Thursday, January 17, 2008

Eli Manning Playing Consistent At The Right Time

So anyone who knows me at all knows how hard of a column this is to write for me. I have to swallow my pride and actually give credit to a quarterback who I flat out despise. However, something clicked in the New York Giants locker room after that narrow 38-35 loss to the New England Patriots to end the regular season. Maybe Manning found some type of confidence in himself that he could finally play with those elite teams in the NFL. Maybe they feel they aren't as intimidated to the New York media anymore. Maybe his older brother Peyton said something.

Whatever happened though it turned my perception of Manning as a football player around (I still don't like him as a person) from a horrible quarterback to eh he's not bad. It started with the second quarter of the Giants 24-14 win at Tampa Bay two Saturdays ago. The Bucs had dominated the first quarter and led 7-0. Then the Giants started to get into a groove, scoring 24 straight points. Then last week, Manning led the Giants passed the #1 seeded Cowboys, a team that beat the Giants twice in the regular season. In the two playoff games, Eli has thrown 4 touch down passes and no interceptions.

Still Can't Get Over Draft Day Four Years Ago.
Ok so for the people who don't know me, here is the reason why I dislike Eli Manning as much as I do. Four years ago when Manning was coming into the league, the San Diego Chargers had the #1 pick in the draft. Considering Manning was the number one NFL prospect that year, the Chargers were planning on using their pick on him. When he learned this he went and had a press conference begging the Chargers not to pick him, and told San Diego if they did pick him that he would not sign with them. I really couldn't believe it. Now I am not a Chargers fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought what he did to the Chargers was rather snobbish. That and I absolutely hate players who think they are "too good" for a team. I mean really who do you think you are Eli, your not Joe Montana or Dan Marino. You are the younger brother of Peyton Manning, that doesn't give you the right to choose where you get to play at. I mean you should be privileged to even be getting a chance to play in the National Football League.

Now some say Eli's dad, Archie Manning, had something to do with Eli's decision. While that might be true, this is what I have to say to Eli. Are you going to let your daddy make every decision for you? Freaking grow a pair, and just accept that you were going to be riding the bench for the Chargers for a couple of years. Basically for all of you who don't know what happens the Chargers do pick Manning, but eventually trade him to the Giants for Phillip Rivers and 3 other draft picks, which the Chargers used to draft Shawne Merriman and Nate Kaeding (the other they traded away for left tackle Roman Oben). So far it looks like the Chargers ended up with the better part of that deal. Until this season, heck until three weeks ago Manning has never lived up to his potential. Both in their fourth season in the league, Rivers and Manning are both one game away from the Super Bowl. The kicker is that Rivers did it in his second year as a starting quarterback, Manning did it in his fourth.

Eli's Chances Of Getting To Super Bowl 42.
The Giants are 9-1 in ten road games this season, while the Packers are 9-1 at home. Something has got to give. If the Giants have a chance to win they will have to limit the turnovers like they have been, and make sure that Brett Farve doesn't get comfortable in the pocket. Ultimately the game is being played in Brett Farve's ice kingdom aka Lambeau Field, and with the tempature expected to be in the teens I think the Packers will pull it out. I do want to bring up that Green Bay won the regular season meeting at the Meadowlands 35-13, and that was without Ryan Grant being the primary running back. If Grant played like he did after the first five minutes of last weeks game, it is going to be hard for the Giants to compete. Bottom line Eli is going to have to pull some of his big brothers heroics if he is going to win on Sunday. Who knows maybe he can. If he does he will lead the Giants to their first Super Bowl appearance since 2001, and that will keep his critics (including me) speechless.

Nate Gonner is a guest writer for The Sports Flow. He writes his columns every Monday and Thursday for Gonners View. Check his site out here


Anonymous said...

First, let me say that I am no Eli Manning fan. Second, people's perceptions of Eli have been influenced by the success of his older brother. He came into the league and people expected him to play instantly just as good as his brother.

He is not Peyton, but lets get one thing straight. Eli Manning does not "suck." Rex Grossman sucks, Trent Dilfer sucks, Kyle Boller sucks, etc. Eli Manning has made the playoffs every year in which he has been the starter for the whole season (his first year he only started 7 games). 3 years as a full time starter and 3 years of playoffs and in his 3rd year of playoffs he has made the NFC championship game. Sorry, but that is success. His receivers aren't as talented as Peyton's were(although Plaxico is great) and his RBs(especially this year) are no Edgerrin James or Marshall Faulk (guys Peyton had at this point in his career).

Eli Manning is a "good" quarterback, the only question is can he develop into a "great" quarterback.

Nate Gonner said...

Yeah Holy I don't think my perceptions of Eli are because of his older brothers success. While Peyton is an amazing quarterback and will some day be in the Hall Of Fame, my perceptions of him have been influenced by the way he handled draft day. He thought he was all high and mighty and got to choose whatever team he felt like playing for. So if you can do that you better be able to do great things. Your right Eli doesn't suck, he isn't horrible, but he isn't good yet. He is mediocre at best. If you can remember the Giants have had several second half collapses under Eli's command, and have stumbled into the playoffs because he plays in the NFC. Also he plays better against the teams at or below .500 then he does against the NFL Elite. Its good he should be able to beat those bottom feeder teams. I will give you he doesn't have the wide receivers like Peyton does (Plaxico is a good #2 Wide Receiver not a good #1 option) or a good running back anymore since Tiki left but I can't agree with you that he is a good quarterback. He has had a few good games, but that is about it. If he beats the Packers this weekend he will gain a little more of my respect, until then I am sticking to my comments.

Anonymous said...

How do you feel about John Elway? He did the exact same thing to the Colts in 1983. Bo Jackson did it to Tampa Bay. It isn't like Eli was the first to do this and I really don't think either team is mad about the situation right now. San Diego made out great on the trade and New York got the QB they wanted.

As much as he might have been at the helm of late season collapses, he has made the playoffs every year as the full-time starter for the Giants, and now he is 2-2 in the playoffs. He won his first playoff game in his 4th season and now got his team to the NFC championship game in his fourth season. Peyton didn't do it until his 6th season.

Eli is no Tom Brady, Petyon Manning, or Brett Favre but he is a "good" quarterback.

Nate Gonner said...

Well being a Chiefs fan, I really never liked John Elway to begin with and like I said in my post I don't like players who think they are "too good" for a team. So yeah I really don't care for John Elway, I think he is a jerk. You are correct about everyone got what they wanted out of the trade, but I just didn't think Eli went about it the right way at all. And you are right Eli did make the playoffs in a very weak NFC Conference. I am not going to admit that he is a "good" quarterback because in my opinion he isn't there yet. He is mediocre, on the cusp of becoming good. Good quarterbacks are consistent, they don't have times of great play and then all of a sudden just flat out suck the next couple games out. Every quarterback has a bad game, Eli has bad months. The Giants as a whole are a pretty good team but most of it is because of their outstanding defense. Eli doesn't have to be "good" for this team to win. He just has to be mediocre and thats what he is and I am not changing my stance on that until I see improvement.

Nate Gonner said...

After seeing Eli play i say congrats to him and two I will admit it Holy Eli is a good have to be good if you win three road games in hostile environments. I still hate him as a person but he has proven he is a "good" quarterback in my book