OKLHOMA CITY, February 3, 2012—Before the season, Eli Manning was asked if he is an elite quarterback. Most thought this question was ridiculous for two reasons: Of course Eli is going to say that he is, and he’s not. Is he?
If Eli wins Super Bowl XLVI on Sunday, that will give him two championships. Only 18 other quarterbacks have ever started in two or more Super Bowls, and only ten of them have won twice. One of them, Tom Brady, has played four and won three. His loss was to Eli Manning. If Eli wins this time, that will make him 2-0 in the Super Bowl, and he will have beaten Tom Brady, who is maybe the greatest quarterback ever, twice. Two rings would be more than Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and his brother Peyton Manning. He already has more championships than guys like Jim Kelly and Dan Marino.
But that’s all-time. The elite question was about right now. The quarterback royalty for the current NFL goes in some order Brady, Peyton, Brees, Rodgers, Roethlisberger and Tim Tebow*.
So where does Eli rank in that group? Brady (3-1 in Super Bowls) and Big Ben (2-1) are the only two from that group with more Super Bowl rings. Eli has been praised for the way he has played in the playoffs, but the playoffs are kind of the problem with him. Besides 2007 (his first Super Bowl win) and 2011, Eli hasn’t won a playoff game. In fact, the Giants didn’t make the playoffs for the two previous seasons to this one.
Eli has been named to two Pro Bowls, which is exactly one more than Jake Delhomme, David Garrard, and Derek Anderson, and just as many as Marc Bulger.
Eli has no MVP’s, where Peyton, Brady and Brees all have at least one, and it looks like Rodgers will join that group this year.
Having said all of that, if Eli wins on Sunday he is probably going to the Hall of Fame.
If there were a redraft and you could draft all of these guys in their prime, Eli might be the last one taken of the group. But the ring’s the thing, and Eli has a chance to get his second one on Sunday. That’s pretty elite.
*Just trying to get the comments section fired up.
Thursday: Where does Tom Brady rank?
Saturday: Washington Times Communities Super Bowl picks
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