Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

02 Aug 2016

Film Room: Eli Manning

by Cian Fahey

The story of Eli Manning's career can't be rewritten at this point. Manning is 35. He will be remembered as an inconsistent regular-season starter who got hot at the right time... twice. He could be a Hall of Famer once he retires, but he will be a borderline case.

Over the last two years, we have gotten a glimpse of what Manning could have been. The Giants quarterback has thrown 65 touchdowns (only Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have thrown more) with 8,842 yards, the sixth-most over that span. That production hasn't come with a cost in turnovers either. Manning is tied with Drew Brees for 28 interceptions over the past two years, exactly 14 in each season, on 1,219 attempts. This after he threw 27 interceptions in just 551 attempts in 2013. He hasn't been a different quarterback. Manning wasn't the disaster his numbers suggested he was during that 2013 season, something Film Room wrote about at the time.

Manning will be remembered as an inconsistent, mistake-prone quarterback, but that's not always what he has been. For most of his career, his inconsistency and mistakes were a result of trying to throw the ball while wearing Kevin Gilbride's straightjacket of a scheme.

Ben McAdoo is the Giants head coach because of Eli Manning's success in his scheme over the past two years. McAdoo was brought in to completely alter the identity of the Giants offense from a vertical, deep-drop passing game to a quick-hitting, short-throw scheme. The Giants' level of talent has generally been low over the second half of Manning's career, and that didn't change when Gilbride left. What did change was how much Manning was allowed to elevate his teammates. The offense became less about fitting the ball into tight windows and throwing under pressure. McAdoo set the offense up so Manning could show off his acumen, timing, and precision. Had Manning played in this offense over the course of his career, he would likely be viewed in higher regard. He would likely be a certain Hall of Famer and someone pushing to be viewed in the same light as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.


Eli Manning Accuracy, 2015
Yardage To 5 6-15 16-25 26-plus
Outside Numbers Left 89.5% 48 64.4% 45 54.5% 2 30.0% 10
Outside Hashes Left 88.7% 62 78.7% 47 80.0% 5 60.0% 5
Between Hashes 92.3% 39 87.9% 33 80.0% 5 100.0% 3
Outside Hashes Right 94.6% 74 81.8% 33 83.3% 6 80.0% 5
Outside Numbers Right 87.3% 55 68.3% 41 38.5% 13 50.0% 12

For his career, Manning has 44,187 yards with 294 touchdowns and 199 interceptions while completing 59.3 percent of his passes. If you keep his rookie numbers but extrapolate his numbers in McAdoo's scheme out over the rest of his career, he would have completed 4,308 of 6,902 attempts, a 62.4 percent completion rate, for 49,674 yards, 364 touchdowns and 163 interceptions. That improvement is obviously huge. Part of the problem with extrapolating those numbers out is how the league as a whole has changed over the course of Manning's career. It has become easier to put up big numbers as a passer over recent years, so taking the sample from this point is warped somewhat. These numbers are still relevant, though, because the affluence of the league's quarterbacks can be somewhat offset by the almost-complete absence of talent surrounding Manning for the past two years -- with one obvious, sparkling, dyed-blonde exception.

Odell Beckham's presence as one of the three best receivers in the NFL gives Manning a star to throw to. Beckham is just one receiver though. After Beckham, Manning has been throwing to incompetent receivers. Shane Vereen was the team's second-most talented receiver last year and he was on the fringe of the offense, often conceding snaps to Andre Williams. While McAdoo's offense tightened windows, the routes of Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, Hakeem Nicks, and Myles White tightened them again. Furthermore, while tightening those windows they were also dropping passes. His tight ends, Will Tye and Larry Donnell, were particularly at fault when it came to dropping passes, but even Beckham had significant drop issues in 2015. Charting for the Pre-Snap Reads Quarterback Catalogue revealed that Manning lost the fourth-most receptions on accurate throws because of receiver error last season. He lost 62 completions in 617 attempts -- essentially one out of every ten throws.

This sequence was typical of what Manning dealt with last season:

Early in the third quarter against the New York Jets, the Giants faced a first-and-10 at their own 43-yard line. Manning handed the ball to Andre Williams, who was stopped for a 1-yard gain. The Giants had the 23rd-ranked running game by DVOA last year. Williams is a constant source of frustration in New York. The coaching staff in its previous form forced him onto the field even though he consistently offered nothing but mistakes to go along with his limited skill set. Handing the ball off to Williams rarely gave the Giants anything good. Asking him to run routes was akin to asking Eli to play defensive end.

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The above GIF is the second-and-9 play that followed Williams' 1-yard run on first down. David Harris shows off horrible technique on this route, allowing even a running back of Williams' caliber to escape outside. (The Jets drafted Darron Lee in the first round of the 2016 draft because their middle linebackers last year couldn't cover.) Manning finds Williams with a well-placed and well-timed pass that would allow him to turn upfield. Instead of catching it, the running back watches the ball go through his hands. This play looks relatively simple from Manning's perspective but it wasn't, and the lost yardage was much greater than the above GIF can show.

The above image comes from the same play. It was taken immediately after Manning released the ball. At the snap, the Jets were showing a single-high safety look. They rotated to a Cover-2 shell after the snap with their underneath defenders playing man coverage. Manning recognized this, so he was able to get rid of the ball on time despite Muhammad Wilkerson's immediate pressure coming off the right side. Man-2 is a play call that is designed to counter passing plays. It's primarily used in obvious passing situations, such as second-and-9 or third-and-Long. That is because it's a coverage that can be badly exposed by running plays. Manning makes the smart throw underneath to Williams because that throw is essentially the same as a run in this situation.

Besides Harris, who has already been beaten, the three defenders in position to prevent Williams from running after the catch for a first down are all facing the wrong direction. They are running after their assigned receivers, pulling them even further away from the football. A competent receiving back catches this ball and turns upfield for at least 4 yards. A good one gets the first down. Williams is neither, so the Giants are put into a third-and-9 situation despite their quarterback making the perfect read and the perfect throw for the situation.

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An obvious passing situation. A bad offensive line. A limited receiving corps. And one of the best, most creative defenses in the league across from you. This third-and-9 is one of the toughest plays a quarterback can face in the NFL. Before the snap, Manning alters the play, communicating with his receivers before setting his protection based on the alignment of the defensive front. The positioning of the safeties gave Manning a hint to what he could expect after the snap. He knew the defense was going to play Cover-1 or some variation of it. We can tell that by how quickly he acted in the pocket. As soon as he caught the ball his shoulders were turned towards the top of the field with a subtle pump fake to push the safety to that side of the field. That movement opened up the seam route for Will Tye. Tye ran a double-move, but his route was poor. Calvin Pryor has him blanketed, forcing Manning to put arc the ball over the outstretched arm of the defender but into the hands of his tight end. Tye makes the catch before falling to the ground for the first down.

Tye caught that ball, something he couldn't be trusted to do with any kind of consistency. He made up for that positive play immediately after by committing a false start penalty to put Manning in another obvious passing situation, first-and-15. The Giants line then missed a stunt pickup to give up a sack. What was the obvious solution to second-and-19? You guessed it: a 1-yard run from Andre Williams.

All of that brought us to third-and-18 at the Jets 39-yard line.

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Such is Todd Bowles' philosophy that third-and-18 is viewed as an opportunity to attack and try to force a turnover rather than sit back and settle for a punt. The Jets head coach lines up his defense in a very aggressive alignment. Manning sets his protection accordingly but is forced to adjust as Bowles adds another layer of aggressiveness after the snap. Bowles sends a blitzing cornerback from the slot, giving Myles White a free release and a one-on-one with the deep safety who rotates across to cover him. Manning holds the ball long enough to see the safety turn his head and run with White, so he knows he can throw to his back shoulder rather than try to lead him downfield.

Manning releases the ball just before the pressure arrives. White catches it for a 35-yard gain and a first down. Until...

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Ereck Flowers is the left tackle on this play. He was drafted in the top 10 of the 2015 draft. Flowers dealt with injury issues as a rookie but his performances were so bad that it's hard to give him the benefit of the doubt. Only fellow rookie Donovan Smith blew more blocks than Flowers did last year, according to Sports Info Solutions. Flowers was especially atrocious in pass protection. That is because he is incapable of matching speed rushers at the beginning of plays. His footwork is sloppy and slow, meaning he can't kick-slide out to counter edge rushers. He is left fighting to recover from the very beginning of each play. That can all be seen in the above GIF as Flowers is called for holding.

Flowers' inability to get off the line of scrimmage takes the Giants offense from a first-and-10 at the Jets 4-yard line to a third-and-28 at the Jets 49-yard line. Protection broke down instantly on that third-and-28, forcing Manning to check down for a 5-yard gain. The Giants punted.

Taking one drive from a whole season's work could be misleading, but that's really not the case in this scenario. When Beckham wasn't creating big plays, Manning was dragging his supporting cast in the right direction.

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Timing and precision is what makes Manning such a consistent and efficient quarterback. The above GIF shows off a third-and-14 from late in the fourth quarter in the Week 1 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys. This was the game that was marred by a late mistake from Manning before the defense gave up an easy game-winning touchdown. On this play specifically, Manning was able to fit the ball into a tight window for a first down while still protecting his receiver from a big hit. Had Manning been slightly off target or slightly late with this pass, the defense would have been given a chance at an interception. Had he thrown the ball higher, Beckham would have had his knees cut out from beneath him by the arriving safety.

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It's these timing and precision throws that made the failures from his receivers so frustrating. Tye should have had a touchdown on this play thanks to Manning diagnosing the coverage and leading him to a spot between two defenders. Instead, the ball bounces off his hands and goes into the safety's. Fortunately for Manning, the safety's hands are as bad as Tye's were.

You see, Giants receivers didn't just subdue Manning's production, they repeatedly created interception opportunities for his opponents. Six of Manning's interceptions in 2015 weren't his fault. Three of those six came when the ball bounced off of his receiver's hands. Only one quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, had more interceptions last year that were the fault of his teammates. Manning himself had an impressive 34.3 attempts per interception that ranked him in the top 10. Manning can take care of the ball in this system because he's accurate, he's smart, and he is comfortable holding the ball in the pocket or releasing it against pressure. No matter how the defense approaches him, he will react and adjust accordingly.

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From that same first quarter against the Buccaneers, Manning got an opportunity to show off his poise. In the above GIF you can see Manning get to the top of his drop and read the right side of the field. He doesn't have an open receiver so he climbs the pocket. In this condensed area of the field, Manning shows more urgency with his movement but maintains his awareness. He initially pump fakes to his running back underneath, but has the awareness to spot Rueben Randle alone in the back of the end zone for the touchdown.

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Manning is the whole package. He plays to his skill set consistently despite having the same wobbly moments that most quarterbacks have. His just happen to be in New York, where everything is bigger and brighter.

It's too late for Manning to alter his perception and the place he will take in the annals of NFL history. He can still continue to be a quality starter for the Giants into his late thirties if 2015 is anything to go by. The Giants probably don't have the quality around Manning to make another meaningful run at the Super Bowl, but they do have precedent when it comes to making shock journeys into late January.

Posted by: Cian Fahey on 02 Aug 2016

181 comments, Last at 09 Aug 2016, 9:56am by JudoPrince03

Comments

1
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 2:50pm

I remain astounded that Eli was able to execute Gilbride's deep drop offense, at the level he executed it, in January and February of 2012, behind completely incompetent pass blocking. I still say that the NFCCG, with Justim Smith playing the role of the enraged rhinocerous, and various Giants o-linemen in the rubber parking cone part, was the best game I've seen a qb play in a playoff game.

Eli is the greatest non-great qb I've ever seen, if that makes any sense. If he had been in a better offense, he may have just been great.

12
by RavenPl :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:33pm

He IS great. And many in the NFL say he is too.

16
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:47pm

His ratio of great to mediocre seasons is not terrific. Four Pro Bowls, no !st team All-Pros. Now, Gilbride definitely was not helpful to his career, and we have seen guys past 35 have MVP caliber seasons, so I don't agree with Cian that the book is written. He'll need to have a couple MVP caliber season to become a no doubt HOFer, however.

18
by RavenPl :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:01pm

If he wins another SB, he's looking at 1st ballot. A league MVP will also do it. But this notion from many that Eli is a baffling player is baffling in itself. That offense was ridiculously complicated.

It always drove me crazy how Coughlin would yell about interceptions, but he ran an offense that was not conducive to low interceptions. It was high risk high reward. If you want efficiency and low interceptions, run a different offense. Don't scream about it. And incredibly, Eli NEVER COMPLAINED.

You have a new league now where draftees must play immediately. Coughlin never trusted them to play them for two or three years. Impossible. Then they didn't have the pass blockers. It was an impossible situation for the QB and after the 2011 SB run, the wheels fell off.

Look at how those SBs were won. Eli in the no huddle. Eli in the hurry up. Fans screamed for Eli to play more like his brother in a version of the hurry up. Peyton and Eli's greatest asset is their brain. It moves fast and Eli can diagnose quickly. But the offense didn't let him move in and out of plays quickly. Media and fans would ask Gilbride for more hurry up, no huddle, and he always gave them a condescending answer. No.

McAdoo got it immediately and Eli took to it like a glass of cool water. And so did the receivers. People love to give OBJ ALL the credit for Eli's success. Forget that Eli was a 2SBMVP before Odell ever got there. But if OBJ was in Gilbride's offense, we'd have seen OBJ go one way and the ball another. Guaranteed, especially, in his rookie year. Give some credit to the new system and the HOF QB throwing him the ball.

20
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:16pm

People who refer to Super Bowl MVPs, as a means of proving a player was great, really don't know what they are talking about, even if some of those meatheads vote for the HOF. Eli wasn't even the true MVP in his first Super Bowl, and anybody who says he was doesn't know, as Parcell once said, whether the ball is blown up or stuffed. Now, the idiots who run the place being what they are, I agree that another Super Bow win gets him a 1st ballot election, and I agree that an MVP season would greatly enhance his argument, and I agree that nobody should be shocked if Eli would have such a season with receivers and coaching he now enjoys.

The past is what it is however, and he simply hasn't had a lot of really great seasons.

32
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:12pm

Really? SBMVPS are nothing to sneeze at. And Eli was absolutely deserving of the SBMVP. With all due respect to the entire pass rush, they came off the field hanging their heads after Brady hit Moss in the end zone. If Eli doesn't come through, the Pats win that game. The voters were also probably paying elated homage to the young QB who just did something none of them had ever seen before or since. Which is, drive his offense the length of the field for a touchdown to win the game when only a touchdown would win the game. Eli Manning stands alone there.

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:26pm

We simply aren't going to agree that taking a couple games, out of a sample of a couple hundred, is a useful way to prove a player was great. We aren't going to agree that David Tyree pinning a jump ball to his helmet, without which Eli doesn't get the MVP, is a case of Eli "coming through". The Giants defensive line was the most valuable element of that victory, just like it was two weeks prior in Green Bay.

37
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:35pm

Yeah but you can't give it to the entire D line and the SBMVP is given to the most valuable player on the field in that game. Without question, that one player is Eli Manning. It's a team game and all contribute, as the defense absolutely did. In fact, throw in Corey Webster and Gibril Wilson for tipping away Brady's throw in the final minutes. All contribute.

But this notion that Eli didn't deserve the SBMVP is a nice tag line and misguided. The Giants do not win without that one player on the field driving the entire offense into the endzone. And it wasn't that one play either. He had rookies on the field that day and he commanded the entire offense the entire game. Tyree made an an incredible individual effort. The incredulity of his ability to keep the ball from touching the ground takes nothing away from the QB breaking those tackles and launching an accurate ball, btw, down the field. Eli deserves that SBMVP. He also deserves the second. And the SBMVP honor is an honor. Just sayin.

38
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:49pm

No, there is a question, and if you don't think a good argument can me made against your position, you really don't understand the game at all.

39
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:55pm

I played the game so trust me I understand the game. When someone presents a counter argument to yours, don't get sensitive about it. Every media head had Justin Tucks name on the ticket for SBMVP until Eli did something no one had ever seen or has seen again. They respect the game and its history and immediately crossed out Tucks name and put Eli Manning there. As a fan and player, I saw what Eli did there and understood the significance of it. He absolutely deserved that SBMVP and as integral as Tuck was, had he received it, there would have been an uproar. If you don't get the enormity of that moment, it is you that really doesn't understand the game. Spare me the attitude sir.

44
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:03pm

I didn't get sensitive, I implied it was dumb to claim that an argument such as this can be settled to the point that there is "no question". I implied this because it is a dumb thing to claim, and thus best avoided.

48
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:16pm

You got sensitive about being challenged. If something is "dumb" as you like to say, it is the notion that a QB doing something that has never been done before or since on the largest stage in football is somehow underserving of the individual award. The understanding that, had Eli Manning not been on the field that day, the Giants lose the game.

Had Justin Tuck not been on the field that day, does Michael Strahan step up? Osi? Alford? Kiwanuka? Mitchell? The Giants were stacked at pass rushers that year. And ultimately, Brady beat them when he absolutely had to. The Giants had one QB and he delivered. He deserved the SBMVP.

You can make an argument Tuck deserved it IF Eli didn't do what he did. However, if Eli didn't do what he did, the SBMVP would be a Patriot.

50
by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:18pm

I think the main(and ultimately correct) point is - isolating 6-10 games for someone while ignoring the larger body of evidence has been and continues to be a mistake. I see it even on sites like this one where people really ought to know better.

51
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:30pm

By that reasoning David Ttyree is the MVP. If he doesn't pin the ball to his helmet (ever see that in a championshp game?) the Patriots win.

Noting that is is dumb to caim that that you can settle a question like this "without question" is not a response to being challenged. It is a response to a dumb assertion. You know, you don't have to claim to be omniscient.

53
by Kaelik :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 8:03pm

Wait what on earth? Are you delusional?

You think no other QB in history has ever led a game winning touchdown drive? What did Eli do that no one else ever has or will do?

The score was 14-17 against the highest scoring offense ever (at the time, and still second, despite that trend only going up). The defense was so amazing probably at least two lineman deserved the MVP over a quarterback who scored 2TDs and one interception on a 54% completion day with 255 yards.

He had one amazing play, it happened to occur on the final drive, that doesn't make him most valuable player of the game any more than Geno Smith throwing 20 for 25 for 3 TDs and 358 yards in week 17 against Miami makes him the Jets MVP of the 2014 season.

59
by RT2008 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 9:00pm

Uh, dude. Hate to break it to you, but Cold Hard Football Facts covered this years ago. Eli Manning is the first and only quarterback to lead a championship-winning TD drive in the final minutes knowing he would need a TD to win. It's a big deal. One amazing play? C'mon man. C'mon. Wow. Defense was fantastic. Keep the score down and Brady on his back. But they lose that game without Eli. Agree with others that he deserved that SBMVP. It's bizarre the lengths some of you need to go to diminish that play and the player. It's only, like, the greatest play in SB history. Stop hatin.

61
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 10:07pm

Give a precise definition of "greatest", please. They lose the game without David Tyree, too. Does that make him the MVP?

Here's the larger problem with using the SBMVP to evaluate a long career. The award almost always goes to the winning team, and in any blowout, you can almost always remove one player, even the qb, and get the same result, with a slightly better than replacement value player. In a close game there is almost always random events, or plays made by many players other than who wims the MVP, where, if you just change one play, you get a different outcome. Tyree doesn't pin the ball to his helmet. Welker makes the catch. Norwood makes the kick. Vinitieri misses the kick. Harrison gets tackled. Billups drops the int a junior high player usually catches. Etc., Etc., Etc.. Change these plays by the non-MVP, and you get a different Super Bowl MVP, which tells you the stat has very little value in evaluating the quality of the career. Tyree and Welker had zero to do with Eli's quality as a player, but if we alter their performance on two sngle plays, over Eli's 12 year career, and nobody is touting Eli as a HOFer, and I say that as someone who thinks this piece, which produced this thread, understates Eli's career somewhat.

62
by Kaelik :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 10:35pm

So... his unique feature is that he did a thing in a championship game that lots of other people did not in a championship game, but he was the only one who did it in a superbowl? By that logic like eight people deserve a SuperBowlMVP every single superbowl.

Like, this is so silly on so many levels that I'm confused.

1) If you replaced Eli Manning with Jay Cutler on an particularly Cutlerian day, he could have thrown 4TDs and 3 Interceptions before that point, and they could have just won the game without Eli Manning. People don't deserve to be rewarded for fucking up for 3 quarters by saying "They couldn't have won without him on that last drive!"

2) Things that people do all the time in the regular season are not more impressive when done in the superbowl, just more watched. Jay Cutler led a game winning TD drive when a TD was needed on November 9, 2015. He also had a better completion percentage and more yards. Now, it was against San Diego, who was a worse defense than the 2007 Patriots, but that's and the one play are the only reasons that Eli's was more impressive, not because it happened to occur in a game.

3) Needing 3 points and getting a touchdown is in all meaningful ways literally identical to needing 4 points and getting a touchdown in terms of how impressive the feat is, by that metric, fuck tons of people have done the same thing, which is kind of the point. When you are making up completely artificial distinctions that have absolutely no bearing on the value or talent of the player, that's a great time to realize that your "never been done before" metric is completely arbitrary. I mean at various points, someone needed 1:20 to score, and they did and they were the only person to have scored said game winning drive needing 1:20 rather than 1:19 or 1:21, but if they score in one minute, it isn't more or less impressive if they needed 1:20 or 1:19.

4) How am I diminishing that play. I agree, that play was the greatest play in super bowl history. But one play doesn't make someone the MVP, just like one game doesn't make you MVP of a season even if you throw 9 TDs that game, you still aren't Season MVP if you only have 15 TDs in the season. He was definitely the most valuable player of the Play, he was the most valuable player of the drive (easy when the entire defensive line is off the field). Doesn't mean he is most valuable player of the game by any metric aside from "Quarterback Wins" where all wins automatically belong exclusively to QBs and no one else gets any credit.

70
by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:50am

Eli Manning was the deserved SBMVP of SB 42. Enough of this silliness. It's not because of one play. And that one play that's being talked about is maybe the most memorable play in SB history. Not sure why some of you fight this so hard. The defense was dominant. They were incredible. They got beat in the end by a HOF QB. Another HOF QB ran onto the field and ripped the Lombardi out of his hands. You trying to convince me that Jay Cutler does that???

93
by Kaelik :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:01pm

Uh.... He threw for 255 yards with a 54% completion ratio and a 2:1 TD to interception ratio. Any QB in the League could do that on any given day. Jay Cutler could have easily led two QB drives in the first three quarters of the game, allowing his team to sit there and do nothing in the fourth quarter an still win, so could have Eli Manning, so could have almost any other NFL starter caliber quarterback in the league.

In fact, here is a list of quarterbacks that led three or more scoring drives against that same defense that same year: Derek Anderson, Cleo Lemon, Peyton Manning, A.J. Feely, Kyle Bowler, Eli Manning (Regular Season when he lead 5 scoring drives), and David Garrard.

So yes, Cutler could easily have thrown for an entire two TDs against that defense. So could have Eli, and that's the point. If Eli had lead two TDs in the first and second quarter, they would have won that game just as well with him doing nothing in the 4th quarter, and Eli Manning would have been just as valuable a player, and would have been just as deserving of the MVP, which is to say, not at all.

139
by Jimmy Oz :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 6:49pm

Steve Smith bobbled a catch into the arms of Ellis Hobbs for the interception.

140
by Kaelik :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 7:06pm

And David Tyree jumped up and pinned a jumpball to his helmet. Breaks go both directions, if you want to "not count" the result of weird breaks, that's going to hurt Eli a lot more than help him (for that specific game, in general over his career, no comment).

145
by Jimmy Oz :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:37pm

Yeah, but it's not on Eli that Tyree made the Helmet Catch instead of catching it normally. What's your point?

148
by Kaelik :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:56pm

My point is that Manning had a bad 3 quarters followed by a good quarter, and that on any metric other than "most dramatic" the impressive performance of the defense (especially Tuck) in shooting down the second greatest offense ever (greatest at the time) to 14 points would have earned a defensive MVP.

155
by Jimmy Oz :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 12:13am

I disagree with using facts extraneous to the super bowl in your belief Tuck should have gotten the MVP. While the Patriots may have been the greatest ever offense, that's not something that happens in the Super Bowl, so I don't it's fair to factor in, for example, what the Patriots did in week 11 v Buffalo in the decision.

I disagree that Manning had a bad three quarters. I think he was average without getting much help from his team. Smith bobbled the INT on the Patriots 14 yard line. Adalius Thomas absolutely flew (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E47HdQorClI) past the tackle and forced a sack-fumble when the Giants were on the New England 25 yard line, with a subsequent penalty on the play for an illegal bat pushing them out of FG range. I think you've discounted those couple of times Eli got the Giants into scoring positions but came away empty through little fault of his own.

I disagree that awarding the MVP to a defensive player as the Patriots had just gone ahead on a 5 minute, 12 play drive. Essentially you're ignoring Eli's 2 minute drill heroics to award the game to a defender who was part of the unit that had, prior to the Giants TD, just lost the game for the Giants.

157
by Kaelik :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 3:18am

"I disagree that awarding the MVP to a defensive player as the Patriots had just gone ahead on a 5 minute, 12 play drive. Essentially you're ignoring Eli's 2 minute drill heroics to award the game to a defender who was part of the unit that had, prior to the Giants TD, just lost the game for the Giants."

No I'm awarding the award based on four entire quarters, instead of one quarter or one drive, and that's kind of my point. Yeah, you can totally declare that the first three quarters don't count because......... well I have no idea why you think that. But if you don't have Justin Tuck on the field for the first three quarters, then you have a 27-17 score and no one remembers or cares that Eli leads two fourth quarter TDs against a Prevent Defense.

172
by Jimmy Oz :: Fri, 08/05/2016 - 12:39am

"No I'm awarding the award based on four entire quarters"
Yesterday you were awarding the award because of the Patriots' exploits over the entire season.

"But if you don't have Justin Tuck on the field for the first three quarters, then you have a 27-17 score and no one remembers or cares that Eli leads two fourth quarter TDs against a Prevent Defense."
So now you're awarding the award based on four entire quarters .... of a game that occurs only in your head where you remove each of the participants and replace them with a back-up and imagine what the final score would be. In those simulations, I would have thought that if the backup left tackle was up against Adalius Thomas then there would've been mayhem & so by your logic, David Diehl should've got the MVP.

End of the day I just don't think its the travesty you imagine it that Eli got the MVP.

89
by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:47pm

"Doesn't mean he is most valuable player of the game by any metric aside from "Quarterback Wins" where all wins automatically belong exclusively to QBs and no one else gets any credit."

Where are Big Ben's SBMVPS? Russell Wilson? Peyton's recent one?

95
by Kaelik :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:04pm

??? It's a fucking hypothetical. The only one by which Eli Manning deserves that Superbowl MVP. Why is this so hard to understand, making up a hypothetical metric as the only one that could reasonably give Eli the MVP does not involve any descriptive statement about literally any other game besides the 2007 Superbowl.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:02pm

What are you talking about? YOU are the one presenting nonsensical hypotheticals. Jay Cutler? Fact is Eli Manning is the only QB to win a championship with a winning drive knowing only a TD would win. It's been done and seen and recorded. This isn't hard to understand unless you have the mental and emotional capacity of a door knob.

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by Kaelik :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 6:30pm

1) Jay Cutler is the only QB to hold a franchise record while being named Jay Cutler.

Being named Jay Cutler is equally as relevant to the impressiveness of that feat as "knowing you need a touchdown" is to orchestrating a game winning TD drive.

2) Eli Manning sucked for 3 quarters. This is relevant to the determination of Super Bowl MVP because Super Bowls are often 4 quarters long, and so to be the most valuable player for the superbowl, you need to be the most valuable in aggregate over four quarters. Sucking is not evidence of Eli's deservingness, even if it did make his brief good play more dramatic.

3) Lots of people have done the same thing in non superbowl games, and it wasn't so impressive that people universally declared them the games MVP, because game winning TD drives are pretty common, in the greater scheme of things.

4) Any number of other mediocre to good QBs could have won that game the same as Eli.

All of these are easy points to understand, if you actually tried to even pretend to read and address them, instead of pasting the same copy paste about how your favorite QB is the first person named Eli to have thrown a TD pass in a superbowl and therefore DID SOMETHING NO ONE ELSE EVER DID IN THE HISTORY OF THE NFL, AND HAD TO BE REWARDED!

40
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:56pm

I played the game so trust me I understand the game. When someone presents a counter argument to yours, don't get sensitive about it. Every media head had Justin Tucks name on the ticket for SBMVP until Eli did something no one had ever seen or has seen again. They respect the game and its history and immediately crossed out Tucks name and put Eli Manning there. As a fan and player, I saw what Eli did there and understood the significance of it. He absolutely deserved that SBMVP and as integral as Tuck was, had he received it, there would have been an uproar. If you don't get the enormity of that moment, it is you that really doesn't understand the game. Spare me the attitude sir.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:37pm

While that's valid, the team isn;t even own those games without his play. The defense played great through the playoffs. They were far from great prior.

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by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:15pm

Don't forget that two of those pro bowls were as a replacement selection. If the votes could be trusted, I'd say that that should matter and that replacement selections don't count... but I'm not going to sit here and pretend that Derek Carr should have been picked before Eli last year.

(I hate that so many QBs get to claim Pro Bowls nowadays, by the way. It feels like it has been especially egregious the last two years, which wouldn't bother me except it will probably eventually serve to bias the HOF even more toward QBs. I mean, Rookie Andy Dalton can say he was a Pro Bowler. So can Jameis Winston for crying out loud! But I guess my memory fails me, as 2009 might have been the worst year of all. Although in 2010 they did put Matt Cassel in...)

29
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:07pm

I just mentioned that NFCC game. Eli Manning is a great QB. Period. He's in a great offense for him now.

69
by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:40am

Eli is the greatest non great QB? You're right, that doesn't make any sense. The whole point of the article is that he's a great QB placed in the "straight jacket" system of Kevin Gilbride and Tom Coughlin.

As for the article itself, great job. Tons of Giants fans have been frustrated since Eli came to the Giants. For fans who follow his career closely, we know that Coughlin came within an inch of ruining the franchise prize. That offense, for a rookie QB, forget how smart he is or that he's a part of Manning royalty, that offense was and is a QB killer.

Coughlin arrived as an absolute tyrant and I never could warm to him, but did grow to respect him. His brand of communication was yelling until he turned beat red. Yelling about fundamentals and bemoaning interceptions while not being able to teach the fundamentals and implementing a very high risk offense. The inflexibility and lack of imagination wore down the entire team and they often ran out of gas late in the season minus the two miracle runs.

It wasn't until Mara was determined to fire him, that Coughlin loosened his grip out of survival mode. Eli is a coach's dream. They never butted heads. He put his head down and grinded it out until he was able to work with Gilbride to make that offense operational. That offense doesn't win two SBs with anything less than a HOF QB, which is what Eli is.

Once the drafting failures mounted and talent level dropped off significantly and the injuries escalated to alarming levels, that Coughlin/Gilbride offense still refused to adjust. See the team after 2011. The year Eli threw 27 interceptions was infuriating for us fans. Here, you have Eli out there talking ALL THE BLAME. Aging Oline and receivers off the street with no clue how to run the site adjustments. Eli throws one way. The receiver goes another. The media and fans pleaded for Gilbride to simplify that system to deaf ears. There were games where the tackles were injured and the Giants were getting blown out. And Gilbride had the audacity to dial up bombs down the field. Yup. They were all intercepted and Eli got skewered.

The talent level outside of one superstar calibre wide receiver is still poor, but this new offense (and the QB) can mask a lot of those deficiencies. Great comment about Tye's stone hands. And he's likely going to be one of our starting TEs. Sigh.

Gilbride was mercifully "retired" and you started hearing rumbles from the Giants that they want to "modernize". McAdoo was brought in from Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers and McCarthy raved about the guy. He comes in and still, we don't get to see the full look of that new offense. Coughlin has his fingers all over it. They have another losing season and Coughlin is finally out. Now we all finally get to see what Eli can do. It's a shame it took so long. The Giants waited a year or two too long to fire Coughlin, but Eli is in year 3 of this efficient, sound, modern offense that fits Eli like a glove. And he is still healthy. Thank god for that.

Again, solid article. But I disagree that Eli's perception is set in stone. If he goes out now and keeps putting up these numbers, more will understand how that Coughlin/Gilbride offense "straight jacketed" a HOF QB for over a decade.

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by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:45am

That Gilbride offense that 'straight jacketed' Manning also allowed Manning to have, to date, his best season in 2011 and win both those Super Bowl MVPs that Giants fans that have hammered this comment thread claim make him a HOF-level QB.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:04pm

Straight jacketed is the writer's term and I agree with it. In 2011 he had Hakeem, Cruz, and an Oline making its last push before falling apart. He had just enough parts and he was a vet in full mastery of that offense, but that offense never dominated the way it should with a calibre of QB Eli is. Giants were never favored. The injuries piled up, the system broke down and the drafting could not replenish what that offense needed to function at a bare minimum. After the second SB, that system fell apart.

And Eli always had the reputation of a mistake prone high interception inconsistent QB. I see no problem with this article looking at the system for once instead of placing all the blame on the QB. It's one reason why so many find Eli a baffling QB. Great one day. Bad another day. Look deeper at the system for insight. He's in an efficient system now and he has quickly posted some of the best numbers of his career.

2
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 2:59pm

Cian is probably my second favorite writer, so I have a hard time saying this, but this statement is patently ridiculous:

Had Manning played in this offense over the course of his career, he would likely be viewed in higher regard. He would likely be a certain Hall of Famer and someone pushing to be viewed in the same light as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees.

Eli is left out of that tier because despite his mental skill set, he has always taken exponentially more risks than any of those four quarterbacks, been less accurate, and had vastly inferior mechanics.

Hell, even in that first gif in the 2nd and 9 throw, how is that footwork any different from what has been used as an example when skewering other QBs?

He has undoubtedly improved, of course, and it's for reasons beyond just the scheme. He went from the obvious weak link on some strong teams to the best player (well, you can say Beckham, I guess) on an otherwise weak team. His command of the game and temperament are definitely strong suits, and were even in down years. But when he was bad - and there were games and even years when he was definitely bad - it was just as much because of terrible decision making and risk taking as it was because of Gilbride or other factors.

His mind and command will continue to improve, but even with four more good years, I don't put him anywhere near the Hall of Fame. As a Giants fan I've watched him fling more ill-advised back-footed reckless passes than anyone this side of Favre. Maybe he had some bad luck with the 27 picks that year, but he had some pretty exceptional luck for most of the rest of his career. (Blindly chucking a ball down the middle of the field while off balance and being rewarded with a trophy, for instance... but mainly he was always the opposite of Flacco, maybe slightly Newtonian, frequently sailing balls very high over receivers but in parts of the field where it was dangerous.)

Maybe I've just heard too much of the RINGZ arguments through the years by people that in all seriousness held him in higher esteem than his brother (I suspect these same people are openly supporting Trump now) because he had two titles, but I don't think I can recall a single article about Eli that ever really warranted a defense that he was actually underrated... this article seems to take that approach. I don't take issue with the assessment of his play or value to the team now. But I'd argue that even at his current level, his play actually hasn't caught up to his reputation.

4
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 3:17pm

What's his reputation, though? I've encountered plenty of people through the years, me being outside the Giants fanbase, who have told me that "Eli SUCKZ!!!", which is every bit as wrong as the "RINGZ!" yelpers. I don't think it is outlandish at all to say that a better offensive scheme, for the post 2005 environment, may have moved Eli into the "fairly certain HOFer" category.

6
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 3:37pm

Well with all fandom (and politics) I guess it's both extremes. I'm used to being the contrarian in the room for pointing out that for his first several years and one ring in, Eli's stats were more comparable to Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson than they were to the QBs he was being mentioned among, while everyone delighted in picking on Romo, who was criminally underrated at that point.

It's different now. I have genuinely enjoyed watching him play for the past two years. Honestly. I'm QB-critical (hence my affinity for most things Cian writes) but even my footwork comment above is minor, and all the points made about timing are spot on. I'd have said more about just how good he is with the subtle pocket movement.

You've made me want to go re-watch that NFCCG. I remember him doing well under duress, but I don't remember it being exceptional. (His brother against Rex in the 09 playoffs is my personal best ever, DYAR be damned.)

9
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:27pm

Well, yes, not having the qb take deep drops, behind hideous pass blocking, will make watching the qb more enjoyable. This is what I've never understood about the Gilbride or Martz types, which are just about extinct. How the hell can you plan to stubbornly stick to a extremely vertical passing game, when you plainly don't have the pass blockers to execute it? It's like sticking to a rush 4, cover two scheme, even though you don't have a guy on the roster who can get 8 sacks in a season. Even the the most devoted of the cover two coordinators would not try to do that, but blockheads like Gilbride or Martz just won't adjust. Good grief.

I agree whole heartedly with your view of Romo, to me just a tiny bit below the elite HOF level, and a great qb, but having spent his career on a team "managed" by Jerrel, he'll never be recognized as such by the vast majority of fans.

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by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:30pm

The above thread based off of your post #1 is the audience I spoke of yesterday, in case you were wondering... :D

You're succumbing a bit to recency bias with regards to Eli's line. For a while there in the middle of last decade, they enjoyed perhaps the most stable O Line in the league, and while they lacked stars, they did have the time to run a slower-developing offense.

The Eli that always frustrated me wasn't the one that threw from the grasp while trailing in the fourth quarter, but the Eli who did somewhat Flacco-like things by not setting his feet and throwing high from his back leg in a clean pocket on a ball not to the sideline. (It could be argued that this is more similar to early Cam Newton than Flacco, actually).

Speaking of Romo and Eli and the hall, timely article today by Barnwell from his prison in Bristol... he gives Eli 40% and Romo sub-10% chances.

I have always viewed the non-A A Ron three R QBs to be criminally underrated as compared to Eli. For many years I would argue that the Giants would have been a stronger team year in, year out, with ANY of the three of them.

Lately I'm actually not so sure. He'll never match Romo and Rivers for their release and accuracy or Ben's ability to go downfield regardless of pocket time, and all four are mentally skilled, but this newer Eli is really very good. And maybe even yeah, underrated now. But 04-13? I'm still going to go with way overrated.

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by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:18pm

New Eli may be very good. Rivers and Ben are / were better and have had better years than peak Eli.

5
by Cian Fahey :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 3:36pm

"Hell, even in that first gif in the 2nd and 9 throw, how is that footwork any different from what has been used as an example when skewering other QBs?"

It wasn't as pronounced and the ball arrived in a perfect spot.

7
by Dave Bernreuther :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 3:39pm

That it did.

But if you wanted to find plays to demonstrate a pattern of back-foot throwing, you certainly could.

(They were just a lot more dangerous back in the deeper offense.)

8
by Cian Fahey :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:04pm

Sure but mechanics are player-specific. They only really come into the analysis when there is a reason for them to. If Manning has this footwork throughout his whole career but his passes are always accurate, it's not an issue. When it's been used in these articles in the past it's been used to explain inaccuracy.

Bad mechanics themselves aren't really a problem. Look at Philip Rivers.

81
by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:37pm

I agree with that. I mean, Cam Newton.

83
by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:53pm

There's a guy who's gonna be wearing the ugly yellow blazer this weekend who was able to scrape by with pretty iffy mechanics. Unfortunately, I think a lot of other qbs watched what he did for about 20 years, and said to themselves, "Gosh, I don't think I need to be mechanically sound, either". Not so much (cough, COUGH, CUTLER!, COUGH, cough).

82
by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:51pm

Were I inclined, I could probably go back and find a few dozen examples of deeper throws that were sailed on one-footed deliveries. These were the ones that always infuriated me as a fan. Younger Eli would often make throws like that from clean pockets. Always just seemed kind of lazy to me because he was perfectly accurate when his mechanics were more textbook.

84
by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:55pm

Yeah, older brother was a lot more disciplined in that regard, and it did make a difference.

14
by RavenPl :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:44pm

If you're a Giants fan, and you come to those conclusions, you should watch more carefully. That Coughlin/Gilbride offense would have done in a lesser QB. Mike Sullivan went to Tampa with that offense and got fired. His QB, though, was Josh Freeman. Charlie Casserly, Sal Pal, and others have repeatedly said that Eli is a great QB, elite QB.

That Gilbride offense was brutal. Casserly said just today that he always saw Eli as an elite QB and now he's in an offense where he can show off what he can do. The notion that Eli can't rewrite history is utter nonsense. If anything, if he goes and throws 40 tds more people will begin wondering why Coughlin insisted on pushing that vertical offense on a QB who was a perfect fit for the no huddle offense, the WCO.

85
by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:58pm

It amuses me to be accused of not watching football carefully.

I prefer the deeper throwing Coryell-based systems, so I'm always going to have a soft spot for them, although I do think Gilbride is an idiot and always have... but I still don't blame the offense when a receiver is open, the QB has time (as he did back in the latter half of last decade), and he throws it over his head and it gets picked.

A QB can still play poorly when the offense is dumb. Eli did plenty of that for many years. He also showed flashes of brilliance. Hence the word inconsistent. You're allowed to hold him to a higher standard and be upset when he doesn't meet it. But let's stop short of blaming the entire thing on the offense even when he does dumb things. (Which he does much less of now, of course.)

3
by Theo :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 3:11pm

"...and someone pushing to be viewed in the same light as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees."
and Ben Roethlisberger.

15
by RavenPl :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:46pm

Why Ben Roethlisberger?

52
by Theo :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:56pm

Because Ben has been in the top 3 or 4 in his career with those guys mentioned.
And I surely rate him over Eli.

58
by RT2008 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 8:51pm

Man, Ben is over rated.

71
by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:17am

Not sure about overrated but he's had some pretty good teams.

78
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:17pm

Overrated? I'm not a close viewer of the Steelers but it seems to me they found their franchise QB and are happy with him.

I have vague memories of them being unsettled with Tommy Maddox and the Kordell 'Slash' Stewart experiment and all Ben did in his rookie season was go 15-1 and then win the SB in the 2nd year. Not to say he was wholly responsible for all that success but the team seemed like it had found the person it needed to play QB.

Going further back Neil O'Donnell was probably their best option but he left and his reputation is trashed by those SB ints.

From this end of his career, if he's overrated I'm wondering why Michael Vick, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch - all guys who've been solid starters elsewhere haven't displaced him since he arrived?

168
by Alaska Jack :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 2:36pm

But why Ben Roethlisberger?

171
by Theo :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 7:09pm

Have you seen the guy make everyone around him better?
Linemen who shouldn't be starting win superbowls. Wide receivers are developed and are great with him throwing. Runningbacks are run into the ground... wait, that's on Tomlin.
TEs... well Heath Miller just retired and played his whole career there, but he was pretty damn good.

All in all, I got to say that Ben is a prototypical guy who makes players around him better instead of the other way around.

176
by Alaska Jack :: Fri, 08/05/2016 - 1:58pm

I know. I was trying to make a Zoolander joke. - AJ

10
by RavenPl :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:30pm

"The story of Eli Manning's career can't be rewritten at this point. Manning is 35. He will be remembered as an inconsistent regular-season starter who got hot at the right time... twice. He could be a Hall of Famer once he retires, but he will be a borderline case."

LOL. That's how YOU GUYS see his career and, like your stats, it is way off. Nice way to cover your tracks as Eli is ascending with this new offense. It's an offense he should have played in his entire career. His scouting report coming out of college was, "This is a perfect QB for the WCO." Coughlin/Gilbride nearly ruined his career out of the starting gate. But you can't destroy HOF QBs. The 'borderline HOF case' line is nonsense. He's not borderline. And his career isn't over. He's one of only 5 multiple SBMVPS in NFL history, he holds the record for most fourth quarter touchdowns and his numbers All Time will be in the Top 10- Top 5 in every major category.

Stat geek sites like Football Outsiders and PFF wrote Eli off last season when he's only been getting better. That Gilbride offense was widely known to everyone who wasn't clueless, as a QB killing offense.

Eli's career IS being rewritten and STILL being written to this day. Love how these stat geeks are now starting to cover their awful myopic criticism now that Eli is getting praise from everywhere for what he was able to accomplish last season with ONE weapon to throw to, and THE MOST injured rosters by far. Sit down, FO. Buddy Ryan punched Kevin Gilbride in the face because he hated that offense so much. Giants fans can do the same to you stat geeks who wrote Eli off and threw dirt on it.

11
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:32pm

Lighten up, Francis.

13
by RavenPl :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:36pm

What a weak response. LOL

17
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 4:49pm

Your hysterical tone is deserving of such a response. Hence the instruction to lighten up.

19
by RavenPl :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:05pm

There's nothing hysterical about it, Francis.

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:17pm

The caps lock reveals you. Just dial back a bit. You have the elements of a decent argument.

24
by Bdton979 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:30pm

I don't mind his passion at all. There's been some unfair analysis about Eli Manning over the years. PFF in particular.

26
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:37pm

PFF really isn't a stats site, and the term "stats geek" is just stupid rhetoric which adds nothing to understanding. Passion need not be dumb.

43
by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:03pm

stat geek is a ridiculous comment. People use statistics to evaluate results because everything else is a barstool value judgement thats easy to make an impossible to refute. "Eli has two rings, he's a winner, nuff said"/

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:51pm

PFF isn't a stat site; it's a consultant/marketing company. They create content and sell it. The content and its value is purely subjective based on the buyer.

104
by Dave Bernreuther :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:55pm

For what it's worth (which I'm aware is precisely nothing to you):

If you take Eli's numbers from ONLY these last two seasons - which are his best - they're still substantially shy of the career averages of Brady, Brees, Manning, and Rodgers.* Substantially. His INT% is the only one of the meaningful categories that blends in with that of the sure-fire HOF QBs. His career-best ANY/A is lower than Rodgers' average, which is astonishing.

Again, this is just a comparison of his BEST seasons. This changes quite a bit when you include the other ten seasons.

I'm not saying 62-63% completions and 2.3% INT rate is anything to sneeze at, and I expect it to get even slightly better if the rest of the team improves, but let's also not pretend that those are exceptional, either. In a pass-friendly league and a west coast offense, it isn't hard to exceed 65%. Which, by the way, all of the above except Brady have done on average over their entire careers. (And Manning and Brees ran Coryell offenses.) I'm not saying that it's easy to put up excellent numbers in a WCO, of course... but it's easier than in other offenses. Likewise, being a top 10 QB is impressive.

But please stop shouting that even performance like that in these last two seasons would be some sort of slam-dunk Hall case.

*- (Also, Rivers and Romo. In fact, rates and averages-wise, his best comparison is actually Ben.)

22
by Bdton979 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:28pm

Eli will go down as one of the most fascinating QBs in NFL history. There will be the Coughlin Era Vertical offense Eli and then the McAdoo WCO Era Eli. You will see different QBs. We're already seeing it. He will also be a HOF QB. I disagree with Cian saying he's a borderline case. Also disagree with this "he got hot twice" notion. It's disrespectful to a player who has played every single snap, holds every franchise passing record, and is already top 10 All Time in passing and tds. You don't reach those milestones by getting hot.

You also have guys on the HOF committee already coming out and saying Eli is a HOFer. As painful as it may be for Football Outsiders to admit, it is the Hall of Fame. Not the Hall of Stats. He is already a part of NFL history on the highest levels. I don't see him as being on Mount Rushmore like his brother, but Eli is royalty too.

What's fascinating is, if Eli starts putting up League MVP numbers from here on out, people will start to question that Gilbride offense. See it as an offense that held Eli back. It never highlighted his strengths. If everything was perfect, then it was unstoppable. It was rarely unstoppable. Ironically, it was unstoppable on the rare occasions when Eli went into the two minute drill. It was simple, and it played up tempo. Too many times, Giants fans would repeat the mantra, "Keep it simple stupid." And why not. Play fast. Play smart and efficient. Especially when you have a QB who can't think like quicksilver at the LOS. It should be fun to watch. I'm rooting for Eli to, shall we say, write his history...twice.

23
by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:28pm

I feel like its a stretch to attribute all(or even most) of his inconsistencies to the offensive coordinator. If you make that argument, you could then make the same argument for other qbs who have busted out.

25
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:34pm

Sure you could, and you'd be right to do so. The only reason why Bradshaw is in the HOF, and Archie Manning is known by most fans as father to Peyton and Eli, is because of the teams they were drafted by. Rverse their birthdays, and Archie is likely said by a lot, if not all, fans as being better than his sons, and Bradshaw may not even be famous for his broadcasting career, much less football career. He might have busted out by 1977.

27
by Bdton979 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 5:42pm

I think it's valid, actually. Look back at Eli's early years. He had Jeremy Shockey actually free styling his routes. He never studied and Eli took the heat every time. Result? "Inconsistent Eli". Shockey gets injured and enter Kevin Boss. Studious, smart TE and he thrived.

Amani was a vet. Knew what he was doing. And Plax was football smart. You had to be smart to run that overly complicated offense. You also need time to learn it. Look at Steve Smith in SB 42 no less, running the wrong route. It was the Asante Samuel play where you see Eli lose his mind and scream at him. We find out later from Plax that Smith was often at the LOS with Eli changing the play and Smith is asking Plax what his route is. Point is, the coaches put a ton on the QBs plate and it bogged down the entire offense. Not all QBs have the mental capacity to handle this and so the coaches dumb things down out of necessity. Maybe Eli would have been better off being a meathead? He might have better stats. Lol.

30
by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:08pm

Terry Bradshaw is remembered for wins. Here I'm talking about production value via passing. On this, Eli's biggest issue has been his consistency.

Curiously, by dvoa - the giants pass dvoa was not in the top 10 in either ben mcadoo season and actually 18th this year.

Remember what the disagreement is about. Its not that Eli has had a tougher time at qb. Sure he has. But if he had a better coordinator, he'd be remember with the likes of Brady, Manning, and Rodgers. I find that argument much more plausible for Philip Rivers than I do Eli. Eli has never looked anything like those three and has never had a statistical year even coming close to some of their best.

33
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:18pm

Yeah, it's a team game, and if you don't think how most of these careers are viewed would fluctuate wildly based upon what teams they played on, we're gona have to agree to disagree. Joe Montana gets drafted by the Cardinals, Jim Kelly by the Bucs, and there's a decent chance we don't think all that much of their careers.

42
by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:01pm

I don't disagree that public perception would be different for many of these qbs. But that's because the public has a horrible way of evaluating careers - there's just no logical consistency to their views. But my point was really on the claim, Eli is really a hall of fame level quarterback whos inconsistencies were the result of gilbride. That I find far-fetched.

Also, I feel like PM or Jon Elway could go anywhere and still be successful.

46
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:06pm

I'm not just saying public perception would change, I'm saying their statistical measure of productivity would vary wildly. I realy do think the Giants are a weird situation, with a pretty good head coach, and a pretty mediocre at best o-coordinator. It's a tough situation to evaluate.

49
by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:16pm

I think their statistical measure would change. But I feel like the seasons from PM, Brady and Rodgers have been so dominant that its hard for me to see Eli reproducing those even with a better roster/offensive coordinator.

If we take out P Manning's horrible last year and rookie year, Eli has never had a season better than any of the other PM Led seasons.

67
by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:43am

You'd be crazy to argue that Eli would be on the same level as Peyton, if Eli had a better coaching situation, but that isn't the same thing as arguing that Eli's career would be a more certain of HOF consideration if he'd had an offensive coordinator better suited for the post 2004 environment.

I don't mean to go overboard, but I d think Cian sells him a bit short in the piece, mostly because I think the current environment is so much friendlier to old qbs The biggest reason is that you can't hit then like they used to get hit, and the most certain thing about old guys is that they can't take the pounding younger guys can absorb. Combined with offenses which emphasize quick diagnosis and identification, and I thik we are going to keep seeing post 35 qbs have MVP caliber seasons.

Overall, though, I do think the Eli fans over emphasize Super Bowl MVPs. A good rule of thumb for evaluating any players HOD credentials, in terms of making sure you are evaluating player production, as opposed to team production, is a simple test. In any HOF candidate, and asl yourself this question: if you change any 5 plays, or maybe even 10 plays of guys other than the HOF candidate, and replace that play, good or bad, with what the average player usually dos in that situation, is your candidate still a HOFer? You can change what anybody not named Montana, Elway, Marino, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Anthony Munoz, Larry Allen, Reggie White, Bruce Smith, Emmitt Smith, Barry Sanders, Jerry Rice, Tony Fernandez, and a lot of other guys, did on 5 or even 10 plays, and those guys are still certain HOFers. Change what Tyree and Welker did on two plays and very few people think Eli Manning is a HOFer, and I say that as a guy who thinks that scheme has really reduced Eli's productivity.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:32am

That's fair. I probably shouldn't be comparing Eli to Peyton, but then I shouldn't be comparing anyone to Peyton. Not to go overboard on my fanboyness, but Peyton, I feel, answered every kind of question about his value in a vacuum. And even in his last season,w here I thought he was truly an awful qb, he validated my long held belief that sb rings don't = greatness.

As for Eli - at this point, if you just asked me based on what I saw, he's not an obvious hall of famer. I think Romo and Rivers are better qbs. Now, could I be persuaded if he experiences an uptick in performance the way Roethlisburger's last two years have? Sure. ANd in fact, Ben is a nice example as his last two years have been way out of character from his previous seasons. So you have a reasonable facsimile there.

I remain open minded and football is definitely a sport that has constantly made me change my mind. I guess, since I'm picking a side, I tend to side that he won't get there the way Cian thinks he will, but I could easily be wrong.

What I will dispute is this notion that its a given that he's a hall of fame elite qb and all these prior seasons where he struggled were the result of someone else. It COULD be true, but its not obvious that it is.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:04pm

Did you really just make the argument about the HOF and use Emmitt Smith as support? That's pretty funny. I mean it could be worse, you could have said Aikman and it would have been just as ridiculous.

I agree with your overarching point that SB wins and SB MVPs should not be deciding factors for HOF induction. But they are the result of consistent, superior aggregate play...for how long is not terribly material.

The HOF is a subjective honor; Manning will very likely get in for that reason.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:27pm

Did you really read what I wrote? Try again.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:33pm

I did.

Emmitt Smith is the statistical streetlamp for drunken support, not illumination.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:37pm

You didn't.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 3:07pm

Sure, if that make you feel better, have at it.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 3:11pm

Im confused. What part of Will's statement was ridiculous with regards to Emmitt Smith?

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 4:03pm

It struck me funny because Smith doesn't pass Will's testing criteria.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 4:17pm

Yes, he does.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 4:27pm

You're right. I'm thinking of it from the POV of swapping the average player and getting the same result, which is what I assumed was the point of the criteria. Swapping the average RB into Smith's spot for 5 or 10 plays wouldn't change his career stats. Swapping the average RB in for 75% of his career plays puts an entirely different guy not named Emmitt Smith in the HOF.
But yeah, 5 or 10 plays wouldn't change the fortunes of any HOFer position player save for some QBs because that's the nature of the QB position.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:09pm

You still didn't read what I wrote. What I wrote was asking yourself, when looking at a HOF candidate, whether if you swapped out ONE OF THE CANDIDATE'S TEAMMATES, OR OPPONENTS, for 5 to 10 plays over the course of the candidate's career, and replace with it with average performance on those plays, does the candidate's case weakena lot? The point being we are looking at a variable that has zero to do with the candidate, for a tiny number of plays, and getting a wildly different evaluation of a guy's HOF candidacy. This tells you the guy is not, objectively, a good HOF candidate. The strongest case against Eli is that if we change the performance on just two plays by wide receivers, Tyree and Welker, hardly anybody would be saying Eli is a HOFer. I'm hard pressed to think of too many other guys like that. Namath may not be a HOFer absent the SB III win, and that game changes quite a bit if Earl Morrall doesn't have a brain fart in the 1st half, with a wide open receiver in the end zone, but it is still far from clear that the Colts would have won the game. Eli's pretty unique, in having so much of his HOF candidacy resting so much on the victor of two extremely close games.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:26pm

I read it that way but dismissed it as I assumed it was a typo and that you meant the player because that is such a specific and arbitrary view. Do you honestly believe that's a valid determination criteria? It assume that those plays could be changed but that everything else in the game would play out exactly the same? That's just not consistent with any reality I have every experienced.
I can't agree that the strongest case against him is that if we change the performance on just two plays by wide receivers, Tyree and Welker, hardly anybody would be saying Eli is a HOFer because it throws out far too many other plays and games that led to the SBs. Tyree made a crazy catch but we have all seen mediocre players make random great plays. Had that been a different average WR, who is to say he wouldn't have made the catch as well? The catch in and of itself was hardly superhuman, a taller WR or one with a better vertical leap probably wouldn't have needed to pin it on his head. Welker dropped a poorly thrown pass, one that he usually catches, maybe a different WR catches it, maybe he doesn't...that's just football. These seem to be oddly specific ex post facto items that just happen to fit into an equally odd and random criteria test.

If the argument was instead that had the Giants not won those SB games no one would be saying Eli is a HOFer, I agree completely. But that's a QB issue, not an Eli Manning issue.

Further, if the idea is to remove team accomplishments from the HOF criteria - which is not an invalid premise - how does this 5 play test work for Aikman? He was hardly great but the team was. The 5 play test doesn't work for him does that mean we have to pretend he was great? I think the QB criteria is the mess and while I (now) understand what you were getting at with the random test, to me it smacks of backing into a criteria from the conclusion.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:31pm

" Do you honestly believe that's a valid determination criteria? It assume that those plays could be changed but that everything else in the game would play out exactly the same? That's just not consistent with any reality I have every experienced. " -

Do you believe if someone sampled 5 minutes of your adult life, they could get a full and accurate understanding of you as a person? Or would you prefer someone got a much longer and richer experience before they made their judgements?

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 7:53pm

It would of course depend on the validity of the criteria they choose. Neither is ideal, the latter is obviously presented as the preferred approach.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:32pm

I'm having an extremely difficult time communicating with you, so I think I'll just wish you well.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 7:55pm

I feel similarly, so I agree that's best and same to you.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:34pm

dupe post..

35
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:28pm

Well Eli's stats might look different feasting on the hapless Raiders for a decade in perfect weather like Rivers. For a long time, not recently, the NFCE was one of the toughest divisions, played in tough weather. Your stats will suffer outdoors in the winter in East Rutherford vs San Diego against a poor AFC West team. That's why I think post season and SB play, the ability to raise your game says a lot more than throwing 5 tds or 500 something yards against bad teams in week 4 game.

And considering Eli has beat Brady and Rodgers in huge games, I think it's a bit of a stretch to say he's never looked anything like those guys. They do play in offenses that cater to their strengths though. Which Eli is finally in one now.

36
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:33pm

The NFC East has never been a particularly tough division for the entire time Eli has played in it. The Eagles with Reid were quite good, but the Cowboys and Redskins have been incompetently run, save whatever mitigating effects Parcells and Gibbs could lend for a few years. This hasn't been like having the Steelers, Ravens, and latter day Bengals on the schedule for 6 games a year.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:58pm

Having run regressions on weather for its affect on YAC and Pressure(still doing it now) - the effect is not as large as you think, barring for extremely cold weather games - which at most Eli has played 5 in his career(I don't have the table in front of me). Most of the time, its the home road split that tends to be the difference maker.

Furthermore, its a bit intellectually dishonest to say because Eli "beat" Tom Brady and Rodgers, he's on their level or has been. Mark Sanches "beat" Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in successive weeks. Ditto for Joe Flacco. In fact, Flacco has a claim as having the best post season run of any qb in the last decade. And we see what CIan has to say about him.

As for Rivers, he doesn't play for the team I root for, but I still notice just how disastrously the chargers roster and organization has faired in the years after LT retired. Say what you will about Eli's offensive coordinator, the giants have been a well run, if rigid organization throughout Eli's career. T

45
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:03pm

Eli played great in those games. People say Rodgers beat the Giants. Brady beat the Chargers. It's a figure of speech. And Flacco played great on the road during his SB run. He gets too much grief.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 7:15pm

People say that, but that doesn't mean anything outside of some pre-conceived agenda. And you used it a counter to my claim that Eli has never had a season approaching the quality of the qbs hes being compared to/

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by RT2008 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 8:42pm

Never? Go look at Eli's 2011 season the year he won his second SBMVP. He's the only QB to throw for over 4900 yards and win the SBMVP the same year. He broke the fourth quarter touchdown record taking it from Peyton and Unitas. C'mon. Jeez. Do people only remember the bad about Eli? It sure seems like it sometimes.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 11:46pm

2011 was a very good season. It was also the only season of elis career that was in the top 5 in dvoa. I realize dvoa evaluates the whole team, but that cuts both ways. Plus Gilbride - the person who everyone is blaming here - was the coordinator. The best offensive dvoa of any giants team, including those coordinated by macadoo, was with gilbride.

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by RT2008 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 8:39pm

Intellectually dishonest? They all talk like that. Lol. We all talk like that. NFL network just asked Jared Goff who he most wants to play against. He said Tom Brady. Not a defender. A rival QB.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 8:42pm

You are right. Its not intellectually dishonest, its intellectually lazy. Whether that's any better, take your pick.

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by RT2008 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 9:05pm

Intellectually lazy? Well, all those QBs and NFL players out there sure do give a crap about you thinking they're intellectually lazy. Lmao.

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by theslothook :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 11:00pm

The intellectually lazy view is that so and so is better because of wins. This isn't tennis.

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by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:11pm

Tennis, good one. Ha! Advantage theslothook.

What I'm wondering is why all the WINZ guys came out to complain about a post actually sticking up for Eli. I mean, what's the point of coming to argue that to an advanced stats site? Just a waste of time and good pixels.

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by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:20pm

Pure guess, but I feel like this got posted to some Giants blog somewhere.

Don't recognize a lot of these pro-Eli voices and the way they are arguing seems like people who came across the premise, read the post, and then got enraged by the idea of Eli Manning not having been good earlier or whatever.

Could be wrong, of course.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:57pm

I agree. Those three QBs are really the only elite (what an awful, meaningless word to describe a football player) QBs in the league for quite some time. Manning resides in the next level down along with many other very, very good QBs. Arguing about the order of the next tier is ridiculous as those rankings will pretty much move around every year based on the variables that impact QB play. But the players in that tier are generally consistent to the subset.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:19am

What makes Eli's case so interesting is that he's so good. The other guys busted out.

28
by MikeG40 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:05pm

Too late for Manning to alter his perception? Disagree with that. Sorry guys.

All it takes is one big fantasy year. Lol. His perception is already changing. He's getting mentioned as a potential All Pro and League MVP candidate. Analysts are looking back at his last two years and praising him, rightly. Many in the league root for Eli to reach that elite pinnacle and stay there. If he puts up more 35+ TD and low int seasons, the perception of him as in inconsisntent interception prone QB will fall away quickly. Not good news for peeps who have always labeled him as such, but the rest will have moved on. And out of all the QBs playing right now, Eli Manning hoisting another Lombardi would surprise me the least. This guy is headed to the HOF. It's great to finally see him in an offense that fits him like a glove. Good dude. Great player. I will never forget his gritty performance against the Niners in that NFCC game.

31
by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 6:10pm

I ddo think Cian was giving too little emphasis to how frequently we have seen post age 35 qbs having MVP caliber seasons in recent years. The guy has terrific receivers, and good coaching. Hell, even the Giants defensive liabilities may help him have MVP seasons, and playing in New York will aid him in a close comtest.

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by RT2008 :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 8:47pm

This is a good article. Brings up something that Giants fans know all too well. We've been SCREAMING for Eli to play in a different offense. Begging and screaming for years. We hated Gilbride aka Killdrive, especially for Eli. It's a unique situation because we saw Peyton play and knew that Eli was just as smart and more athletic than Peyton. We saw how he commanded the no huddle. If Coughlin loosened his grip a little and like Ernie Accorsi said, "This is a guy you have to just let him play," then we would see Eli thrive. I think Eli throws more tds and less ints this year, year 3 in McAdoo's offense. Really excited to see Eli embracing this WCO. It's perfect for him.

One minor gripe though. Disagree that Eli's rather unflattering rep as described here is set in stone. Things change overnight in this NFL. People won't hold on to the negative if he starts putting up elite numbers.

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by JasonK :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 10:55pm

I guess I'll be the one to defend Kevin Gilbride.

Here's the thing. Eli throwing 27 INTs was in the Gilbride offense, sure. But Eli's team making 2 improbable playoff runs was also in the Gilbride offense. I know that putting serious weight into a handful of games like that is generally contrary to the FO way of doing business, but there's still something there. Gilbride's offense was difficult to run and made for poor overall QB stats, but when it was "on," the Giants could score on any defense.

It's a high-variance gambit, which actually makes sense for a team like the 2007-2012 NYG, whose overall talent level was closer to a fringe playoff participant, than that of a consensus contender. (Except 2008-- that team was fantastic, until it was undone by DL injuries and WR dumbassery.) With that personnel, a WCO-type system that maximizes regular season passing stats is probably going to encounter a defense that it simply can't handle at some point on the way to the 3 or 4 playoff wins you need for a Title. Gilbride's system gave them a puncher's chance in every one of those games.

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by Will Allen :: Tue, 08/02/2016 - 11:22pm

I think a more fully descriptive way of looking at those teams is that off the charts defensive front play in the latter part of 2007, extending into 2008, until derailed by injury, assisted by good qb and o-line play, made the Giants really great for a short span. By 2009 the the d-fron had declined significantly, the o-line plummeted into the Marianas trench, and Eli was left holding the bag. Then, the d-front recovered somewhat, the o-line, while still poor, no longer looked liked it was auditioning for "The Walking Dead" in titular roles, and Eli Manning was playing like a God. Then, evreything kinda' slipped again, including Eli. Your point about high variance likely has some merit, I'd say.T

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:33am

I think Gilbride does get too much blame from myself included. Ultimately it all goes through Coughlin and to poor drafting. Those ultimately did Gilbride in and you know he's just itching to talk about it, but his son is employed by the Giants so he'll stay as quiet as possible for now. Gilbride has pushed for drafting Olinemen for years. Reese and co never could quite get it right in the later rounds. Remember when Plax shot himself? The coaches had no idea how to adjust and even refused to adjust. They plugged in Hixon and got knocked right out of the playoffs.

More often than not, the Giants scored at will in the two minute drill. Eli's (and Peyton's) strength being that hurry up/up tempo rhythm where he can go right up to the LOS and quickly diagnose the defense and get everyone on the same page, hand signals etc. None of this body language mind reading absurdity as the play develops. And telling Eli to do this without an Oline that can pass block. Utter madness.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:42am

Ultimately, you are correct that it is on Coughlin, who I generally have thught well of. It is puzzling to see so many teams develop ways of playing that are so very dependent on good o-line play, and then invest so little in o-linemen. Huh?

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:51am

Agreed. Good Olinemen are also hard to find. Reese would probably attest to that unfortunately.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 12:17pm

I really think the o-line coach is every bit as important as the qb coach. Maybe more.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 1:50pm

Let's hope McAdoo's guy can develop players better than Flaherty did then. Flaherty seemed to be a solid coach though so who knows.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:32pm

I think we are going to two inteesting tests of my belief with regard to the importance of o-line coaching this year, in New England, and Minnesota. New England had unusual probems, for them, last year, and the Vikings were just hideous at blocking, and really have been for few years now. New England gets their stalwart back after a brief retirement, and Zimmer brings in Sparano. I think both units make large improvement.

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by SandyRiver :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 4:48pm

New England's OL did pretty well last year until getting sliced and diced. However, your point stands, because I think Scarnecchia would've been better able to "McGiver" an acceptable unit out of the spare parts.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 4:54pm

I have a lot of thoughts about the o line and i generally favor underinvesting in it.

To me: o lines are only really great if at least 3 out of 5 are good and not one of the 5 is awful. Thats usually really hard to accomplish. Given the opportunity costs, id rather have 1 good receiver and lots of dbs.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:00pm

All the more reason why excellent o-line coaching is critical.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:03pm

Absolutely agree.

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by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:51pm

"He would likely be a certain Hall of Famer"

He is a likely HOFer. Of all the (eligible) QBs with two SB wins, only Plunkett isn't in the hall. Hell, there are only 4 QBs who have gotten to 2 SBs who aren't in the hall. Only Morton has zero chance of ever making it.

Of the active guys, Brady and Manning would already be in if they were eligible. I'm pretty certain Roethlisberger is in. Only Wilson might be in trouble.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 2:55pm

Which is a testament to the ignorance of the selectors.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 3:01pm

Yup, but enough about Troy Aikman, right?

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 3:25pm

I'm not the biggest Aikman proponent, but he did have 5 straight years of top 5 by DYAR, followed by #6 finish, and other than his rookie year, and his last year, he was never below average. That's considerably better than Eli.

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by Anecdata :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:41pm

With all due respect to the attempts to make this lab work, that doesn't mean very much in reality. He was a good QB who played on a great, great team. The idea that a good replacement level player would not have produced somewhat similar results is pretty far fetched.

146
by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:41pm

If by "good replacement level player" you actually mean replacement level player, the way it's used by FO, then there's no way. If what you mean is another good QB... well, like who? It's so hard to evaluate a player like Aikman who was seemingly always in the perfect situation. I would have liked to see him face more pressure, more close games. But what we know for sure is he was no slouch. He took full advantage of his opportunities.

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by Anecdata :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 12:08pm

It's a completely subjective metric anyway so I can't imagine it makes that much difference. Jason Garrett was his backup for years, surrounded by that team I'm reasonably confident that while the stats may not have been the same, the results likely would have. That is assuming that winning football games is still the main point of playing the games, not just having the right kind of stats.

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by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 8:28am

Aikman also spent his entire career playing with an all-pro offensive line, the prime of a HOF WR, the prime of the most prolific RB in NFL history, a pro bowl TE, and a pro bowl FB.

It was the deepest offense in NFL history, and they also had a good defense to clean up the mistakes. It was amazing that they weren't more prolific. Once any of those parts started to decline, Aikman looked suddenly mortal and the team started losing.

Montana had a lot of those benefits, too, but he also had those seasons on lesser KC teams where he demonstrated how much of his performance was him, and how much was the rest of the team.

Aikman, in his worse seasons, had at least an offense equal to (if not better than) Eli's best offenses.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 3:10pm

And this right here is an example of why the rings argument will simply not die. Hall of fame voters are rigid in their thinking and the media is too. And why do we not hold this ridiculous standard to other positions?

Eli Manning played well in two sb runs. That's two postseasons. Any other position, if the crux of their hall of fame resume resided on two postseason runs and basically nothing else, they would not be in.

Eli has done more than that of course, but not nearly as much as to warrant an automatic hall of fame bid. I get that people can make arguments about what would have happened if so and so was his coordinator. Fine arguments, but they are speculative. Its about what he has done.

I would argue Eli's career has been pretty good. Rivers' imo has been better for longer but won't get any hall of fame recognition. Do you think that's a reflection Rivers? That the difference between the two in terms of sbs is purely about eli and philip? If you believe that and your evidence is sb rings, then you need to follow that argument to its logical conclusions - that the difference between the 2000 ravens and 90s dolphins team was about the QB. That eli at a minimum is better than steve young, brett favre, aaron rodgers, drew brees, dan marino, frank tarkenton, etc etc.

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by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 3:23pm

I'm probably going to get slammed by random Giants fans for saying this.....

He wasn't even that great in the 2007 postseason run. He was fine, sure, but Flacco's 2012 run, or Brees's '09, Rodgers '10 and of course even his own 2011 season were quite a bit better.

The 2007 run was far more about the d-line and overall defense beating down three great (one historic) offense.

I'll give Eli major props for the 2011 run, that was incredible.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 4:58pm

Did you forget all the road wins? The kid (at the time) also played with a painful shoulder injury for the beginning of that season. I wonder if Eli's stoic toughness works against him somehow. People forget what he battles through. Maybe he should make a fuss like Ben Roethlisberger and miss games?

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 4:57pm

Oh boy. Here comes the everyone gets a trophy argument. SBs matter. Often, they matter the most. And Eli will not/did not reach the top 10 all time in passing, yards and completions, and hold every Giants passing record by being an average Joe in the regular season. People find a catchy phrase and repeat it even if it's wrong.

Rivers has not been better. Unless your talking only about stats.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:02pm

So why is Eli better? Because of sb wins? - something that gets repeated ad nauseam but doesn't change the fact that those are team accomplishments.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:13pm

And the stats these guys get are team stats too. It's a team game so this whole SB are team wins argument people invented recently has no real merit.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:22pm

I agree, but at least in the stats - he has some direct influence over. Wins incorporate lots of other factors of which he has no input at all - namely defense, special teams or how the other team's offense performed.

And why do you think dvoa, pff stats, and qbr and anya exist? To try and separate qb play from the offense. They do so imperfectly to be sure, but given enough length of time, the great qbs tend to show a general pattern of consistency to their numbers. Which is why Manning, Brady. Rodgers, and a few others are so well regarded. And why I think Eli is a definite cut below them.

In fact, its telling how people point to sb wins in defense of eli. People did that for Tom Brady until it became a moot point and then they used conventional statistics.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 6:16pm

Well, I don't know if you read the whole thing, but this article presents the reasoning as to why the consistency and numbers suffered a bit for Eli. And like others have pointed out, the book is not closed on Eli.

He may very well be similar to Brady in that the SBs are there and the numbers continue to be there as well. The intriguing question, as this article discusses throughout, is whether the new offense will continue for Eli to translate into more consistency and efficiency to the point where he is consistently mentioned with a Brady or Rodgers. Interestingly, no one has thrown more tds than Eli the last two seasons than Brady and Rodgers.

Read the training camp reports from this year 3 of Eli in the new offense. In the past under Gilbride's offense, it's been a bucket of interceptions by now, not only by Eli but all of the QBs. The reports coming out now are that the sessions have been mostly crisp, efficient, and clean.

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by theslothook :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 12:05am

I like Cian's and I don't doubt his analysis in terms of what he sees from the film. In this instance, he's making a prediction which even he concedes is not the main goal of his analysis.

In any event, its rare for qbs who have played for so long to suddenly change their level of play consistently across multiple years. It could happen, in which Cian deserves a lot of credit for his analysis, but it doesn't mean it WILL happen. Rarities are by definition seldom in occurrence and I suspect Cian will learn a lot from the results no matter how they shake out. We all do.

In any event, the standard isn't that Eli will be very good. I think most of us believe he is pretty good. Its the question of, will he match the highs of the very best qbs of his generation.

Gun to my head, I tend to put Eli somewhere in the category of a Matt Ryan or Tony Romo. These qbs can have some very high highs, but tend to also be quite erratic. Yes Cian gave his reasons to explain the erratic play, but its just my opinion. He's a tier below Rivers and Roethlisburger and a whole tier further below the heights of PM, Rodgers, and Brady.

Seriously, go look at expected win totals. None of the three I mentioned have expected win totals from vegas that have ever dipped below 9! Eli has had that quite a few times.

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by Noah Arkadia :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:26pm

This argument was not invented recently. Let's condense some of the zillion things that are wrong with it:

1) It applies only to QBs for some unexplained reason.
2) It only applies to QBs that are good to great. The status of mediocre QBs is apparently unaffected by SBs for some other unexplained reason.
3) It assumes the quality and efforts of the other fifty-something players on the team, even if they are considered among the best in the league or even history, are meaningless and have no effect.
4) It reduces an entire career into a few memorable moments.
5) It assumes the QB has some special power that comes from greatness (greatness being the cause and the power the effect) that allows him to win SBs, but it doesn't explain how this works of why those powers only allow him to win a limited number of SBs -presumably because the powers of another QB are greater, but if so, why does this greater QB not always win, given #3?
6) It derives from a comic-book mentality (see #5) rather than a realistic assessment of the effort it takes to achieve something in a collaborative project in life.
7) It overvalues QBs that are clearly inferior by stats or tape beyond the level they are likely to contribute to a team in the future.
8) They are not predictive of future performance, in the sense that one SB win does not make further SB wins more likely.
9) It falls into circular logic: a player is great because he wins SBs and he wins SBs because he is great.
10) If SB wins were solely the product of QB play, then the QB with the greatest season would win the SB every time. Yet, this does not happen.
11) In short, the SB argument is a mystical or religious argument that does not rely on reason but on elements that are never, ever mentioned. Nor can they be, for the attempt to speak possible explanations out loud would only make the speaker instantly feel stupid and realize what he's saying doesn't make any sense. As a result, the SB argument has to be taken entirely on faith and never questioned in order to make sense.

I'm sure I'm missing a few good ones. I don't know if I'll reply to any counter arguments, if any, though, because frankly, this is like arguing with people who say the Earth is flat. If you want to think God bestows greatness and majesty on those called upon to win the Super Bowls, I won't argue with your religion.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:54pm

Well said - clearly bullet points to my earlier comments might have driven it further, but nothing quite like yours Noah.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:54pm

Well said - clearly bullet points to my earlier comments might have driven it further, but nothing quite like yours Noah.

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by Noah Arkadia :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 2:45pm

Thanks, I tried to consolidate some of the things you guys said. I have no trouble with metaphysical explanations in general, or in football in particular, as long as they are clearly stated. Trying to pass them as cold reason, however, is what you said before: intellectually lazy, dishonest, or both.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:06pm

It's one game, and it measures team performance, not individual performance. If you want to induct teams into the HOF, then using Super Bowl trophies as a means of measuring quality of play makes more sense. It certainly shouldn't be ignored, but it does not deserve recognition to the detriment to the larger sample of games.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:16pm

Correct. It doesn't apply to Eli Manning though who has the stats and the trophies. And this article argues that those stats would be more impressive and more consistent if he played in this style offense from the start of his career.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:23pm

His ratio of great seasons to mediocre seasons isn't really outstanding, by HOF standards, and I'my sympathetic to the argument that scheme has held him back. The seasons are the seasons, however. The good news for Eli fans is that he really does have a chance to post a few really outstanding seasons before he is done, and that changes things considerably, which is where I differ with Cian's argument in this piece.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:34pm

Agreed. The book on Eli is still being written.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:22pm

Another issue I find suspect is how people do not give Eli time to adjust to the new offense and the first major surgery of his career. He came off high ankle surgery and learned a new offense at the same time two years ago. He adjusted remarkably fast and remarkably smoothly.

Ask football people how impressive and fast it was. Changing your mechanics and learning a completely new system does not happen overnight. But it's expected of Eli judging by the absurdly harsh criticism he has received. Like I said earlier, maybe Eli would be better off being a bit more of a Drama Queen a la Big Ben.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:24pm

No one ever gives credit to anyone who has to rework stuff in the offseason. You conveniently don't mention how Ben had to adjust to Todd Hayley, Rivers had to adjust to Mike Mccoy, Tom Brady had to adjust from Charlie Weiss, Alex Smith from Harbaugh, Cutler to Trestman and then to Gase, etc etc.

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by J Feld :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 5:30pm

Disagree there. They are given credit and none of them had to adjust to a brand new system, mechanics and come off surgery. All too often, Eli being as stoic as he is, these things are overlooked. Read analysis on those other QBs, and those factors are integrated into their seasonal analysis. Ben came off an injury riddled year and there is not one mention of concern there. If Eli Manning came off the year Ben did, throwing more ints than tds, he would be raked over the coals for it. That's not a perception. The articles are all out there.

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by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 8:33am

Because QBs are judged by wins and losses. For better or worse, coaches are too, even though GMs usually control who the players are.

I think Rivers gets dinged by the perception that his offense underwhelmed when it counted in big games, relative to the juggernaut he usually played for.

Rivers is sort of like reverse-Eli. If Marlon McCree simply fails to intercept the ball (beyond even fumbling the subsequent, pointless return), Rivers might be hall-bound.

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by Independent George :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 8:27pm

Damned offseason.

Ok, I'm late here, but I want to make a few points:

1. 2011-onwards, the OL was terrible. From 2005-2009, though, the OL was excellent. Granted, it was more run-oriented than pass, but they were adequate in pass protection; I think 2008 was the year that they rushed for 2,500 yards (and then Plax shot himself in the leg).
2. I find it hard to blame Gilbride for installing a vertical offense when, from his rookie season, Eli's deep ball was his biggest strength. I'm not convinced he was as accurate in the short/middle back then as he was the last couple seasons - I distinctly remember a lot of late, high passes that got picked off, though memory could be playing tricks on me.
3. That said, given how he's playing now, I'll echo the regrets that they never tried this early on.
4. Eli is one tough SOB. I think even his biggest critics have to admit that. The 2012 AFCCG is one of the best QB performances I've ever seen, and a reason why passing stats need to be viewed in the context of the opposing defense. Not even DVOA can really showcase that sort of single-game performance. Other examples: Brady vs. the Broncos this season, and Peyton vs. the Ravens in 2006.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 9:12pm

I agree. I thought his gb in 2007 performance was good. It was a tough environment in an extremely cold day - which has shown to materially affect passing.

Eli's highs are very high. My main point is always, he's maddeningly inconsistent.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 10:47pm

Minor nit. By the end of 2009, the o line was well on the path to Killtheqbstan. I remember being shocked at the difference I saw from 2008.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:56pm

I felt like the story of 2009 - CC brown as your starting safety will lose you games by himself. In that sense, he was even more valuable than Eli or his motley crew of blockers. In some perverse way, he was more valuable than Manning or Brady have ever been.

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by theslothook :: Wed, 08/03/2016 - 11:57pm

/

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by Independent George :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 1:22pm

I think it's like what Hemingway said about going bankrupt: it happened gradually, then suddenly. I can't remember if that was the year that Kareem McKenzie got a sudden case of the olds, but it kind off snowballed from there. O'Hara-Snee-McKenzie in their prime was just plain awesome to watch - none were physically dominant, but they moved so well together.

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by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 3:11am

Heck we're still waiting for the voters to put Kurt Warner in the HoF and he's been league MVP twice! So Eli's chances currently - I'm doubtful.

Without the SB wins against the dominant franchise of the era - Eli doesn't even get a sniff of the HoF. But he was them, so it becomes more interesting.

Personally I don't think he makes it unless something he does something special between now and the end of career. That or manages to retire at a time when it's a complete deadspot for other eligibles.

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by Anecdata :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 12:25pm

This is logical, which is why I think it won't happen.

The HOF is a subjective honor, not a quantitative one. Sure, there's a nod toward numbers but that's about all, after all Namath and Aikman are in for crissakes so let's dispense with the fantasy that it is a quant driven exercise. Based on the pure numbers, in my opinion Manning is not a HOF candidate. That said I still think he gets in and he does so because the decision is made by humans, not machines. Humans allow emotions to color their decisions and that imo is why he goes in eventually. He's very good (not great) and frankly in no season (maybe 2011) was he ever great QB. He's streaky (or inconsistent, pick your word), he got hot at the right time, twice. He made two great playoff runs that culminated in SB victories. There is no doubt that these are team - not individual - achievements, but - like awarding a pitcher a Win - it ain't exactly logical but it is what it is. The QB gets too much credit and too much blame. In addition, the NFL is clubby and he comes from a family that is definitely in the club. Combine all of that and the fact that it's a good story (beating one of the best teams ever, blah, blah, blah) and that's why he's in.

I agree it's not right but it's how the Hall of Very Good works. There's plenty of other players in every sport's HOF that aren't great. Again, it is what it is because despite all the machinations, no one has come up with a better process or formula.

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by Bright Blue Shorts :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 12:50pm

I understand what you're saying about it being subjective but I'm not sure that Eli's career has done enough to warrant entry on the subjective front. Jim Plunkett's got two SB rings and an MVP award and he's neer getting in.

To me the biggest blocker is that there are only 5 or 6 spaces available in the HoF each year. You put Eli in and you're stopping someone else get in. And there's a lot of other players at other positions competing for the honour.

And over the next 10-15 years we can expect to see Peyton, Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger all looking to get in on the HOF QB ticket.

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by theslothook :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 1:17pm

Peyton will be in by the time Eli retires. So will Brady and brees. That leaves the trio of ben and rivers. Eli's story counts for a lot. Its not the two rings but the how they were won and against whom. Plus Aaron Brooks had it right, hes part of the manning family and all its cache.

I think hes a lock, though he really shouldnt be

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by Independent George :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 1:24pm

It just pains me to say it, but I think Romo belongs in before Eli.

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by theslothook :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 1:35pm

Short of Romo winning a Sb in ridiculously dramatic fashion against a tough opponent, I absolutely do not see him making the hall of fame. Same is applied to Rivers.

Once you get the choker label, its a stink that takes a ton of work to overcome.

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by SandyRiver :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 3:04pm

Peyton yes, but Brees is only 2 years older than Eli, Brady 3.5 years older. I anticipate Eli will share the balloting with those two at least once, maybe more.

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by Anecdata :: Thu, 08/04/2016 - 1:42pm

I agree, that his career numbers don't justify it. But the decision will be made by people based on how they feel about the candidate. Peyton, Brady and Rogers are elite QBs and their induction isn't a question. The case for either Brees and/or Rothlisberger, neither of whom rank with the aforementioned three, isn't significantly stronger. Yeah, Brees has significantly better stats over his career (less so in the past two years) but that plays back to the idea that stats is what gets you in and that just doesn't seem to be how it actually works.

I'm not arguing for Manning's greatness, he's not great. But just to take this to its silly conclusion, if he piles up "better" stats over the last few years of his career (more TDs, fewer INTs, better completion %) his overall stats will look much better plus he'll have the whole subjective, anecdotal story.

I don't personally believe that his recent improved stats in McAdoo's system make him a better QB at all. Frankly, I think the stats be damned, boom or bust approach of Gilbride probably fit his inconsistent style better. But as the article points out, this system does put a lovely dress and some rouge on that pig.

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by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 08/05/2016 - 2:45am

I wholeheartedly agree that the voting eventually comes down to subjective and even 'political' reasoning e.g. Kurt Warner didn't get in this year because they were already putting Brett Favre in.

But for me, as a fairly neutral fan, I have almost zero feelings about Eli.

On the other hand I feel much more excited about Drew Brees because the latter has the story of getting kicked from San Diego and then joining the Saints after the flooding and bringing the franchise it's first bit of success, then all the statistical impressiveness of multiple 5,000 yd seasons. I'm not entirely convinced he'll make the HoF himself but I think he's got a better case than Eli.

But Eli. Two great Super Bowl playoff runs but the rest of his career is non-descript for me.

174
by Will Allen :: Fri, 08/05/2016 - 8:59am

Brees will be a first ballot HOFer, and deservedly so. What is amusing to think about is how some meatheads would be knocking his career if some of the easy ints he tossed in the NFCCG in January 2010 had been caught, instead of dropped, and thus the "RINGZ!!!!!" yelpers had been given some fodder.

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by theslothook :: Fri, 08/05/2016 - 12:42pm

Yeah i cant see the argument against Brees being a first ballot hall of famer. Its unfortunate for him that his career occured with Manning, Brady and Rodgers, which depressed down his all pro and mvp totals.

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by Bright Blue Shorts :: Sat, 08/06/2016 - 3:23am

My doubt lies in the lack of spaces available each year and the politics of the voting.

Players like Manning, Brady, Junior Seau, Lawrence Taylor, Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice - they're guaranteed a place at the first attempt because they're considered among their greatest ever at their position. I just don't see Brees in the conversation for top 10 QB of all-time.

Brees, Manning, Brady and Rodgers have certainly been in a class of their own during this era - head and shoulders above the rest of the league's QBs. But I think Brees is #4 in that group and HoF voters seem to have become more discerning about the HoF not just being full of QBs and RBs.

So with limited spaces each year, I just wonder how easy it'll be for him to get in. Heck John Madden took 25+ years to get in there and his contribution to the NFL both as a coach and broadcaster is massive. So when people like Madden, Harry Carson struggle to get in then I'm not entirely convinced someone of Drew Brees' calibre will.

That said, on reflection to my earlier post, I think he will get in but not as first ballot. It'll depend on who retires around the same time and what backlog of other players are being touted.

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by Will Allen :: Sat, 08/06/2016 - 5:22am

He's a qb with 10 Pro Bowl selections, and a Super Bowl victory. He'll get in, first ballot, is my guess.

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by Will Allen :: Sat, 08/06/2016 - 5:23am

He's a qb with 10 Pro Bowl selections, and a Super Bowl victory. He'll get in, first ballot, is my guess.

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by BJR :: Sun, 08/07/2016 - 11:32am

Not only that, there is a not-insubstantial chance that Brees will finish his career as the all time passing yards leader. He will certainly finish top 3. He is the all-time leader in pass completion %. There is no coherent argument for him not being in the HOF, and it ought to be at the first opportunity.

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by JudoPrince03 :: Tue, 08/09/2016 - 9:56am

I like these film room articles but keep in mind that a narrative is being built based on a few cherry picked video clips