If slicing and dicing the 15-1 defending Super Bowl Champions in Green Bay doesn’t consider you elite, then I don’t know what will.
Not once but twice, Eli Manning has been able to defeat one of the better teams in NFL history with the 18-0 New England Patriots being his first victim in the Super Bowl four years ago.
It wasn’t too long ago when many of us (including me) were mocking Eli when he proclaimed to be in the same elite quarterback class as Tom Brady.
For much of Eli’s career, I never really saw him as an elite quarterback even after defeating New England in the 2008 Super Bowl. Hell, I always saw him as an overrated quarterback getting credit because of him being a “Manning.” Finally, after eight seasons, Manning has finally earned my acknowledgment and respect.
Being an NFC East guy, since I’ve followed Eli since his rookie season, the exact same thought would run through my mind- How many turnovers will Eli have today? Throughout most of Eli’s career, he has had tendencies of being reckless with the football especially last season. In 2010, Eli had a career high 25 interceptions.
Eli is the best quarterback left standing in the NFC with an opportunity to take his team back to the Super Bowl. This is by far the best season of Eli’s career as he has quietly thrown for a franchise-record 4,933 yards and set an NFL record for most TD passes in the 4th quarter.
The transformation Eli has made from last season to this season is simply jaw-dropping. It’s just as great as Aaron Rodgers’s progression from year one to year three. The biggest difference I see in Eli this season is his pocket presence and his decision-making. Yeah, the guy isn’t flashy but he does just enough to find time to complete the pass. Either if it’s a simple shoulder-dip or shuffle, Eli keeps finding ways to avoid the pass-rush. He is also reading the coverage and going through his progressions extremely well. In previous seasons, Eli would panic under duress and throw an arrogant pass off his back foot, resulting into a turnover.
You can say whatever you want about Eli, but the guy knows how to win big games. I’ve seen him single-handedly eliminate my Dallas Cowboys from playoff contention on numerous occasions. His playoff resume is no slouch either as he has had head-to-head wins against Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, and Brett Favre. As much as I dislike the Giants, I have to give credit where credit is due. Eli is finally eclipsing his older brother Peyton’s shadow.