INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Eli Manning of the New York Giants reacts in the first half while taking on the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Manning, named MVP, led the Giants to a 21-17 victory. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Really, this is Eli 1.0 vs. Eli 2.0. Comparing the still developing pre-Super Bowl MVP Manning (v1.0) to the two-time Super Bowl MVP prime of his career Manning (v2.0) really isn't fair. It is, however, the task at hand.
2007 Regular Season
Stats: 297-for-529 (56.1 percent), 3,336 yards, 23 touchdowns, 20 interceptions (3.8 interception percentage), 208.5 yards passing per game, 73.9 passer rating.
2011 Regular Season
Stats: 359-for-589 (61 percent), 4,933 yards, 29 touchdowns, 16 interceptions (2.7 interception percentage), 308.3 yards per game, 92.9 passer rating,
Eli 2.0 is better than Eli 1.0 in sooooo many ways. Let's talk about a few of them.
Former Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer has talked about how during his time receivers had to be acrobats to catch Manning's erratically-thrown balls, negating yardage after the catch. No doubt he is right.
Fast-forward to 2011. Could Eli 1.0 have made that throw to Mario Manningham in the Super Bowl, a ball that had to be placed in about a six-inch window 40 yards downfield to a guy who was the second or third option? I doubt it. How about all of the brilliant catch-and-run plays from Victor Cruz? Most of those don't happen without Manning hitting him perfectly in stride.
How about all of the fourth-quarter comebacks in 2011? Eli has always had the courage, but prior to winning his first Super Bowl he might not have had the complete trust of his team that helped enable all of those. There is no doubt he does now, and that he deserves it.
How about the way Manning worked around a poor offensive line and a non-existent running game for much of last season to still have the best statistical season of his career? The pre-Super Bowl MVP Manning is a guy who needed others around him to pick him up. Now, he is a guy who lifts his team and makes others better.
I could go on, but the point is obvious. There really is no comparison.