For the previous “Some Damn Respect” posts, click here, here, and here.
There are quarterbacks in the NFL that are praised to the fullest, and rightfully so. Sir Thomas Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers, and Peyton Manning are the five that people have revered over the past several seasons.
Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez are some guys who people respect, on one level or another, even when they are constantly questioned. Michael Vick is playing at a high level, and even though he’s not performing at the renaissance level he did last season, he’s widely respected at his position, with the concerns about what he can’t do being long gone. Philip Rivers is praised as well, probably right below the pantheon of the top five QBs (or right with them, depending on who's asked.) At this point, there's nothing left for him to do except make the Super Bowl.
However, there’s a quarterback that, after careful consideration, kind of slips under the radar. When people speak of him, it’s almost as if it’s with a “Oh yeah, him” tone to it, which is crazy considering the man has a Super Bowl ring and led his team down the field with a game-winning drive to earn it. Of course, that man is none other than Eli Manning.
On this site alone, we have had numerous top ten quarterback lists over the years, and just about every single time, Eli didn’t make the cut (he did here, and even then, he was number ten.)
Post-2008, leaving him off the lists was never anything intentional. I just forgot about him. It wouldn’t be a surprise if the other contributors of our lists said the same thing.
The man plays in New York, undoubtedly one of the biggest markets and some of the brightest lights in the NFL, but he just goes along without people not saying much about his play. Granted, it wouldn’t be wise to speak for NY media, but in the eyes of this site, as well as fans that I know, we don’t talk much about Eli. Even as this article is written, I can’t really put my finger on it.
The man is tough as hell, as evidenced by the fact he hasn’t missed a start since his rookie season, as well as this picture here. Do you remember the shot he took in this game? Good grief, the man got destroyed and was damn near bleeding to death.
It’s not as if he hasn’t put up the numbers over the years. He’s been top ten in passing yards over the last two seasons, as well as touchdowns. Now, the common retort to that, one that I myself use all the time, would be “Who cares about stats? Watch the damn game,” and that retort is fair. Okay, so let’s watch the game.
Let’s watch the man lead his team down the field to tie or win the game in the fourth quarter 20 times in his career. These things have occurred, yet if you ask people to pick a quarterback to lead you down the field to tie or win a game, Eli’s name probably wouldn’t even be one of the first 10-12 that come out.
It’s really strange to comprehend. His Giants are first in an unpredictable, yet entertaining and competitive NFC East, and for all the inconsistency the division has, they just might be the best team there. Shoot, the Redskins are still trying to figure out who they are, as are the Cowboys, and the Eagles? Shoot, they need Jesus, let alone an identity.
The Giants know who they are, and that’s half the battle in itself. The man isn’t the best at taking care of the ball at his position, but we know all about the other QBs in the NFC East. They’re not exactly the greatest in the world at that, either.
So, outside of his formal name being Elisha (good grief), the reasons he doesn’t get love from football fans, on a more wide-spread scale, will continue to confound me. As mentioned earlier, the man has a ring, he played a huge part in getting the ring, and even though it was four years ago, he led his team to a victory over a team who was on the verge of going 19-0.
That act alone should grant a man the utmost respect, but it doesn’t for Eli. All he can do is keep playing, keep winning, and who knows? Maybe one day, the love and respect will come, and the confusion and overall indifference when his name is mentioned will lessen.