By Jason Keidel
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Over the last week, when WFAN became the Sid Rosenberg show, Eli Manning was often the topic. And there’s a growing discontent among Giants fans who increasingly regard Manning with the same preamble: “Yeah, he won those rings, but…”
Well … duh.
Since when were we so dismissive of two Lombardi Trophies? Just 23 months ago we were wondering if Eli had a better career than brother Peyton. We’d already placed the Giants’ QB in the Hall of Fame, a place befitting two-time Super Bowl MVPs.
Yet to hear callers when Rosenberg commandeered the airwaves, you’d think Manning was Matthew Stafford, a wildly-talented passer who’s never won a meaningful game. If championships are the ultimate metric, then Manning is a winner. He just doesn’t win every year.
Would you rather have Detroit’s history? Philadelphia? Cleveland? Buffalo?
Manning is a flawed quarterback who has a higher gear when the games count more, a trait we still question in his bejeweled brother. Like nearly any quarterback, Manning produces better when you surround him with proper talent.
There’s only one Tom Brady, who can win with high-school players. There’s only one Aaron Rodgers, who’s keenly allergic to interceptions and incapable of playing a bad game.
Even Peyton, who just completed the most prolific season in NFL history, is flanked by blue-chip studs. He’s got two running backs capable of rushing for 1,000 yards, and three top-tier receivers. Even in Indianapolis he had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. (Oh, and Edgerrin James.)
Is it Manning’s fault his employer hasn’t drafted an offensive lineman in the first round in decades? Is it Manning’s fault they have no promising running backs? Is it Manning’s fault Hakeem Nicks decided to sit out some rather important games? Is it Manning’s fault his bosses can’t get him a reliable tight end?
There’s no excuse for a $100-million quarterback to lead the NFL in interceptions, which Manning has done three times in his career. But it’s just silly to suggest that Manning isn’t the best possible quarterback for the Giants.
Brady is the only active quarterback with more Super Bowl rings. Ben Roethlisberger is the only other active QB who’s played in more Super Bowls. Manning has run the table twice, when once would have sufficed. And you’re unhappy.
Maybe you’re not old enough to remember the ’70s, when the Giants were the league laughingstock. Maybe you’re not of “Miracle in the Meadowlands” vintage. Maybe you don’t remember Ray Handley or Dave Brown.
There are at least 25 teams and towns that would love to swap their last football decade with the Giants. Just ask Archie Manning. Just don’t ask Rosenberg.
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