No matter what he does in his career there will always be fans like this one in Arizona who don't think much of Eli Manning. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Elite. Ordinary. Incredible. Inconsistent. Fabulous. Frustrating. New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has been called all of those things during his career, by Giants fans as well as outsiders. Often, he is called all of those -- and worse -- in the same conversation.
We know that Manning is having an outstanding season, with his current 105.6 passer rating far surpassing anything he has done in his career. We discussed his solid QBR earlier this week. His last 10 quarters have probably been as good as any stretch Eli has ever put together.
Forgetting all the fancy overall passing numbers, though, quarterbacks are ultimately judged on what they have won. Or lost. During Sunday's come-from-behind win over Arizona Manning was brilliant in the fourth quarter, completing 14-of-17 passes for 180 yards and two scores.
We know from watching games that Sunday was hardly the first time Manning has come through in the clutch. In a release this week detailing how important quarterback play is in close games the NFL PR Department released some stats that show just how well Manning stacks up against his contemporaries in some of those clutch categories.
Example No. 1: Quarterbacks with the highest passer rating in games decided by eight points or fewer since 2007 (minimum 500 attempts):
Example No. 2: Quarterbacks with the highest winning percentage in games decided by eight or fewer points since 2007 (minimum 15 starts):
Manning is not perfect, everyone recognizes that. Really, no quarterback is. What these numbers show, though, is that the guy knows how to win football games. He has been successful far more often than he has failed when the Giants have needed him most. When you get right down to the bottom line, isn't that the most important statistic of all?