NEW YORK (WFAN) – Just how good was Giants quarterback Eli Manning last season?
According to his peers, the two-time — and reigning — Super Bowl MVP wasn’t even close to being one of the league’s ten best players.
Manning came in at No. 31 in the NFL Network’s annual “Top 100,” and let’s just say it didn’t sit too well with New York defensive end Justin Tuck.
“That’s a joke,” Tuck told NFL.com. “No question. He is top five, hands down. Top five.”
Tuck said it was a “shame” Eli ranked just 19 spots ahead of his older brother, Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who sat out all of last season after multiple neck surgeries.
The only quarterback to rank ahead of Eli Manning — so far — has been Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger at No. 30.
Big Ben, selected 10 spots behind Manning in the 2004 NFL draft, threw for 4,077 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Also a two-time NFL champion, Roethlisberger led the Steelers to an 11-4 record in the 15 games he started.
Manning had 856 more regular-season yards (4,933) and eight more touchdowns (29) than Roethlisberger in 2011. Though his record through Week 17 was just 9-7, it was No. 10 hoisting the Lombardi Trophy at season’s end.
David Letterman’s favorite Manning also helped make Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz into household names, Tuck argued.
“You win the Super Bowl, you have the season he had, you are automatically top 10,” Tuck said. “But it’s how he did it, as far as the fourth-quarter comebacks, leading a team that really didn’t have a super, super star wide receiver at the beginning of the year. He made two guys in Hakeem and Victor, he made those guys what they are now. I really feel as though he should have been a lot higher than he was.”
The remaining 10 will be revealed Wednesday during the final episode of “The Top 100: Players of 2012.”
There’s little doubt New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who has been bested twice by Manning on the game’s biggest stage, will be among the final grouping — if not No. 1 overall. Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Packers signal-caller Aaron Rodgers also have yet to make an appearance on the list.
Tuck, No. 62 himself, said there’s only one player who will be satisfied when it’s all said and done.
“There’s nobody on that list that agrees with where they are ranked at, even No. 2,” he said. “The only person that agrees with it is No. 1. So the No. 2 guy thinks he’s supposed to be No. 1, and the rest of us think we are supposed to be higher than we are.”
Do you have a major issue with Eli’s ranking? Make your case in the comments below!