When you are discussing the best quarterbacks in the NFL, there are obvious names that are indisputable. Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Cam Newton are just a few that come to mind. A quarterback that every football fan has always found hard to categorize is Eli Manning.
The first point every New York Giants’ fan and Eli apologist will bring up is his two Super Bowl wins over the New England Patriots. There’s no questioning those two wins are extremely impressive and could never be discredited. Those two Super Bowl wins might as well be Eli’s ticket to Canton for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. People who look outside those two Super Bowl runs will argue that Eli has been an average quarterback at best. Here is a sample size of his recent numbers:
2010: 4,002 yards, 31 touchdowns, 25 interceptions
2012: 3,948 yards, 26 touchdowns, 15 interceptions
2013: 3,818 yards, 18 touchdowns, 27 interceptions
From 2010-2013, Eli Manning led the league in interceptions with 25 in 2010 and 27 in 2013. This gave ammo for the argument against Eli being an elite quarterback. People still gave him credit for his Super Bowl wins, but simply pointed out he wasn’t consistent and didn’t play great in the regular season. Under Eli, the Giants have only made the playoffs three times, 2007, 2008, and 2011.
After going 7-9 in the 2013 season, General Manager Jerry Reese was faced to decide which direction he wanted to go with the 12th pick in the NFL Draft. When you look back at the draft, some pundits wanted to Giants to beef up their offensive line by drafting Zack Martin or select the dynamic defensive lineman Aaron Donald. Reese went with Odell Beckham Jr., a selection that impacted the remainder of Eli’s career. Odell has made Giants tickets worth the price of admission himself.
After selecting Beckham, Eli put together the best back-to-back seasons of his career. Eli’s numbers blossomed with Beckham emerging as one of the best receivers in the game. Here are the numbers to prove it:
2014: 4,410 yards, 30 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
2015: 4,436 yards, 35 touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Odell Beckham’s stats:
2014: 1,305 yards, 91 receptions, 12 touchdowns
2015: 1,450 yards, 96 receptions, 13 touchdowns
Eli has had the same young face for over a decade now so it’s hard to believe, but he will be turning 36 at the end of the 2016 season. His brother Peyton Manning retired at 40, but Eli is simply way more healthier than Peyton was at his point of his career. With Odell hopefully being a part of the Giants offense for the remainder of his career, Eli has the opportunity to put some great seasons together to put himself in that elite category, no questions asked.