How many professional athletes in the history of New York sports can you name that have had as much or more success than Eli Manning has had as the quarterback of the New York Giants? You can probably count them on your fingers, more or less.
Now consider the following statement from Jason Whitlock of Fox Sports:
"Despite his two Super Bowls and terrific play in the fourth quarter, Eli is not elite. Football coaches know this … The Giants proved you don’t have to be all that good in the regular season. Just make the tournament and roll the dice with your pass-happy mediocre QB."
Now, had you heard this sort of a comment from a casual NFL fan or someone who watches the game from time to time you might just brush it off as an uninformed comment from someone who doesn't really understand the position. Instead, here we have a professional sports writer, who is paid to cover the NFL game, making what is frankly one of the most bottomless statements we have heard in recent memory regarding anyone playing the quarterback position.
First, let's take a look into exactly what Whitlock said. Eli Manning is not an elite quarterback and "football coaches know this"? Can someone point out the substance here? Did Whitlock take a poll of coaches in the National Football League, the league in which Eli Manning has been MVP of two Super Bowls in the past five seasons, and gotten a result which suggests they feel he's not an elite passer? Something tells me that's not the case. And something tells me that at least 27 or 28 coaches and general managers around the league would tell Mr.Whitlock off the record that they would take Eli Manning at quarterback over their current signal caller in a heartbeat.
Let's move on from the complete lack of facts or substance supporting Whitlock's absurd claim, and move on to the actual facts regarding Eli Manning, shall we?
Let's start with the fact that Manning was the Super Bowl MVP in both of the Giants championship games in the past five seasons. The only other quarterbacks to win multiple Super Bowl MVPs in the history of the National Football League? Joe Montana, Tom Brady, Terry Bradshaw, and Bart Starr. Does that sound "elite" enough? Want more postseason success? Manning holds the NFL record for playoff road wins of any quarterback in NFL history with five.
Let me guess, Mr. Whitlock is going to point at the fact that the Giants have a great defensive line and how somehow that should take away from the way Eli Manning has played in the postseason. I'm not sure how that one works, considering Manning carried an offense with the worst running game in football to the Super Bowl last season, while setting an NFL record for passing yards in a single postseason with 1,219. Didn't put enough on his shoulders there?
And when the game is on the line, there's arguably no one better in the game, as Manning is coming off a season in which he led the Giants on eight game winning drives, another NFL record – tied for most in the game's history.
Above all, an "elite" quarterback is one who instills confidence in his teammates, gives his team a chance to win even when other parts of the team are struggling, makes accurate, well-timed throws even when the pressure is at its highest, and one who can consistently overcome adversity and lead a football team to wins.
Which one of those is Eli Manning lacking? If he were truly even near the category of a "mediocre" quarterback as Whitlock put it, the Giants wouldn't have sniffed their last two Super Bowl rings. Now Whitlock would know this had he actually been consistently following the Giants last season, as everyone who followed the team last year saw the inconsistency and struggle both in the running game and defensively that Eli Manning made up for with some of the most impressive performances we've seen from a New York quarterback.
Jason Whitlock may want to get a more firm grasp of the facts before he uses his forum to say something so unsubstantiated and frankly, absurd.
- Be sure to like Giants 101 on Facebook, follow Giants 101 on Twitter & +1 Giants 101 on Google+
- Check out the latest line of GMEN shirts, including the new pink version which supports the fight against Breast Cancer
- Listen to Gameface with The Frattman every Sunday morning at 9 AM EST on 940 ESPN Radio