Football Magazine

Enough is Enough: The New York Giants Eli Manning is an Elite NFL Quarterback

By Beardandstache @BeardAndStache

Enough is Enough: The New York Giants Eli Manning is an Elite NFL Quarterback

Photo: AP Images 

Following a 330-yard, three touchdown performance on the road against the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, New York Giants' quarterback Eli Manning has placed himself into a very elite class of NFL quarterbacks.
At the beginning of the season when Manning claimed boldly that he was in the same class of quarterback as Tom Brady, it was honestly laughable. Not only were the Giants coming off a playoff-missing season, but Manning was coming off of a 25 interception year. It was one of those quotes that would be replayed on sports radio for the next 10-years, and every time the sound bit would be pulled up, it would be a great laugh.
Manning is the one laughing. After lighting up NFL defenses for the entire regular season in a career year, Manning has led his Giants deep into the playoffs by knocking off the Atlanta Falcons at home, and then traveling to Green Bay and dominating the heavily-favored Packers. The Giants have suddenly found themselves in the NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers. But the road to where New York is now was no easy trip.
Just one month ago, the Giants and Manning were in crisis mode. The team looked poised for another late season collapse with the defense struggling to find cohesiveness, and the offense looking flat, New Yotk appeared to be eliminated from the playoffs. But with an excellent late season push, the Giants won-out the NFC East and busted into the postseason.
Manning's leadership and play on the field was uncanny, as he led a New York offense almost entirely through the air to repeated victories. The Giants, at one time, were a heavy run-first team, but the game plan has all but entirely changed to a strong passing attack. Manning, along with his trio of breakout wide receivers, has taken the NFL by storm, and to this point, no one has stopped them.
I recall a time when people would talk about the younger Manning brother and say things like, 'this should be a win,' 'he's not as good as Peyton,' and 'expect no offense with a lot of mistakes.' The tune has changed drastically, and Peyton's little brother is finally demanding the respect that his brother has held for his entire career.
The numbers don't lie. Neither does the Giants' success.
Manning is an elite NFL quarterback. He can do it all. Toss the long ball, check down when no one is open, drive down field in the fourth quarter with no timeouts, scramble when needed, and win those big  playoff games for the Giants.
Is Manning perfect? Far from it. But he has developed with the Giants' offense, found chemistry with his receivers, and at this point in time, he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The fact that New York appeared to be nothing more than another .500 team a month ago, and that they are now playing in the NFC Championship with a deadly offense, speaks volumes about Manning's ability.
All the jokes about Manning have come to an abrupt halt, and as long as he continues to shred opposing defenses and win games, there's not much to poke fun at. If anything, New York fans can make fun at opposing defenses failing to contain their passing offense with Manning slinging the ball for 300+ yards a game.
For those who are quick to forget, Manning led that drive against the Patriots to win the Giants their last Super Bowl in '08, and he is looking to make it two in five years. If that's not an elite quarterback, I don't know what is.
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