has more years to play. So why is this man so hated?
Eli Manning has been a player and a person who has shown tremendous class and respect his entire time in New York. He has never publicly criticized a teammate for running the wrong route and causing an interception. He never publicly bashed Jeremy Shockey when all of us knew he was a huge problem for Eli not only in the huddle but the locker room. He has never attacked Tiki Barber for the comments he made after he retired from the Giants. When has Eli Manning ever not played his heart out for this team, Has Eli Manning ever missed a start. I can’t ever remember seeing Eli sit out a play or series with a injury. In fact his only mistake is being born a Manning.
His father Archie is a legendary quarterback. He played on bad New Orleans Saints teams and took a beating physically because of a terrible offensive line and team in the Big Easy. The Saints never won anything but somehow Archie is revered. Fast forward to older brother Peyton. Peyton when he retires will go down as one of the best 5 quarterbacks to ever play the game. If he can somehow win 2 more rings he might be regarded as the best ever. He could possibly hold every major record for a quarterback by the time he is finished. He is from what I have seen the best regular season player in NFL history. Plus he shows a very humorous personality in his commercials something Eli does not. I remember when he called the Colts kicker something like a idiot when he missed a field goal to win a game. We all laughed because it was true. Eli won’t do that.
So when Peyton was drafted first overall no one said anything. Peyton never won a national championship in college at Tennessee. In fact in his 3 years as the starter he was never able to beat Florida who is their biggest rival and biggest game on the schedule every year. Make no mistake he was deserving of his draft status. Look at his NFL career. He is a 4 time MVP and is always in the discussion for the award. Peyton’s accomplishments are well documented.
When Eli was being discussed as the number one pick overall a lot of people were questioning it. He went to college at Ole Miss like his father. Ole Miss never won anything. Eli played good breaking a lot of records that his dad once held. He wasn’t decorated like Peyton. He wasn’t on national TV as much as Peyton was in college. The consensus is that he is getting a higher profile because of his last name. When Archie came out and said he will never let his son play for the Chargers that angered a lot of people. Those words never came out of Eli’s mouth. Who knows what the word was behind the scenes between him, his father and his agent.
Ernie Accorsi made the trade to bring him to the New York Giants. The Giants were in transition. Tom Coughlin was brought in to coach the team. Rumor has it Accorsi didn’t want Coughlin but Wellington Mara did. Eli was brought in to be the franchise quarterback. The New York media is tough. The fan base can be equally tough. I can remember Phil Simms getting killed by the fans and media until he finally won the Super Bowl and putting on perhaps the greatest game ever. When I was a kid I would sit in the living room with my father and watch the Giants game. It was like religion. No one would bother him. Mom would cook Sunday dinner and my father never left the TV until the game was over. Simms had problems with the Cowboys and I can remember one game where Simms was so bad and just had gotten another pass picked off my father actually turned off the TV and stared into the black screen for 5 minutes until he finally turned it back on.
When Eli became the starter mid way through his rookie season we expected the normal bumps in the road any rookie quarterback has. When word came out that had the Giants not been able to make a trade with the Chargers they would have drafted Ben Roethlisberger this got Giant fans angry since Big Ben led the Steelers to a Super Bowl victory in his second season. We would rather have Big Ben they would say. Or Philip Rivers who showed alot more fire than Eli ever did. Yes Big Ben has won 2 Super Bowls but his off the field scandals would not have gone over well in New York. The starting quarterback for the New York Giants is a glamour position. You can’t have a player with such scandals under his belt playing for you. Philip Rivers. Early in his career he was such a hot head often times clashing with fans. The Giants have long been a conservative organization who want things low key all the time. There is always exceptions like Lawrence Taylor. But he was a special player.
Eli early on did not perform as well as Big Ben. Ben had inherited a team that was already a playoff team. The Giants were rebuilding. Eli did not perform as well as brother Peyton when his career began. Eli despite never having a losing season as a full time starting quarterback was still having to deal with the relentless bashing he would get from the Giant fan base, the media and yes his own team mates.
Eli Manning is just not a great regular season quarterback. He does not give the near perfection performances his brother Peyton does. Here is where the problem lies in my eyes. He is not his brother yet he was expected to be him. Archie would say they are different players, different personalities, different people. Giant fans were swarming. There was a sign a fan made that said Eli was adopted. Eli would never say anything in public. Archie would always say this will never bother him and he was right. Eli would continue to at times have miserable regular season games where he throws bad passes and multiple interceptions. That is just who he is. Not every pass he throws will be a perfect tight spiral.
When the 2007 playoffs started no one thought a run was coming. The last 2 trips to the playoffs in 2005 & 06 were both one and done including a horrible performance at home against the Panthers. Eli played well against the Buccaneers in the first game on the road. The Giants won and advanced to play their division rivals the Cowboys in Dallas. Eli played great that day. Making huge clutch passes at key times. The Giants won that game and went on to Green Bay where Eli again out played Brett Favre in his backyard where no one wins when the weather is that cold. Brett Favre weather. The Giants beat the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl with Manning making plays again. Now Manning was finally considered a great QB. Still some would say it’s only one ring and other players were as big a reason for the win as he was.
Winning a Super Bowl usually gives you a free pass. it did for a while. But yet again the quarterback and his coach came under fire. The Giants had to win another Super Bowl again with an improbable run beating those same Patriots in the big game. Eli threw one of the best passes ever in the biggest spot of the game to start the winning drive for the Giants. Now he had his second Super Bowl win. Before the season a reporter asked him If he was an elite quarterback. He said he was. What would you say?
So now this year the Giants are 0-6. Eli has been horrible at times and good at times. When you are 0-6 there is plenty of blame to go around. So now here come the vultures. From the press which is to be expected. From Giant haters which is to be expected. But from his own fan base. To hear Giant fans say I never liked him and never thought he was good to me is ridiculous. He has 2 super bowl rings. He will never win the MVP of the regular season and have regular season success like his brother has. But we all know this. Eli has been absolute money the last 2 years he has made the playoffs. There are some quarterbacks who need the universe perfect to play well. How some can put him in that category now is just a shame. For the first few games this year the offensive line has not blocked for him. The Giants couldn’t run the ball either. I don’t know what quarterback can win games without both those. Do you?
Eli Manning has been a class man for the Giants, for the NFL for the city of New York oh and he also has brought 2 super bowl trophies to the Giants. But why is he always getting destroyed by the media. He is not a rah rah guy like Tom Brady is. if the Pats were 0-6 you bet Brady would be on a tirade every day. That is who he is. Eli is not like that. As a Giants fan of course I am not happy with the 0-6 record. But can I really complain. I have seen 2 Super Bowl victories in the past 6 years. How many teams can say that. As I said this to a Jet fan yesterday he said I wish I could see 2 seasons like that from my team.
Now is Eli Manning a hall of fame quarterback. Who knows. Winning 2 rings as a quarterback might get you there. But he is not done either. Eli is 32 years old. The way the NFL rules are there is no reason to think he can’t play until he is 38 or 39. So the resume is not complete yet. What if he wins another super bowl? Then what? Does the 6 games this year hurt his resume. Of course it does. These games count. Does it cancel out 2 Super Bowl seasons. Absolutely no way. Not a chance in the world.
So to define who is Eli Mannng. Eli Manning is an average regular season quarterback who throws a great deep pass. He is a player who thrives in the biggest games and is a clutch player when the money is down. The bigger the game the better Manning plays. He never misses a game and he works hard despite what Frank Isola thinks about seeing him in too many commercials. You never hear about Eli out on the town unless it is a charity function or some event like that or out to see a play on Broadway with his wife.
What more can you expect from your star player? What more must he do for this ungrateful fan base? To be fair living in New York there is alot of fans who flip flop and are front runners. I have seen Yankee fans boo Mariano Rivera for gods sake. New York is a tough town. It takes a special kind of player and person to be the guy. Eli is the guy and I am very happy he is. Lay off Eli. Should he be held accountable for this 0-6 start. Hell yeah he should. But so does everybody else. Does this erase the good things he has done? How in the world can it. But to some people it does.
Now the Giant haters love this especially the Cowboy fans. As one Cowboy fan said to me Eli had to win two super bowls before he considered him a great quarterback. So I said what does Tony Romo need to do then. Romo just had the game of his life and still found a way to choke it up at the end.
Bottom line leave Eli Manning alone. Whatever happens to this Giants team just be grateful we don’t need to bring in another quarterback. Whether Tom Coughlin goes or whoever else is sent packing we always know we have a two time Super Bowl champion quarterback as our starter. And there is nothing wrong with that.