Which is, of course, a code word for hating on Eli Manning, quarterback of the New York Giants, brother of Peyton, son of Archibald.
For I have never once been asked if I thought, for instance, that Brian Urlacher was an elite linebacker or Darelle Revis was an elite cornerback. If you need to ask that question, well then the logic apparently says “no,” right? If you have to ask, then there must be doubt.
That logic is not only flawed, it’s flat out stupid. Yeah, you can make a case that he is sub-par in that even stupider cookie commercial with Peyton. And yes, we probably have a good idea that he couldn’t host “Saturday Night Live” like his brother did (which was, by the way, absolutely hilarious … the skit about the kids trying to catch his passes was an instant classic). So what? Who are you comparing Eli Manning to? His brother? Drew Brees? Tom Brady? That guy who took over for Brett Favre in Green Bay?
As I write this, Eli Manning is in the top five or close enough in every statistical category worth categorizing statistically for a quarterback.
Also, as does Brees, Brady and the aforementioned guy who took over for Favre, he has Super Bowl bling. Check it. Now this next part of the story has nothing to do with statistics, so consider it to be anecdotal.
But it’s safe to say that New York Giants fans like to see a strong running game and crush-your-head defense. I know this because that’s what everyone was saying at the sports bar I was stranded in during that fluke snowstorm last September (or was it October?).
From the onset you could see that Manning was throwing absolute darts. A lot of the interceptions — again, anecdotally, but Giants head coach Tom Coughlin agrees — resulted from blown routes or drops from the intended receivers.
But imagine, if you will, Broncos fan, a quarterback who is great in the first quarter AND the fourth quarter. It makes it very interesting for the people watching the game, I can tell you that.
Take your Tebows and that guy who replaced what’s his name with the Wranglers all you like — in the fourth quarter with the game on the line, Eli Manning has proven himself to be a great quarterback. One might even say “elite.”
And I kid Aaron Rodgers. He’s not only “elite,” he’s the league’s MVP. That fact, however, doesn’t make Eli Manning any less “elite” or most valuable at all.
Mark Vasto is a veteran sportswriter who lives in Kansas City.
(c) 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.